Election Day: “Forth, and fear no darkness!”

November 4, 2014

Today is it, folks. The day of decision. After six years of being governed by the most left-wing administration in US History, as well as the most feckless since James Buchanan; after six years of suffering under incompetent boobs (save for their outstanding competence at corruption and cronyism) who treat the Constitution and the Rule of Law like a twenty-dollar hooker; after six appalling years that weakened the nation, abased us before our enemies, and betrayed our allies; after all that, we get our say.

I’ve been thinking of how to describe my mood this day, a mood of both determination and elation, of standing on the verge of liberation. And it came to me that mere words wouldn’t do, but that a film clip (1) would capture it perfectly:

We have them on the run, folks. They’re nervous, ready to break. But now is not the time to let up. If you haven’t voted yet, then turn off the computer and get off your duff and vote! For a Republican Senate, for Minority Leader Harry Reid, and the Founders’ America. Its time to send the Progressives howling, back into the wilderness. An informed and determined freeborn citizen is what they fear. Remind them of why. Go. Vote.

Forth, and fear no darkness!

PS:  I’m sure there are those who will see all sorts of “racist dog whistles” in this post. (“He said ‘darkness!’ I must tweet Chris Matthews about this!”) That’s your problem. I happen to be a big Lord of the Rings fan, and that scene is the greatest cavalry charge in movie history. Ever. And it reflects perfectly how I feel about today.

PPS: This is a reposting of my election day post from 2012, slightly altered for today. Plus, it’s a great excuse to use that clip again. :)

Footnote:
(1)The first minute or so can be seen (kinda sorta) as a metaphor of the last six years, starting on election night, 2008. But once the horns blow, that’s today, baby. Charge!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


More Los Angeles restaurants add #Obamacare surcharge

September 4, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

First it was Republique, announcing they were charging customers an additional 3% to cover the added costs imposed by Obamacare and being ripped for it by outraged liberals. Now the owners of Lucques and other trendy restaurants have decided to add a healthcare surcharge, too.

Economics — it’s the law:

The cost of offering these benefits is significant and the reality is that restaurants, particularly smaller restaurants like the ones many of us own, have a very high ratio of staff members to revenue and run on very slim profit margins. Successfully run restaurants generally make between 5-10% net profits so a health care benefit which eats away 3% of gross sales will take away anywhere from 30% to 50% of annual profits for a restaurant. We’ve discussed simply raising menu prices, but ultimately food prices are tied in many ways to the ingredients we purchase. Those ingredient costs have increased astronomically recently so we’re already struggling with working creatively to keep menu prices down and don’t feel it’s right to try to factor health care costs into menu prices as well. We’d rather keep our menu costs as an accurate refection of our ingredient prices so that customers know that if we have to raise them it’s because we can’t avoid passing on our increased costs.

Like I’ve said before, labor is a cost. If you increase the cost of labor –in this case, by commanding employers to provide  expensive health insurance coverage– something has to give. Either the restaurant takes a huge hit in their profit margin, calling into question the reason for being in business in the first place, or they cut hours and jobs, or they raise prices. There is no way to avoid that choice. These restaurant owners have chosen the third option: raise prices, and they have chosen to be bluntly honest with their customers about it.

Good for them, and I hope all businesses follow the trend. Why shouldn’t customers know why their meal or other commodity or service has become more expensive? Isn’t transparency good? Or is it gauche to remind the largely progressive clientele of places like Melisse that their legislated largesse to the proletariat actually has a cost?

The ACA is an anti-constitutional monstrosity of a law. It needs to be repealed; it’s inflationary effect is just one reason why.

More under Elections have consequences.

via Truth Revolt


Got cancer? Got #Obamacare? Good luck…

March 19, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Among the many “benefits” brought to us by the Affordable Care Act has been the narrowing of provider networks. To deal with increased costs brought on by Obamacare’s increased coverage mandates, insurance companies are offering fewer doctors and hospitals on their approved lists. For many people, this has meant losing access to the physicians they liked, contra President Obama’s oft-repeated promise lie.

If you’re a cancer patient, you have a particular problem. We’ve met Edie Sundby, a stage-4 cancer sufferer who’s losing her provider network, thanks to Obamacare, but what if you were able to keep your doctors, but needed specialized or experimental treatment?

Under Obamacare, good luck:

Some of America’s best cancer hospitals are off-limits to many of the people now signing up for coverage under the nation’s new health care program.

Doctors and administrators say they’re concerned. So are some state insurance regulators.

An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington’s insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it’s in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more.

In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP’s survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their states’ exchanges.

Not too long ago insurance companies would have been vying to offer access to renowned cancer centers, said Dan Mendelson, CEO of the market research firm Avalere Health. Now the focus is on costs.

This is a marked deterioration of access to the premier cancer centers for people who are signing up for these plans,” Mendelson said.

