Filed under: Politics, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Socialism, Democrat Corruption, Law, Regulation | Tags: Democrats in Denial, They Know Not What They Do, A Colossal Catastrophe
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Every day the news about ObamaCare gets worse, and we’re still in the Please sign up phase. People have not yet focused on what comes next. There is progress however. During a trip to the Miami area, Secretary of Health and Human services Kathleen Sebelius admitted that some people will pay higher premiums under Obama Care. (Don’t laugh.) She said:
There are some individuals who may be looking at increases. I think you cannot make a statement based on cost unless you compare what they had to what they’re going into.
I’m beginning to think that Democrats are in a state of pure denial. They think the problem is the rollout of the Healthcare.gov website, which is of course a complete fiasco. Instead of the promised average savings of $2,500 per family, the opposite has been true in most cases as deductibles have increased and premiums have risen sharply. But they believe the coverage will be much better. For most people it means unnecessarily more expensive, depriving them of their doctors and reassigning them to a narrower network, and other facilities, while forcing them to pay for benefits Democrats assume are wonderful, but which most people don’t want. Here’s Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent:
“the GOP outrage about Americans supposedly ‘losing’ coverage is largely just more of the same old misdirection. It’s a subset of a larger Republican refusal to have an actual debate about the law’s tradeoffs—one in which the law’s benefits for millions of Americans are also reckoned with in a serious way.”
Once a law is passed by Congress, even one without a single Republican vote, and signed by the President, it becomes law. But apparently it all works differently now and the administration is busily rewriting deadlines, insurers are being told to cover people anyway, even if they haven’t paid, to cover prescriptions and the government will pay them back for any losses. Secretary Sebelius has reportedly engaged a PR firm to help HHS to keep from looking stupid in the face of the debacle. The part where you lose your doctor was apparently written in sometime after the bill became law. This isn’t the way things are supposed to be done. It’s illegal as all hell.
It seems that every day we learn something new about the insurance plans. And this is a big one. The ObamaCare exchanges that so many Americans are being forced into provide only local medical coverage. Spend part of the winter in the South to escape the cold? Sorry, you may not be covered, Most of the policies offered on the ObamaCare exchanges are not national networks, so “if you need routine medical services, they will not be covered when you leave your local area,” as they were before.
Unrestricted movement as a natural right of our American liberties? Nobody expected that. The Democrats writing ObamaCare into law obviously didn’t understand insurance. To make their grasp for more power over the people, they threw in all sorts of unnecessary benefits — free contraceptives, free diagnostic tests, keep your kids on your policy until they are 26, and I don’t know what else. Each of these things has a cost, in many cases a big cost. To cover those expenses, insurance companies had to rein in costs elsewhere, which meant restricting the networks of physicians and facilities, and apparently not covering anything out-of-network.
The people who were writing up the legislation in the back rooms of Congress were politicians. There’s a lot of expertise in insurance companies. They pay very big salaries to actuaries who can do studies to tell how frequently a particular disease or medical incident occurs in the country, and they pay the big salaries because those people are very good at math and worth every cent. Did the Democrats writing the Affordable Care Act have some Actuaries in to help them figure out how to set the thing up? Does anybody think that members of Congress are really good at math? We have rather an extensive list of proof that they are reasonably clueless in that department. They’re not much good at economics either. They are politicians. They make promises. Mostly by the time you find out they’re not going to keep the promises, the world has moved on, and it’s all forgotten.
I don’t think they have any understanding of what a dreadful mess they have created, and think that as soon as they get the website fixed, all will be well. Who doesn’t want free contraceptives?
Filed under: Politics, Domestic Policy, Humor, Economy, Health Care, Socialism, Democrat Corruption | Tags: The Way Things Work, ObamaFlowers, ObamaCare Parody
ObamaCare was passed without input from Republicans, and without a single Republican vote. Ever since, Republicans have been attempting to defeat, dislodge, disparage, dump and repeal the noxious bill. The effort continues, but in the meantime, they are having great fun with parodies. Here’s one from The News Junkie at Maggie’s Farm called “ObamaFlowers:”
(Receptionist) Hello, Welcome to ObamaFlowers. My name is Trina. How can I help you?
