Democrats’ “Look it’s Elvis!” strategy not playing on Main Street?

April 14, 2014
"Don't get distracted"

“Don’t get distracted”

The Democrats would really rather you talk about anything other than Obamacare, which has become a huge millstone around the neck of their political fortunes (1). To distract you from this anti-constitutional monstrosity and rally their base voters, they’re desperately deploying the weapons that have served them so well in the past, such as the Race Card.

Another weapon is the “War on Women,” the accusation that, in short, Republicans and conservatives want women barefoot, pregnant, and underpaid, shouting that women only earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. (2) There’s no denying that the “Sexism Card” was effective in the 2012 election, but how is it working for them, now?

If a Pittsburgh waitress is any indicator, not so good:

She gave a dramatic eye-roll in reaction to all of the fuss that Democrats and the president attempted to create over equal pay for women last week.

A Democrat herself, she said she has carved out a decent, comfortable life for her family over the years as a waitress at a local restaurant.

“I am in many ways my own boss,” she explained. “It is up to me to get the order right, treat people well, and use my personal skills to increase my wages.”

And she is “sick and tired of my party treating me like a victim. This is not 1970, and it’s insulting.”

Her last remark is telling. Progressives have long dreamed of instituting nationalized health care in the US, but the ACA’s passage was controversial (to say the least), the bill has never been popular, and it’s rollout to date has been a train wreck. Now faced with an electoral shellacking potentially worse than 2010′s, they’ve gone back to their happy place in the 1960s and whipped out the magic fetishes that have always saved them before: cries of racism, sexism, and class warfare.

Only, as the astute waitress observed, what worked 40-50 years ago doesn’t necessarily work now. American society has made enormous progress on issues of unfair treatment based on gender or race, and only an ideologue or a charlatan –or a desperate pol (or, in this case, all three)– would claim otherwise.

Remember what Lincoln said?

“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

The Democrats have been able to fool enough of the people, but, at some point, people get tired of being taken for fools. They notice how dog-eared those cards in the Democrats’ deck have become from being played so often and they’re not impressed anymore. In fact, as our waitress noted, they’re insulted. And insulted people take their business (and votes) elsewhere.

More from the article:

Barack Obama has divided this country since the beginning of his presidency. He has not been transformative; instead, he has indulged one special-interest group after another — women in this case, but also blacks, young people, the lesbian-gay-transgender community and Hispanics in earlier instances.

He has governed by sliced-and-diced division, fear, secrecy and resentment, all accented with toothless executive orders used as political weapons.

This is definitely not the transparent and compassionate administration that he promised.

Maybe this is what happens when you over-promise, or maybe this is who Barack Obama is.

Or the answer is “C,” both. Obama and the Democrats clearly over-promised to win over a public tired by war and frightened by an economic crisis, but it is also who Obama is: a political “slice-and-dicer.” Remember that Obama got his start and his education in retail politics as a community organizer, a profession invented by Saul Alinsky. The whole point of community organizing is not to unite or build bridges, but to divide communities into “us and them” and then organize your faction to achieve your goal by setting them against the other guys. Thus no one should be surprised that Obama has operated this way over the course of his presidency.

It’s who he is and all he knows.

PS: The article’s author, Salena Zito, is a great reporter who looks at politics from a “Main St.” perspective, the point of view of the people the Beltway often forgets exist. You should add her to your reading list.

RELATED: John Fund on the race card as a losing game.

Footnotes:
(1) And deservedly so.
(2) And even though even the White House admitted that was wrong.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Ted Cruz explains #Obamacare’s success in one graphic

April 13, 2014
"Your MEA shop steward"

“Obamacare salesman on the job”

With the recent announcement of more than seven million sign-ups for Obamacare, the administration and its supporters have been running around shouting “Success! SUCCESS!!”, as if an enrollment figure means that the implementation of the law itself, with its myriad problems (for example) (1), will be just a matter of working “the bugs” out.

Nevertheless, seven million was the administration’s goal, and they met it. So, how does one explain this victory? How did they do it?