Those patients may not be able get the most advanced treatment, including clinical trials of new medications.

Emphasis added.

The article mentions another problem, one that’s been noted since the Obamacare web sites went online: it’s hard to tell if the physician and hospital you want are included in the plan you’re looking at. Thus someone in Los Angeles  may sign up thinking they have access to a top-notch cancer facility, such as Cedars-Sinai, only to discover the truth after they develop cancer. Their only options then are to go elsewhere (if there is an “elsewhere”) or pay out of pocket, which may be financially devastating or downright impossible.

Later on, the writer quotes officials who feel these are not serious problems, that they can be worked out, but what about the people who need treatment now and used to be able to get it under the old system? Though the large insurance companies were nothing better than rent-seeking collaborators in Obamacare, I’m not blaming them for this; they’re just acting rationally in the face of increased costs, a problem created by government.

At the end, the writers report that the Obama administration has promised “closer scrutiny” of insurance companies, especially for cancer care, presumably to include the design of provider networks. Great. So the solution to a problem created by regulation will inevitably be more regulation, which will make the problem worse and a genuine solution more difficult, not easier. Here’s the process:

  1. Government creates a problem through bad regulation.
  2. Businesses respond logically to the problem, irking consumers.
  3. Consumers complain about the response.
  4. Government proposes more bad regulation to deal with the response, ignoring the core problem government itself created and creating new ones.

Rinse and repeat.

Meanwhile, the poor cancer sufferer keeps on suffering.

Thanks, Obamacare!

via Dana Loesch

RELATED: In the Elections Have Consequences category, Colorado Mountain College is cutting back on hours for part-time faculty to avoid the expensive new employer mandates under Obamacare. I wonder how many voted for Obama? Whoever you are, congratulations. You got what you voted for. (h/t Conservative Intelligence Briefing)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bit by bit, Obama repeals #Obamacare, so Republicans don’t have to. Updated: Sebelius denies delay?

March 12, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

It’s long been known that the individual mandate is the foundation of the Affordable Care Act. Without the requirement for healthy young people to buy more insurance than they need or pay a penalty tax protection money, there would never be enough revenue coming into the system to pay for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. And amidst all the waivers (1) and delays for unions and businesses claiming hardship under the new law, the one thing they’ve refused to rescind was the individual mandate, itself.

Until last week, when it was done in secret:

ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

The WSJ article then goes through the various classes of exempted individuals and what they have to do to claim that exemption, but the short version is that if you feel you’ve been burdened or harmed by Obamacare –including not being able to afford the new, more expensive even though subsidized policies mandated by Obamacare– you can have a two-year hardship exception based solely on your word.

Yes, you read that right: our new, wonderful, Heaven-on-Earth healthcare-for-all law is now recognized as such a problem that people have to be exempted from obeying it.

Why are they doing this, you ask, since it’s sure to throw the ACA’s finances even more out of whack? Why are they gutting the core of the bill that has been a progressive dream since at least Truman? Trust me, it’s not from empathy for the very people the law is harming.

Have a look at this article from the Conservative Intelligence Briefing and this other from National Journal. (And, for a laugh, this desperate spin from DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. (2) ) Both deal with the possible fallout from the Republican win in the special election in Florida’s 13th congressional district, one the Democrats thought they had a good chance to win against a flawed Republican candidate.

Instead, they lost, and a good part of the reason was popular anger over Obamacare (3). And now they’re looking at possibly losing seats in the House, in addition to an increasingly-likely loss of their Senate majority.

None of this is guaranteed, of course, but it’s a scary-enough prospect to have them reaching for the whisky bottle while quietly throwing Obamacare’s key provision under the bus, a move that stinks of desperation.

This is significant not just for its electoral consequence, either. Once exceptions like these are granted, it will be danged hard for Obama or a future Democrat president to take them back  and start enforcing the rules (4). And with The One establishing the precedent that the president can ignore laws that are inconvenient to him, what’s to stop a future Republican president from ignoring the ACA altogether?

The Republican-dominated House has voted roughly 50 times to repeal Obamacare since taking control in 2011. I think they can take a breather.

Bit by bit, Obama is repealing it for them.

via Salena Zito and Ben Domenech

PS: I agree with Josh Blackman. Republicans should send opt-out forms to all their constituents — and the Democrats’, too.

PPS: For those who are having trouble affording insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the president suggests cutting back on cable TV and cell phone use. No, really.

Footnote:
(1) And that was just through 1Q 2011…
(2) That is, the race-baiting Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
(3) As Jim Geraghty points out, Republicans have, thank God, improved their ground-game, too.
(4) Do you really think he’s going to reimpose them in 2016, just as the presidential race heats up? No way…

UPDATE: Sebelius denying there’s been a delay to the individual mandate? Hmmm…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Cry me a river: union head finds he doesn’t like #Obamacare after all

March 9, 2014
"Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth."

“Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth.”

Sorry, Don Taylor, head of Unite Here, but Obamacare is working as intended, and your members are getting getting it, good and hard:

A national union that represents 300,000 low-wage hospitality workers charges in a new report that Obamacare will slam wages, cut hours, limit access to health insurance and worsen the very “income equality” President Obama says he is campaigning to fix.

Unite Here warned that due to Obamacare’s much higher costs for health insurance than what union workers currently pay, the result will be a pay cut of up to $5 an hour. “If employers follow the incentives in the law, they will push families onto the exchanges to buy coverage. This will force low-wage service industry employees to spend $2.00, $3.00 or even $5.00 an hour of their pay to buy similar coverage,” said the union in a new report.

“Only in Washington could asking the bottom of the middle class to finance health care for the poorest families be seen as reducing inequality,” said the report from Unite Here. “Without smart fixes, the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage,” said the report, titled, “The Irony of Obamacare: Making Inequality Worse.”

Unite Here was the first union to endorse then-Senator Obama in his quest for the White House and the union was a staunch supporter of the ACA’s passage. Nice reward for all that loyalty, eh?

Once again, it seems the well of my sympathy has run dry. Darn.

Of course, everything Taylor complains about is a feature of Obamacare, not a bug. The Left intended this anti-constitutional monstrosity to be a massive wealth redistribution vehicle, and the middle class, including Unite Here’s members, is the fatted calf at the feast.

Dear Don: You’re welcome.

Don’t forget that unions were among the first to receive the now-infamous Obamacare waivers, in this case for the tax on their “Cadillac” health plans that provide extensive and expensive benefits at little cost to the member. Now it’s finally dawning on these schmucks what has been clear to Obamacare critics for years: that the law creates perverse incentives for employers to cut hours or even dump employees onto the exchanges in order to reduce Obamacare-caused costs.

We tried to tell them, but all we received in return were insults and threats.

Hence my lack of sympathy for Taylor and other union Pied Pipers who lead their members down the garden path and off the cliff.

But I do have a fair bit of sympathy for rank and file members (1), and for them I have a suggestion: You were either lied to deliberately by leaders seeking to increase their own power, or lead by fools who couldn’t see what was plain to the rest of us — that Obamacare was an oncoming disaster of epic proportions. Now it’s here, and you can see you were foolish to trust these people.

It’s too late to avoid the harm that’s already been done, but there is something you can do. Next November 4th, when you go to vote, take a look at the letter after the candidate’s name. If you see a D… vote for the Republican, instead. Fixing Obamacare won’t be easy, but at least we know the right way to fix it:

Repeal it, burn it with fire, and scatter the ashes.

Oh, and stop listening to your union leaders, too. They really don’t have your best interests at heart.

via Rick Moran

Footnote:
(1) I am, after all one of them. A Teamster, to be specific.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


LA restaurant imposes surcharge to pay for #Obamacare

February 18, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

What is it we like to say, folks? That’s right, “Elections have consequences!” When you vote for a party that insists against all sound reason on passing legislation that raises a business’ cost, said business is likely to pass that cost along to the consumer — us.

It’s called economics, progressives. You should acquaint yourselves with it, sometime.

Anyway, a hot new Los Angeles restaurant, Republique (1), has added a 3% surcharge to all tickets to cover the cost of their new, more expensive, Obamacare-mandated insurance:

Republique has taken heat from patrons for the tacked-on cost, but managing partner Bill Chait told Southern California Public Radio there is a method behind the madness.

The restaurant wanted its 80-plus workers to be full-time workers, but the health care law in the coming years will require large employers to provide health coverage to its full-timers or pay fines.

Although the Obama administration has delayed the mandate for companies of 50 to 99 employees to 2016, critics say the rule is forcing employers to trim payroll or move people to part-time status ahead of time.

From there, employees can fend for themselves on new insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare.

“There’s an inherent incentive to put people in the exchanges and not through the restaurant and their employers if they’re part-time employees,” Mr. Chait told SCPR.

But that wasn’t good enough for Mr. Chait or chef Walter Manzke.

Chait and Manzke decided that they needed full-time staff to provide the best service possible to their customers, and that in turn meant paying more for insurance. And that in its turn lead to the decision to charge customers more. All of these are reasonable business decisions, and I have no problem with Chait and Manzke’s decision. It’s their business, their property. And they seem to have made their peace with it. (2)

(Or maybe they don’t want to tick off their trendy, mostly liberal customers by complaining…)

What I do have a problem with is government forcing them to make a choice that leads to higher prices for consumers, especially when it’s clearer every day that this anti-constitutional monstrosity of a law, which a majority of the nation has never wanted and which was shoved down our throats, is not going to do a bloody thing it promised and in fact is going to make things worse. (For the latest example…)

Obamacare doesn’t just need to be repealed. It needs to be staked and buried under a crossroads at midnight.