(Customer) Hello, I received an email from Professional Flowers stating that my flower order has been canceled and I should go to your exchange to reorder it. I tried your website, but it seems like it is not working. So I am calling the 800 number.
(Receptionist) Yes, I am sorry about the website. It should be fixed by the end of November. But I can help you.
(Customer) Thanks, I ordered a “Spring Bouquet” for our anniversary, and wanted it delivered to my wife’s work.
(Receptionist Interrupting) Sir, “Spring Bouquets” do not meet our minimum standards, I will be happy to provide you with Red Roses.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Junk Science, Progressivism, Regulation, Socialism | Tags: A Green Authoritarian Society, Costly Climate Policy, Cronyism and Corruption
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) has written a blistering criticism of climate activists’ efforts to impose a green authoritarian society over the rest of the world. They overshot and missed the curve. The introduction reads:
The rescue of the planet gets cancelled. The climate advisory council to the government played high stakes poker. And lost. They failed at tricking their way past democracy.
A new study claims Britain’s climate change initiatives are both “staggeringly costly and excessive.” Britain’s £85 billion bill for climate policies is coming under attack. The Daily Mail has performed the valuable service of exposing the corruption that is rampant among British environmentalists; specifically, global warming alarmists.
The Mail on Sunday today reveals the extraordinary web of political and financial interests creating dozens of eco-millionaires from green levies on household energy bills.
A three-month investigation shows that some of the most outspoken campaigners who demand that consumers pay the colossal price of shifting to renewable energy are also getting rich from their efforts.
Here at home, the media are claiming that the 113th Congress is on track to be “the least productive” on record — as if that is a bad thing. But the Wall street Journal suggests that if gridlock lasts, Congress can still save a bundle by just not acting to extend the 20-year-old wind energy subsidy which provides a taxpayer gift to wind companies of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour. Congress can accomplish something for taxpayers by doing nothing. Congress is also considering cutting back on the subsidies for corn ethanol. About time.
Greenpeace has tried to get some attention with a video showing a sad, bedraggled Santa telling the kids that Christmas will be cancelled this year because there isn’t enough snow and ice at the North Pole. Unfortunately, there is plenty of ice and snow and it’s growing. It melts in the summer and grows in the winter. And what melting there is in the Antarctic is because of volcanoes under the ice, not climate.
It is no secret that President Obama’s green energy ventures have not gone well. But the media has largely ignored the extent of the failure. The problem is widespread. The media notices a bankruptcy, but garner attention only when it happens and it is not linked to past failures. Governments cannot pick winners and losers. It has cost taxpayers billions, and the numbers of failures, the cronyism and the corruption are not getting attention.
I wrote just below about the collapse of China’s green energy economy. Nations worldwide put a lot of hope into wind turbines and solar arrays, but the technologies are beset by the same problems that they have always had. The wind is intermittent. It does not blow at the right speed all the time, and when the wind does not blow, the turbines require backup, 24/7, from a conventional power plant. Solar arrays depend on the sun shining. Solar energy is diffuse. The sun sinks beneath the horizon at night, and does not power anything on cloudy or rainy days, and also requires 24/7 backup from a conventional power plant. The energy produced is not competitive with the energy from a conventional power plant, it is far more expensive.
Well, cronyism, corruption, help your political friends to get rich, make lots of millionaires. Sooner or later it all comes tumbling down. And it is tumbling down all over the world.