Senator Ted Cruz is ready with the answer:

obamacare broken window bastiat ted cruz

Apparently the good Senator is a student of Frederic Bastiat’s “Parable of the broken window.” Would that the rest of Congress were.

Footnote:
(1) For lots more, check out my Obamacare archives.

via Dan Mitchell

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare success! New Medicaid enrollee turned down by 96 doctors

April 9, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

One of the oft-stated goals of the Affordable Care Act was insuring the uninsured. For those who couldn’t afford insurance even with the new subsidies, states could expand their Medicaid offerings with (temporary) help from the federal government (i.e., taxation and borrowing). Great, right? Even if you don’t make enough to afford private insurance, you still get medical care, right?

Not if the doctor refuses to take Medicare:

“I’m sorry, we are no longer accepting that kind of insurance. I apologize for the confusion; Dr. [insert name] is only willing to see existing patients at this time.”

As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.

My shiny, never used Horizon health card is as effective as a dollar bill during the Great Depression. In fact, an expert tells CNN, “I think of (Obamacare) as giving everyone an ATM card in a town where there are no ATM machines.” According to a study 33% of doctors are NOT accepting Medicaid. Here in Jersey, one has a dismal 40 percent chance of finding a doctor who accepts Medicaid – the lowest in the country.

That insurance or Medicaid card does one a whole lot of good when no one will accept it, doesn’t it?

This is one aspect of a broader access problem that’s going to get more and more attention as we get deeper into the Obamacare morass. In addition to a growing doctor shortage (something that Obamacare may make worse), and shrinking provider networks, the limited number of doctors who accept Medicaid will only get smaller, because the system underpays for their services, and yet under Obamacare is greatly increasing the number of patients. Noble sentiments aside, a medical practice is a business, and a physician or hospital can only afford to see so many money-losing patients before it’s no longer worth staying in business.

Call it another of Obamacare’s broken promises: the government promises you medical care, but what if the care-provider refuses to play?

Of course, one would-be Democratic lawmaker in Virginia has a solution for that: serfdom.

Via Jim Geraghty, who notes it’s even harder to find specialists who take Obamacare.

RELATED: Bobby Jindal has a better idea.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare chronicles: middle-class children lose their health insurance

April 7, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Wait. Wasn’t one of the justifications for passing the Affordable Care Act that we had to do it “for the children?” That so many children were among the uninsured that it would be heartless, cruel, and even racist to not pass Obamacare? (1)

Then how do they explain this?

While the federal government was trumpeting the benefits of Obamacare to boost enrollment earlier this year, about 1,800 families in New Jersey were receiving letters telling them their children would be losing their health coverage last week.

The Affordable Care Act — the federal law that mandates everyone have insurance — effectively killed FamilyCare Advantage, a low-cost option for kids in New Jersey created six years ago for parents who earned too much to qualify for Medicaid and other subsidized programs but too little to buy on a policy on their own. The state program was the first of its kind in the nation.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey was the only insurance carrier that agreed to offer the FamilyCare Advantage plan, which covered most medical, dental and vision needs for the relative bargain of $144 a month per child.

What was it that killed FamilyCare Advantage? Oh, just the lack of services Obamacare declares must be included in every policy.

Such as maternity care. For children.

FamilyCare Advantage was New Jersey’s experiment to help lower middle-class families who made too much to qualify for state assistance, but not enough to buy adequate insurance on their own. Under (what used to be) our federalist system, states could try different approaches to common problems, see what worked and what didn’t, and then other states could, if they wanted, copy and adapt them to their own people’s needs. It’s that famous “laboratories of democracy” concept that leads to the discovery of best practices. Instead, these 1,800 families and their children get to experience the “benefits” of a top-down, one-size-fits-all, we-know-better-than-you nationalized health care system. One that kills the health insurance plan they liked and were promised they could keep.

Neat, eh?

But, don’t worry. These families can still go on the exchange and buy a policy there. Of course, it will likely be more expensive and carry a high deductible, but beggars can’t be choosy, right?

After all, it’s for the children.