Here’s a video report from KCAL 9.

via The Right Scoop.

Footnote:
(1) No menu online? Dudes, really?
(2) You can have fun watching customers argue with each other over the surcharge in their Yelp reviews.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: California family finds “affordable care” to be neither

January 29, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

It’s becoming an all too common story: people who thought Obamacare would solve their healthcare-coverage problems find instead that, thanks to bigger premiums, higher deductibles, and shrinking provider networks, they’re arguably worse off than before.

In this case, the victims (1) are the family of German Campos and Andrea Redamonti, themselves and their children, who live in Chico, CA. Redamonti and one of her children have been denied insurance in the past, so, to them, Obamacare seemed like the answer to their prayers.

But, now that the PPACA has kicked in, Redamonti is learning her dream was just a delusion:

“I was so excited,” Redamonti said about Obamacare. “My son and I had both been denied coverage previously, and with the new Obamacare, they couldn’t refuse us.”

But since signing up for Covered California in October, she’s been going in circles with the health exchange.

Simply securing the coverage has been a major headache. Redamonti has spent hours navigating the frequently failing website and on the phone with her provider, only to be asked for income verification for her sons — ages 10 and 8, and repeated requests for payment, even though her check was sent in weeks earlier.

In addition, their new insurance — the minimum available — costs $800 per month instead of the $650 they were paying before and carries a $15,000 deductible.

“When it finally happened and we figured out what we’d be paying and what our benefits would be, our hearts sank,” Redamonti said.

Technically, she’s been covered since Jan. 1, but still waiting on her medical ID card, it’s been difficult to make doctor’s appointments or fill prescriptions.

“I feel like I have paid for coverage and I don’t have it,” Redamonti said.

This is a story being repeated over and over across California, which, God help us, has one of the better-functioning Obamacare sites, and the nation in general: people think they’ll at last have coverage, only to discover they’ve been sold a worthless bill of goods.

By the Democratic Party, let me remind you.

Normally, this is where I’d express minimal or no sympathy with people like Ms. Redamonti and her family, but I’m actually quite sympathetic to her predicament. Worried for her child who has a congenital heart condition, herself at high risk for breast cancer, both denied coverage… Well, one can understand why she and her husband would see Obamacare as the relief they needed and why they’d be eager to buy into the fairy tale that was sold to them.

By the Democratic Party, I’ll point out, again.

What was it Reagan once said? Oh, yeah:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

I hope, genuinely, that Ms. Redamonti and Mr. Campos learn from this a lesson about government control of the economy –it doesn’t work and it makes things worse– and vote accordingly in the next election.

Where I find my sympathy lacking, though, is for people who just don’t get it, such as one of the doctors interviewed for the article. Co-owner of the pediatrics clinic where Redamonti’s children were treated, Dr. Eliza Brown had to turn them away because the insurance company refused to reveal their reimbursement rates, which were likely to be lower than under the old system. They’re a business after all and they have to recover costs. But then she had this to say:

Brown loves the idea of providing basic affordable coverage for everyone, but said the reality proves to be “nebulous and fuzzy,” and be more of a hindrance to health care than a help.

“If I can’t prescribe medicine because it will be denied or can’t give a vaccine to prevent illness because it will be denied, how do you provide care?” Brown said. “Medical decision-making is being put into insurance companies’ hands. They say what they will and will not provide and what can be prescribed.”

Effective health care reform is not possible without health insurance reform, Sullivan said.

With today’s higher premiums and lower reimbursement rates, the extra profit must go “straight into the pockets of the insurance companies and their shareholders,” she said. Care providers and patients suffer as a result.

I have little but contempt for the big insurers, who saw Obamacare as a way to get guaranteed rents thanks to the individual mandate, but Dr. Brown is missing the root of the problem here: it’s not the insurance companies determining allowed care and reimbursement rates, but the government via the Independent Payments Advisory Board (IPAB), Sarah Palin’s “death panel.” (2) The insurance companies are now little more than divisions of HHS. She needs to learn that government cannot provide “affordable coverage for everyone” without somehow rationing care: by curtailing reimbursements or limiting access, or, in the case of Ms. Redamonti and her children, both.

Of course, situations such as these are opportunities for advocates of free markets and limited government; it’s up to us to explain gently to people suffering the same travails why statist health care cannot work and that there is a better way., which starts by not voting for the Democratic Party.

Because we’re from the People, and we’re here to help.

RELATED: From Moe Lane, more on shrinking Medicare provider networks. The Democrats are so going to enjoy November.

Footnote:
(1) And I use that word deliberately; the whole nation is a victim of this bill.
(2) Oh, that dumb chill-billy. Right again.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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