ADDENDUM: I said that Congress is considering cutting back on the subsidies for corn ethanol, which was really a misstatement. They are considering cutting back on the amount of corn ethanol put into gasoline. The subsidies were ended some time ago. The EPA wants 15% ethanol, which is damaging to older cars, and all kinds of smaller engines like leaf blowers lawnmowers, boats — and corn ethanol is not an environmental improvement over plain old gasoline, but just another wrong turn.
The rescue of the planet gets cancelled. The climate advisory council to the government played high stakes poker. And lost. They failed at tricking their way past democracy.” – See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2013/11/30/europe-climate-policy-blows-engine-huge-failure-scientists-failed-tricking-their-way-past-democracy-mood-of-resignation/#sthash.ioPEqtCC.dpufThe rescue of the planet gets cancelled. The climate advisory council to the government played high stakes poker. And lost. They failed at tricking their way past democracy.” – See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2013/11/30/europe-climate-policy-blows-engine-huge-failure-scientists-failed-tricking-their-way-past-democracy-mood-of-resignation/#sthash.ioPEqtCC.dpufThe rescue of the planet gets cancelled. The climate advisory council to the government played high stakes poker. And lost. They failed at tricking their way past democracy.” – See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2013/11/30/europe-climate-policy-blows-engine-huge-failure-scientists-failed-tricking-their-way-past-democracy-mood-of-resignation/#sthash.ioPEqtCC.dpuf
Filed under: Politics, Economy, Health Care, Socialism, Democrat Corruption, Capitalism, Law, Regulation | Tags: Command and Control, Socialism Doesn't Work, Playing With People's Health
I just found this, and it seems appropriate to listen carefully, once again, to Milton Friedman. It often seems to me that economics is simply the art of trying to quantify common sense, but I do recognize that my “common sense” is someone else’s heresy.
The theory is that if you repeat something often enough, after a while it will sink in. I remain hopeful.
Filed under: Politics, Economy, Health Care, Socialism, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism, Capitalism, Law | Tags: Britain's National Health Service, Incentives Matter, The Future of ObamaCare?
I refer frequently to Britain’s National Health Service, which is the oldest of the “single payer” health care plans, initiated right after World War II, when Labour returned to power. When Obama’s health care advisers began talking about health care, they all expressed their admiration for NHS. In devising a health care plan, they talked a lot about how the big costs all came from old people in their final years. And they talked about things like life years and useful life, and did a lot of comparing a vigorous young person with many life years ahead — contrasting it with useless old people.
Well, I had this strange idea that that’s what the practice of medicine was all about, caring for people and their health problems throughout their lives, from every kid’s broken arm to the failing health of someone who has lived a long and valuable life. The Inuit supposedly left their old people to die out on the ice when they were no longer useful, and there have been tribes who eat their enemies as well. Are we still struggling to find an ethical way to deal with life?
Britain still has private health care for those who can afford it. The NHS provides care that is free at the point of service, and just what every liberal wants as their most cherished goal. But it doesn’t work. The incentive for the people immediately becomes to use as much as they want because it has no (visible) cost. This inevitably drives costs up sharply. The incentive for the government immediately becomes to control costs. The government who hires, fires and pays for the medical establishment, cannot do much about the people whom they urged to use all the medical care they want, but they can put a lot of pressure on the medical establishment to cut costs.
Escalating problems and the inevitable results should be obvious to the dimmest intelligence, but politics and ideology get in the way. Not everyone believes in incentives, in spite of overwhelming evidence that they are what moves events.
Can’t have people piling up waiting to get into the emergency room, ordered to fix that, hospitals took to holding people in ambulances so admissions would be spread out more equally. Cut costs more, and pretty soon hospitals were saving money by keeping the same sheets on the bed. When all the incentives become to cut costs, the old folks don’t get clean sheets or fresh water, and start dying of dehydration and starvation in the hospital.