Afterthought: There’s one other point that needs to be made. The article quotes one father frustrated with both Obamacare and the insurance company:

“Obamacare did snuff it out, but it also looks like Horizon was looking for a reason to end it. With all of the federal mandates (for employers to offer insurance) delayed, they didn’t need to do anything right now.

Emphasis added. This kind of resentment is inevitable when you have chief executive whose governing style seems to be borrowed from Argentina’s Juan Domingo Peron. Rather than treat people as free citizens, equal under the rule of law, you instead get individuals clamoring to get the same special favor as the other guy, turning free citizens into dependent clients and a president of a constitutional republic into El Patrón, doling out the favors to those who please him (or he needs to please) most. And that dependency, in the long run, is the progressives’ real goal.

via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt

Footnote:
(1) And I exaggerate only a bit, here.

RELATED: The Affordable Care Act becomes unaffordable.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Obama Administration’s Engages in Contortions to Claim that Obamacare Is a Success

April 6, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Where “contortions” means “spin like an out of control top.”

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I’ve observed , reported , mocked , written , and explained that Obamacare is a cluster-you-know-what.

So I’m rather bemused and frustrated by the latest pro-Obamacare spin that the law is a “success” because there are now 7 million people who have picked a plan.

There are lots of reasons for normal people to have a what-the-expletive-deleted response to this declaration of victory. For instance:

The goal of Obamacare was to insure the uninsured, yet that number has barely budged, so why is the Administration allowed to move the goalposts to something far more modest?

Obamacare also was supposed to lower premiums by $2500 and allow everyone to keep their plans and their preferred providers, so what happened to those goals?

And why should we even believe the White House spin when we have no idea whether people who have picked a plan have actually paid for that plan?

Moreover…

View original 218 more words


The thrill is gone: networks refuse prime time slot for Obama speech

April 4, 2014
Feeling rejected.

Feeling rejected.

Oh, how this must pain the soul of our Narcissist in Chief. Remember the halcyon days of Hope and Change in his first term, when it seemed like he was making a national address every week? Joint sessions of Congress, prime time press conferences, the networks just couldn’t get enough Obama.

Someone cue B.B. King, because the thrill is gone, baby:

White House officials sought valuable primetime air for a rare, impromptu Tuesday night address to tout the accomplishment of signing up more than 7 million people under the Affordable Care Act.

But network officials refused to make the kind of accommodation they did previously for the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, for instance, and Obama was left instead cutting into the much smaller audiences of Ellen and other daytime shows.

Three sources familiar with the request confirmed the White House asked for the primetime slot in their effort both to emphasize a bright moment following the challenging roll out and, more important, to try to reintroduce the country to a law that remains unpopular.

Oh, man. “No, you can’t interrupt NCIS. But, hey, we’ll let you cut into Ellen, champ.” How far our modern Icarus has fallen. Could it be even the major networks knew the 7 million sign ups “milestone” was just a bunch of smoke?

Regardless, it’s a sign both of the growing irrelevance of Obama as he moves further into lame-duck status and that the fight over this train-wreck of a law isn’t over, no matter how many they claim to have signed up. The major networks aren’t going to give up valuable commercial revenue just to satisfy Obama’s need to take a victory lap.

This calls for a song. Hit it, B.B.!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare to cost employers more than $5,000 per employee

April 2, 2014

 

"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

The American Health Policy Institute did something unusual: rather than estimate the effects of Obamacare from the outside, they went to 100 large employers and asked the directly what their expected costs would be over the next ten years. The results were eye-opening — and disturbing:

Obamacare will cost large companies between $4,800 and $5,900 more per employee and add hundreds of millions to their overhead, according to a new survey.

(…)

Factoring in the health care law’s added mandates, fees, and regulatory burdens, employers anticipate cost hikes between $163 million and $200 million in 2016, a 4.3 percent increase. By 2023, employers will be paying 8.4 percent more than “what they would otherwise be spending” for their employees’ health care.

In the next 10 years, the total cost of Obamacare to all large American employers is estimated to be from $151 billion to $186 billion, according to the study.

“This study is a c-suite diagnosis of how [the Affordable Care Act] ACA is shaping large employer behavior,” Tevi Troy, president of the American Health Policy Institute, said. “We don’t know yet precisely how employers will react, but the study shows that employers will have to make real changes or incur heavy costs, which means that the ACA will have a significant impact on those in employer-sponsored health care.”

While noting that some will say the results will “lead to more economical use of health care dollars,” the study questions whether the increase in health costs could bring the “end of the employer-sponsored health care system.”

I don’t think there’s any “may” about it: the perverse incentives of Obamacare scream at employers to save money by dumping their insurance plans, pay the fines instead, and let the employees try their luck on the exchanges. (And luck is what they’ll need.)

This, of course, is what was intended all along, part of the Obamacare Trojan Horse that Harry Reid admitted we’re all supposed to ride to the land of single-payer, state-run healthcare. Blowing up the existing health care and insurance industries, which most people were satisfied with, was all part of the plan.

We shall have a chance to comment on said plan next November. I, for one, am looking forward to it. Aren’t you?

Read the rest at the Free Beacon.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Why the elderly are fleeing the Democrats

April 1, 2014
"Revenge of the angry mob"

“Revenge of the angry mob”

Consider this to be a coda to yesterday’s post about the Gallup poll showing the electorally active senior vote shifting decisively away from the Democrats. It’s anecdotal evidence, but still illustrative:

Key line, per David Freddoso:

“Not only did my premium go up,” this 91-year-old New York gentleman notes, “but my coverage went down.”

And it’s not just the Democrats’ lock on the senior vote that’s been endangered by Obamacare’s trashing of the healthcare system: I don’t know how Mr. Centola’s son feels, but I’m willing to bet he’s not happy with the people who foisted this mess on the American people — and his father. Were it my parents or grandparents being jerked around like this, there would be steam coming out my ears and I’d be looking forward to the chance to vent it on election day. I suspect there are many more children and grandchildren who feel the same way.

Ticking off a large, politically active group is not a path toward happiness on election night.

Hectic day today, but I couldn’t let this one go by without notice.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Survey shows elderly voters fleeing Democrats

March 31, 2014

Fail

This news from Gallup probably has staff of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reaching for a bottle:

U.S seniors — those aged 65 and older — have moved from a reliably Democratic group to a reliably Republican one over the past two decades. From 1992 through 2006, seniors had been solidly Democratic and significantly more Democratic than younger Americans. Over the last seven years, seniors have become less Democratic, and have shown an outright preference for the Republican Party since 2010.

In 1992, 53% of senior citizens, on average, identified as Democrats or said they were independents but leaned Democratic, while 39% identified as Republicans or leaned Republican, resulting in a 14-percentage-point Democratic advantage in seniors’ party affiliation. Last year, 48% of seniors identified as or leaned Republican, and 45% Democratic, a three-point Republican advantage.

It’s a truism of American politics that older, retired voters tend to turn out for elections more than other demographic groups. In a midterm election, such a self-motivated group can have an outsized influence because other groups often aren’t as enthusiastic to vote when the election lacks the drama of a presidential race.

The Democrats remember what happened in the last midterm election, which was a slaughter for them at both the federal and state levels. Without the Obama of 2008 or even 2012 at the top of their ticket (1), that eager-to-vote “senior bloc” could again make a serious difference.

Gallup goes into a long analysis of the influence ethnic factors might have on the elderly shifting toward Republicans (they tend to be more White as a group), and it’s an interesting read. But, I’ll offer another explanation which I, without doing any polling, think plays a much larger roll:

People don’t like being lied to.

That’s what Obama and the Democratic Party did when they promised a) if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor; b) if you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan; and c) we won’t touch Medicare.

Lie. Lie. Lie.

That last is especially galling to seniors, because the Medicare Advantage program is very popular and Obamacare just guts it. Perhaps there’s a general unhappiness among the elderly with the administration and the direction of the nation (I’d be surprised if there weren’t), but the cuts to Medicare and the interference in the doctor-patient relationship is very immediate, very personal and very probably frightening for many of these people. They’ve been lied to, they’ve been played for suckers, and no one I know likes that feeling, or the persons who made them feel that way.