ObamaCare incentives are just the same. We are just taking our first stumbling steps down the same long road to perdition. Nobody has even experienced actual ObamaCare yet. So far it’s all just the incredible fiasco of the rollout. The exposure of Obama’s lies about the law is just the surface. Everybody’s insurance is getting cancelled, if not this year — just wait until next year. Premiums are drastically higher, deductibles reach levels that almost make insurance useless. People don’t know if they are actually enrolled. They don’t know if their doctor will still be available to them, or who will be in their physician network. They don’t know if the drugs they need will be in the formulary. All is uncertainty. Much of the details of enrollment and payment have not yet been written.
A panicky HHS is just making up new ObamaCare ‘laws’ on the spot. They’re extending deadlines for making payment for coverage, requiring insurers to accept premium payments, changing due dates, ‘strongly encouraging” insurance companies, HHS won’t release real numbers, and those numbers include those who haven’t paid anyway. Glenn Reynolds asks: “Where, exactly, do they get the authority for all these exemptions, waivers, and extensions?” Good question.
Please read this article from yesterday’s Telegraph, and do read the whole thing. This is the state to which the NHS has fallen, and it is our future if we don’t fight to stop it. See the related articles listed in the column. They are not just talking about dirty sheets, they are talking about lives lost unnecessarily. Unnecessarily!
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Socialism, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism, Capitalism, Law, Regulation | Tags: Business Won't Hire, Doctors Won't Participate, Epic Failure All The Way Down
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.
Filed under: Politics, Economy, Health Care, Socialism, Democrat Corruption, Taxes, Capitalism, Statism, Regulation | Tags: The Failure of ObamaCare, It Cannot be Fixed, People Will Be Hurt
The entire policy thrust of the Left is towards a command and control economy. They basically believe that government should be run by highly educated experts, like themselves, who can make better decisions, better laws, and better policies for the nation. The people — the great unwashed out there — are unruly, unfair, not generous enough, unreliable, and need to be prodded and regulated into being, well, better.
The Left does not trust the people — “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” That happened to be President Obama, Democrats talk about the poor and try to give them all kinds of benefits, Obama phones, extended unemployment benefits, but they don’t do much about growing the economy and growing opportunity.
Their basic drive to regulate and control is just what is destroying the potential for growth. Businessmen are reluctant to hire, to expand, to try to grow their businesses because they don’t know what the Obama administration will do next. Which government agency will descend on them with new regulations, new taxes, new laws. If you wonder why this recovery is so shallow, so slow, it is directly attributable to government action and inaction. The environmental lobby must be appeased, because they help to fund Democrats, so a no-brains project like the Keystone XL pipeline must be put on hold, despite 20,000 needed jobs, not to speak of all the spin-off jobs and growth involved in building the project.
The “experts” were sure that they could devise a health care policy that would be far better than what the free market had offered, which was certainly imperfect, and once they got everybody under their control then it could gradually be moved into their dream of a “single payer” plan like Britain’s, that is killing off the old folks with neglect and rapidly going broke in the process.
But they are not “experts” — and they are proving day by day that they really had no idea how to build a health insurance program. The 30 million uninsured who were the supposed reason for the program will still be there — uninsured. They may be different people, but the numbers of uninsured are expected to be greater. Those millions who couldn’t get insurance because of pre-existing conditions have turned out to be 107,000 people.
People who have supposedly signed up, may not be, if they haven’t paid and their payment sent to the insurance company. That is supposedly the part of the website that has not yet been written. Huge new deductibles may mean that, barring catastrophic events, the “insurance” isn’t worth it. The appalling part that is just beginning to be brought to our attention are all the people whose insurance is being cancelled as they are in the midst of treatment, surgery, recovery, and they are losing their doctor, access to the hospitals and clinics that they depended upon. People are going to die unnecessarily because of Democrat hubris.
If there were any real “experts,” they would pull the plug on this disastrous attempt at control of the health of the American people at once. Most people who have no urgent medical need may be all right. The program is so bad, so poorly thought out, that the observation of many of those who know most about it, believe that collapse from its own flaws is inevitable.