And that’s why this poll has to have Harry Reid retreating to his Happy Place, because it looks very much like payback for those lies is coming soon.

via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt

Footnote:
(1) They’re probably grateful the Obama of 2014 isn’t, either.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare navigators helping people sign up at Mexican consulates

March 27, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Nah, there’s no potential for fraud, here:

The Obama administration has been helping to facilitate a series of events nationwide at Mexican Consulate offices to enroll people in Obamacare – and a key activist says the efforts are “our responsibility” regardless of citizenship.

“Whether they’re Mexican nationals or whether they’re United States citizens or whether they’re in transition– and if they’re there it is our responsibility within all of America to educate on the Affordable Care Act,” Enroll America Field Organizer Jose Medrano told Breitbart News on Wednesday.

Health Care insurance navigator groups hosted an Obamacare enrollment fair on Tuesday in the Mexican Consulate’s Brownsville office, The Rio Grande Guardian reported last Friday, where Mexican nationals among others were counseled about enrolling in the ACA.

“The Mexican consulate is a very reliable source of information to the Latino community. And therefore when they host their events, yesterday being the health fair, there are several hundred people that show up,” Medrano said.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), undocumented immigrants aren’t supposed to be receiving government-run health benefits or subsidized coverage. However, President Barack Obama told Latinos in early March that the Healthcare.gov website would not be used to find out about an individual’s immigration status.

“None of the information that is provided in order for you to obtain health insurance is in any way transferred to immigration services,” he said.

As the article points out, this isn’t the first time the administration has made use of Mexican consulates to push entitlement programs to Latino communities: in 2012, USDA ran Spanish-language commercials encouraging people to sign up for food stamps.

Back to Obamacare, the extensive use of Mexican consulates, which are a trusted source of information for Mexican communities in the US, and the promise to not forward an applicant’s information to ICE all but guarantees that the American taxpayer will wind up subsidizing health insurance for Mexican nationals who are in the US illegally.

And if some sort of amnesty goes through, guess which party expects (1) to reap the benefits of our state-mandated generosity?

Why, it’s almost as if that’s the plan.

via Fausta

Footnote:
(1) Then again, with all the screw ups and problems experienced with O-care to date, maybe the Democrats’ shouldn’t expect much gratitude.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: people who think they have coverage get hit with massive bills

March 23, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t our new, glorious, designed by unicorns healthcare system supposed to prevent things like this? If you signed up for coverage and made your payments, you weren’t supposed to get crushed by the ensuing medical bills, right? All those horror stories from the dark days before Obamacare the Affordable Affordable Affordable Affordable Affordable Care Act (1) of people with unbearable financial burdens? Gone. Banished forever. Not gonna happen ever again in our new progressive paradise.

Just ask Alex Szablya of Washington:

Alex Szablya just wants the best health care she can get for her children. So she got a gold plan, the highest level possible with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. She picked a plan with Lifewise, an affiliate of Premera Blue Cross.

In early March, her 16-year old daughter had a medical emergency. Alex drove her to the nearest hospital, which was Seattle Children’s. Alex says doctors there felt her daughter’s situation was so dire she needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately. She was there for nine days.

Then came news that her stay, which involved specialized mental health care for adolescents, was going to cost $36,000 and her insurance would only pay for half because Seattle Children’s was considered on out-of-network facility.

She thought by going for the highest premium PPO gold level coverage offered the state exchange, a majority of the bill would have been covered.

“I’m paying a premium for that and I’m willing to pay that premium, but I expect to get services that are not so limited by the insurance companies,” she said.

Premera told her to take her daughter to facilities either in Yakima or Bremerton, the one a three hour drive and the other two hours away via ferry, while Seattle Children’s was just 15 minutes away. Now, where would you go with your child in an emergency? Remember that she bought a gold plan. Among the many problems we’ve heard about regarding the exchanges is that is can be hard to tell if a particular doctor or hospital is included. Ms. Szablya might well have looked at the online offerings and just assumed that, of course, nearby Seattle Children’s would be included. When you have an emergency, especially one involving your child, you’re not going to stop, call your insurance agent, and ask if a particular doctor or hospital is part of the network. (via Katnandu)

An even worse bill awaited Larry Basich of Las Vegas, who thought he had done everything right, but, after undergoing triple bypass surgery, found himself on the hook for over $400,000:

The hospital bills are hitting Larry Basich’s mailbox.

That would be OK if Basich had health insurance. But he doesn’t.

Thing is, he should be covered. Basich, 62, bought a plan through the state’s Nevada Health Link insurance exchange in the fall. He’s been paying monthly premiums since November.

Yet the Las Vegan is stranded in a no-man’s-land where no carrier claims him, and his tab is mounting: Basich owes $407,000 for care received in January and February, when his policy was supposed to be in effect. Instead, he’s covered only for March and beyond.

Basich has begged for weeks for help from the exchange and its contractor, Xerox. But Basich’s insurance broker said Xerox seems more interested in lawyering up and covering its hide than in working out Basich’s problems. Nor is Basich the only client facing plan-selection errors through the exchange, she added.

Xerox, meanwhile, said it’s working every day to fix Basich’s problem, and its legal counsel is routine.

In the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its insurance exchanges, you can find a success story for every failure (2). But Basich’s case is extreme.

Be sure to read the whole thing. Basich worked for weeks to make sure he had coverage, both using the crappy online exchange and telephone help. He’s dealt with Xerox and even gotten Governor Sandoval’s office involved. His case is so bad that Harry Reid won’t even call him a liar; his office is instead trying to help.

The problem in this case is the web site, itself. It looks like Xerox did almost as good a job with it as Oracle did with Oregon’s exchange. While payments have been deducted from Basich’s bank account, UnitedHealthCare has no record of his coverage beginning when he was told it would begin, the exchange says he signed up with a different company (even though he has proof otherwise), and that company has no record of him and doesn’t want to be stuck with the bill.

Before this ever gets worked out, the stress may drive Mr. Basich to another heart attack.

In both cases, the the articles miss the mark when attributing blame. By limiting its networks, Premera is doing what any company would when faced with government mandates that impose highers costs: find ways to control them. In Larry Basich’s situation, Xerox deserves all the blame that can be heaped on it, but they’re not the root.

The source of the problem isn’t corporate greed or incompetence: it’s Obamacare, itself. All these problems people are experiencing are due to the top-down mandates that are the essence of the Affordable Care Act. A bunch of legislators and bureaucrats trying to control by law something as complex as the health care system of the United States was bound to fail. And that ongoing, rolling disaster is causing real-life misery for Americans all over the nation.

It has to go.

Footnote:
(1) There apparently are five “affordables” in the bills name. Just ask Nancy Pelosi.
(2) Why do I think that last sentence was meant to deflect the ire of Harry Reid? “Sure there are success stories, too! Just trust us!”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Michael Barone’s last line will leave a mark

March 21, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Writing in The Washington Examiner on Hispanics and Obamacare, political analyst Michael Barone notes the precipitous decline in support among the group for the ACA (from 61% in favor to 47% since September, 2013). He then wonders if this experience will sour Hispanics on big government overall, thus threatening their majority allegiance to the Democratic Party. His closing is quiet, but brutal:

I think that Obamacare may be discrediting Big Government generally among Hispanic voters. They may have assumed that government in the United States was competent and functional. They have been finding out that Obamacare has been about as competent and functional as government in Mexico.

Ouch! That’s going to leave a mark. smiley black eye

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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)


“Save money??” Data shows premiums soar under #Obamacare

March 18, 2014
x

All is going according to plan.

We’ve seen plenty of anecdotal evidence about that before (for example), but eHealthinsurance.com has done what I think is the first systematic study of rate increases, now that we’ve experienced about six months of our glorious new health care regime.