Filed under: Politics, Domestic Policy, The Constitution, Economy, Media Bias, Socialism, Democrat Corruption, Capitalism, Law | Tags: $10.5 Billion Loss for Taxpayers, Pretend it's a Success?, Lies And Lawlessness
On March 30, 2009, the president of the United States told an anxious nation “Let me be clear: The United States government has no interest in running GM.” Just another whopper from the presidential book of lies. The day before, he had fired General Motors Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner. Where is it written that any president has the authority to take over a private business? This unprecedented hostile takeover of a former American manufacturing giant demonstrated that the basic social contract between the U.S. government and private business was being torn up on live television. Vladimir Putin can get away with this sort of thing. Was the American media so ignorant of the rule of law in this country and such a complete doormat for the president that it was perfectly fine?
Does the wilfulness of this president allow this White House to seize any company that it deems a “systemic risk” without regard to the law, basic economic principles, and simple restraint? The president used TARP funds, (Troubled Asset Relief Program) signed by President Bush in October of 2008, to buy mortgage-backed securities and other “toxic assets” from financial institutions. The TARP law specifically referred to financial institutions, not car companies. American Bankruptcy law successfully allows companies to reorganize, regroup, and might have allowed GM to tackle the basic cause of their problems, out of control union contracts.
U.S. taxpayers no longer own any of General Motors. The Treasury sold the last of its remaining 31.1 million GM shares yesterday. The $10.5 billion loss for taxpayers is supposed to be regarded as a success for the Obama administration. The Treasury had put $49.5 billion of taxpayer money into illegally bailing out GM. It recovered $39 billion from selling the stock.
The administration emphasizes that the loss it took on GM shares is far less costly than had BM been allowed to fail.
Inaction could have cost the broader economy more than one million jobs, billions in lost personal savings, and significantly reduced economic production,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement announcing that Treasury had sold all its remaining shares.
Excuse me, there is a standard procedure called bankruptcy, an enormously successful way of allowing companies to reorganize and regroup free of immediate pressure from the holders of their debt. But standard bankruptcy would have tackled overgenerous union contracts, bondholders would have had first claim on assets according to the law. The union got a big share of ownership of GM because Obama gets big funding from unions. The bondholders got shafted.
It’s no use pondering “what might have been”— there’s no way of knowing. The administration would prefer that you don’t think about it. And what’s another $10.5 billion loss — we have so many, and $10 billion is just chump change in terms of today’s debt.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Socialism, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism, Taxes, Capitalism, Regulation | Tags: Making Everybody Equal, What is The Minimum Wage For?, You Can Be Replaced!
Obama is desperately searching for distractions, any distractions, please, from the rollout of ObamaCare. There’s the maybe/sorta agreement in Geneva which is enough of a disaster in foreign policy and national security to get Republican juices flowing, and now he’s going after “inequality”—liberals are always suckers for the claim that if we really try, we can make everybody truly equal. That’s also a sop to the low information voters who assume it means a raise.
Equality is apparently achieved by increasing the minimum wage. This should already be a major sore spot, because it is ObamaCare that has forced millions of businesses who employ beginning workers at the minimum wage to cut their hours back under 30 hours a week so they are truly “part time,” so they don’t have to pay a large fine per employee for not offering health insurance.
Liberals undoubtedly assumed that employers would purchase health insurance for their people, or pay the hefty fine, and it didn’t occur to them that they would actually avoid both expenses. Liberals in Congress are, in general, fairly unfamiliar with the operation of a business. They think profit is just evil, and most of the leading Democrats have never done anything else but politics — “public service” is the preferred euphemism.
In August, Obama wanted to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, but inflation in the last few months has driven it up to $10. Here in the greater Seattle area, Sea-Tac, the community surrounding the airport, has voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour — for teaching beginning workers how to perform a job?
Jonah Goldberg wondered “Was Obama sent from the future by Skynet to prepare humanity for its ultimate dominion by robots?” This falls under the heading:
……………………………….“You Can Be Replaced”
The restaurant chain Applebees is installing iPad-like tablets at every table so customers can order their meals and pay their checks without ever consulting a waiter or waitress. Chili’s already made the move earlier this year. When businesses found that new workers could not cope with making change and adding up the cost of menu items, they didn’t fire the kids, they rearranged their cash registers to do the math.
In 2011, Anita Lowrey wrote about a startup firm called E La Carte, which makes a table tablet called Presto. Each console goes for $100 per month. If a restaurant serves meals eight hours a day, seven days a week, the Presto costs about 42 cents per hour per table. Cheaper than the most beginning worker, and no one needs to train it, replace it if it quits or offer sick days. You perhaps saw the video of Jeff Bezos’ idea of delivering products right to your door with robot drones.
With a conveyor belt-type system the burgers are freshly ground, shaped and grilled to the customers’ liking. When the burger has finished cooking, Alpha Machine slices the tomatoes and pickles and places them on the burger, which it then wraps up for serving. Momentum Machines claims that Alpha Machine will save a restaurant enough money to pay for itself in a year, enabling the restaurant to spend about twice as much on ingredients as they normally would. Customers can just put in their order, pay and wait at a dispensing window.
The next generation will add a custom meat grinding feature that could mix different meats — 1/3 pork, 2/3 bison for example — and char the burger while retaining juiciness. The company is planning the first restaurant chain with a cook staff of entirely robots.
Liberals cannot seem to get it through their heads that if a business does not make a profit — it will not exist. It’s that simple. The longer businesses are regulated and directed and controlled and taxed out of the ability to make a profit, the more the unemployment ranks will grow.
We have 4.1 million long-term unemployed. After 4 years of overregulation, over taxation, and interference in business by scores of bureaucrats who have no idea what it takes to operate a business, business is fighting back, finding ways to reduce their costs. There are always consequences. The free market is full of valuable information that the most credentialed bureaucrats refuse to hear. They are doing immense damage in their arrogance.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Socialism | Tags: How We Got Here, The Fraud and the Failure, The ObamaCare Disaster
Democrats have clearly demonstrated their desire to whip people into better order with a raft of government regulations, directives and plain old force. We focus on the regulation and the directives, but let’s face it. The problem is the people.
We are talking about millions of human beings, individuals with their own ideas, their own likes, their own prejudices, their own desires, their own sensitivities, their own knowledge, their own beliefs and their own general resistance to doing what they are told to do. That’s simple human nature. In repressive societies people learn to fear the government and hide their resistance lest they face punishing reprisal.We all know about the societies with the gulags, concentration camps, slave labor camps, where the choice is between facing punishment or facing death.
Democrats have long regarded free health care for the people as the biggest, most wonderful thing they could give to the people, which would endear their party to the people permanently. The problem, of course, was how to pay for it.
Well, nevermind, that can be figured out as we go along. Rich people will just have to pay more. That’s how it all started and bureaucrats started writing rules and regulations, and although there were pages and pages of them, they had three and a half years to finish it up.
Phase One was the big rollout, and the technical failure. It might have been avoided had there been some competence in the management, but it was never tested, the basic code for the back-end was never written, and there was no security for the customer at all. The rollout was a disaster and a great embarrassment for the administration. So they said they would postpone it till the first of December when it would all be fixed. Uh huh. The President ordered up a tech surge to get everything working, but that is apparently only 6 people. Experts say the security is worse than ever.
And it seems that that part for which the code has never been written was the part that told the insurance company that you had signed up and transferred the first payment. They are advising those who think they have signed up successfully to call the insurance company and see if they have confirmed your enrollment and received your payment.