And the results, to put it nicely, are fugly:

Americans buying health insurance outside the new Obamacare exchanges are being forced to swallow premiums up to 56 percent higher than before the health law took effect because insurers have jumped the cost to cover all the added features of the new Affordable Care Act.

According to a cost report from eHealthInsurance, a nationwide online private insurance exchange, families are paying an average of $663 a month and singles $274 a month, far more than before Obamacare kicked in. What’s more, to save money, most buyers are choosing the lowest level of coverage, the so-called “bronze” plans.

The firm provided the costs to Secrets through their new online price index, which gives the averages of what people are paying for insurance sold through their system. In California, for example, some families are paying a high of $2,604 a month and in New York, $1,845.

The shocking surge in prices show what Americans not in Obamacare or covered by their employer are paying as they seek lower premiums. Typically, they are not eligible for the subsidies Obamacare offers those with low incomes.

Before some apologist shouts “But they weren’t shopping on the exchange!”, it doesn’t matter. All health insurance has to meet the new lollipops- and-unicorns standards, whether it’s vended by Covered California, the federal exchange, or a private broker.

What this study reveals quite clearly, however, is the true cost of an Obamacare policy (and most are choosing the lowest, Bronze policy, per the article) without subsidies. This is the Left’s intended wealth transfer from the middle class to those lower on the economic scale laid bare before the world.

But, hey, don’t worry. I’m sure it’s only a “glitch.” After all, didn’t the president just promise, in his latest version of that ever-changing promise, that you might not be able to keep your doctor, but you’ll be able to save money?

Why, yes. Yes, he did.

If you’re one of those paying more, remember that lie in November.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


At last, someone has found the best strategy for @TheDemocrats

March 14, 2014
Not trolling

Concern troll

Examining the utterly brutal numbers (PDF) for the Democrats in a poll conducted jointly by The Wall St. Journal and NBC, David Freddoso offered this advice:

So anyway, the ideal campaign for Democrats would send President Obama to Hawaii for a few months, run ads against the health care law they all voted for (they’re already all over this one), send Bill Clinton out to stump in as many races as possible, and hope for the best.

I’d accuse David of concern-trolling, but he’s too nice  guy for that.  Me, on the other hand…

Still don’t get why Bill Clinton is so popular, though.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: “You’re going to lose your doctor, but it will cost less!”

March 14, 2014
No way!!

He said what??

Okay, the president is trolling us again. Someone tell him it’s not funny.

Courtesy of Moe Lane:

You know, I honestly cannot figure out if President Obama is a clueless nitwit, or if he thinks we are. Maybe it’s a bit of both.

In the meantime, perhaps the president would like to talk to the owners of the Republique restaurant here in Los Angeles, who had to tack on a surcharge because Obamacare made their employee health plans more expensive? Or how about Steve Duschene of Redondo Beach, who saw his premiums and co-pays skyrocket, the latter tripling in the event of an emergency room visit? And if you figure “he lives in Redondo, so he can afford it,” then what about the family of German Campos and Andrea Redamonti, of working-class Chico, CA, whose new save-money insurance saw the premium increase to $800 per month — with a $15,000 deductible? Maybe Obama should have a beer-summit with Rev. Kathi Rose of Wisconsin, who was forced to give up the insurance she liked and buy a policy that costs $4,000 per year more? And if none of these people impress him, maybe he’ll listen to his allies? People like liberal pundit Kirsten Powers, or Don Taylor, head of the Unite Here union? I’m sure they’d be happy to explain to Obama how they’re saving money…

These are just a very few of the examples of people NOT saving money, thanks to Obamacare, I found with just a few minutes scrolling through the Public Secrets archives.

Maybe the president should take a look, himself.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


How do you know a Democrat is panicking? Updated

March 13, 2014
"It's on"

Press in case of impending election

When he brags about supporting George W. Bush, that’s panic talking:

A longtime House Democrat in electoral jeopardy this fall says he supported former President George W. Bush more than President Obama.