Phase Two was the revelation that the entire ObamaCare enterprise is the largest deliberate fraud ever inflicted on an unsuspecting American public. The promises of “if you like your plan you can keep it” have turned out to be not an accident, but a phony sales pitch that was deliberately deceptive. On top of that ObamaCare forces insurance companies to engage in dishonest practices like selling maternity coverage to men and postmenopausal women, and pediatric insurance to the childless. The worst case scenario could turn up on January 1, as insurance companies begin dropping people who formerly had their insurance through their employers, and there will be a lot of them.
Obama promised insurance that would cost $2,500 less that our previous policies. Another part of the fraud. Medical insurance comes in two kinds: there is indemnification against risk, which is true insurance; and there is pre-payment for expected costs. Risk is a heart attack, or a stroke, a broken arm or broken back. Insurance company actuaries are very well paid because they are very good at math. They get reports on the numbers of heart attacks or strokes in a year, and determine mathematically how many they are going to have to pay off on. The trouble arises when Democrats want to have lots of benefits for everyone, and want everyone to pay for it. Health insurance is usually age related, because the risks are different at different ages, but when everybody has to pay for maternity care, and pediatric vision care, Alzheimers and shingles, it gets very, very expensive.
That bit about people with pre-existing conditions was nice, but the President made it sound like there were thousands of them. Part of the sales pitch. Those who signed up in the first three years for this desperately needed insurance that they’d been denied 107,000 people out of a population of 330,000,000. Looks like 10 million people will lose their employer-provided health insurance. The governments’ goal for next year is to sign up about 7 million people. It was the government that made sure that most insurance policies would get cancelled, not the insurance companies. It is written right into the law.
Everybody knew this, except for ordinary folks. And they’re just stuck. How will this play out? Will the whole thing collapse on its own? Will the people get their backs up and demand that it be repealed? The administration played the insurance companies, promising them many more customers in exchange for their cooperation. The health care industry? Scared? Unorganized? I don’t know. With the president spinning dramatic tales of the blessings of health care for all, and the media completely willing to play along with whatever he said, the evidence of industries destroyed, companies brought to heel, there was certainly in America a real fear of the government.
I think it will come close to collapse but they will tinker and lie and try to keep it afloat, and in the end try to enlist Republicans into saving it for the good of the country. It would be a lot simpler if they would just recognize it as a mistake that cannot be fixed.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Health Care, Immigration, Regulation, Socialism | Tags: Broken Promises, ObamaCare Lies, The Truth Will Out
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.
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, Freedom, Heartwarming, Socialism, The United States | Tags: Advancing Social Welfare, How Do You Pay For It?, With the Free Market
The socialist dream of organizing an economy around the purpose of advancing social welfare, as it is governmentally determined and meted out, seems destined to remain an abstraction irrelevant to the world’s political and economic needs. One strange result of the collapse of socialism, and the absence of any other credible way to avoid relying on markets is that the welfare state is heavily dependent on the health of capitalism. The government cannot disburse wealth that never gets created, and creating the wealth required for modern, prosperous societies without the knowledge conveyed by prices set in markets appears to be impossible.
The liberal response to the question of paying for the welfare state has been a protracted exercise in intellectual dishonesty, borne of a conviction that the question doesn’t need to be answered if it can be made to go away. Liberals have generally been happy to tell people what they want to hear. It’s possible to have a big welfare state without worrying all that much about the costs. The programs will pay for themselves. Or an affluent society can pay for them out of the petty cash drawer. Or, the taxes required for a much bigger welfare state are ones that will be borne largely by the very rich and big corporations. None of these propositions can withstand even gentle interrogation, however, making it difficult to know whether the liberals who put them forward are remarkably cynical or remarkably feckless. In either case, whatever political advantages are secured by telling people what they want to hear about paying for the welfare state becomes ever more incoherent.
This splendid excerpt comes from Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State, by William Voegeli. A great Christmas gift for a Conservative friend. Might be too much for a Liberal. It’s also available in paperback, or kindle.