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), first elected in 1976, is a top target of Republicans in a state where Obama has long been deeply unpopular. He is facing a state senator, Evan Jenkins, who switched to the GOP to challenge him, and the House Democratic campaign committee recently added him to its “Frontline” list of members that need the most help saving their seat in November.

“There’s no question my critics try to blame Obama-Rahall for everything,” Rahall told The Hill. “I mean, the snow blitz that’s coming tonight is probably Obama-Rahall’s fault. And they won’t have that to do two years from now, so it’s obvious they’re leaving no stone unturned to defeat me this time. Because it’s the last time they’ll have Obama around! It’s that simple.”

“Hey, don’t blame me for that guy from my party who’s been in the White House for the last five years!”

The schadenfreude here is sweet, my friends. For years, after the shock of 9/11 wore off soon after the liberation of Iraq, the Democrats hurled vile calumnies at President Bush in their desperate quest to regain power. No comparison was too low, no lie too blatant, no fantasy too lurid. After Obama was inaugurated in 2009, the “blame Bush” deflection efforts became so common as to become ritualized, a two-minutes hate. George W. Bush, not the greatest president but a good man, was the new Emmanuel Goldstein.

And now, thanks to a rotten economy made chronic by Obama’s policies, his arrogant contempt for the rule of law, and the chaos created by his signature legislation, Democrats are starting to demand they be compared to… George W. Bush.

Pardon me, I need to laugh: smiley rofl

It wouldn’t surprise me to see several more as Election Day draws near.

Via Jim Geraghty, who offers a second example.

RELATED: More from my blog-buddy, ST.

UPDATE 3/14/2014: From David Freddoso’s Conservative Intelligence Briefing, a Republican-commissioned poll shows Rahall’s likely opponent, State Senator Evan Jenkins, ahead by 14 points. Even accounting for partisan bias, Rahall’s congressional career looks like toast. Freddoso offers a possible reason:

In Rahall’s particular case, his vote for the Progressive Caucus budget (which contained a carbon tax) will probably be his undoing. There’s just no way out of that one when you represent coal country.

Voting against your constituents’ interests? Huh. Funny how that works out.


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)


#Obamacare Chronicles: To Harry Reid, this man is likely a liar

March 5, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Remember kiddies, it was just a few days ago that the Majority Leader of the United States Senate said that all the Obamacare horror stories were untrue, asserting by implication that the people behind those stories were all liars. Then he softened it to “most.” (How gracious of him.) Many have already come forward to call out his arrant nonsense, but perhaps few stories are as frightening and maddening as that of Fred Rosamilia, who was told after his cancer surgery that his Obamacare “gold plan” would not pay his doctor bills:

The Rosamilia’s told Fred’s doctors that they had enrolled in the new plan. They were met with positive reactions from the doctors. The doctors told them that it was a great plan and that they accepted it.

After his surgery, the Rosamilia’s received their bills and were disappointed to find that their insurance company had only covered lower costing, high co-pay procedures.

Lynne then overheard the nurses saying that they would not be able to treat Fred for the next 60 days, now leaving them with huge medical bills.

Heckuva morale-booster for a guy fighting for his life, no?

Eventually the Rosamilia’s were allowed to switch to a “silver” plan that, it seems, will cover the future treatment (we hope), but they’re still on the hook for two months worth of medical bills. Imagine what that probably adds up to.

This kind of real-life American Horror Story is happening again and again across the nation, or so we’re told. To Harry Reid, a vile, shriveled fool if there ever was one, Mr. Rosamilia and all those like him are probably liars.

I wonder if he kicks puppies, too.

The only liars here are the Democrats and everyone who sold this anti-constitutional monstrosity as an improvement on the prior health-insurance system, that it would lead to wider coverage, lowered costs, and better treatment. That people could keep the plans they liked and the doctors they trusted. Lies, lies, and more lies. One lie after another, from the President on down, meant to sell snake oil to a nation that didn’t even want it — and still don’t.

Sideshow carnies have more integrity.

What the Democrats have done to the nation, what they are doing now to people like Fred Rosamilia, is unforgivable. They deserve nothing less than the electoral version of what Rome did to Carthage.

Bring on November.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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