#Obamacare: Maryland considers dumping its non-functional exchange

December 18, 2013

satire oops embarrassed button

Hey, remember how the state exchanges were supposed to be the examples of Obamacare exchanges that actually worked well? (1) You might not be hearing that claim much longer, now that Maryland, one of the enthusiastic early recruits, is open to the idea of shutting down its exchange:

That said, the pace of enrollments is still far too low. If the exchange is able to replicate its best weekday and weekend performance during every one of the 104 days between now and the end of the open enrollment period on March 31, Maryland will still only achieve about three-quarters of its goal of signing up 150,000 people with private coverage. The site may be better, but better isn’t good enough.

Under those circumstances, the question raised by Rep. John Delaney, a Montgomery County Democrat, about whether it would be better for Maryland to scrap its effort to build its own exchange and instead join the federal one has merit. Indeed, Gov. Martin O’Malley acknowledged on Monday that the option — and all others — remain on the table.

That’s a hard possibility for Governor O’Malley to acknowledge. Under his leadership, Maryland was one of the most aggressive states in the effort to build out its own exchange — a strategic decision that appears in retrospect to have involved no small amount of hubris and political ambition. Walking away now from all that effort and tens of millions in expenditures would be particularly embarrassing.

It would also have policy implications. Maryland decided to build the kind of exchange it did because officials wanted to create something of a one-stop portal that would integrate shopping for private plans and enrolling in Medicaid. Theoretically, that would make the system much easier to navigate for families in which, for example, the children are eligible for Medicaid and the parents for private plans. The state also had designs on eventually integrating enrollment for other social services — like food stamps and energy assistance — into one system. Scrapping the state exchange altogether would ensure that none of that would be possible, at least not anytime soon.

That would be sure to make Obama and Sebelius sad. It also would do wonders (he wrote sarcastically) for Governor O’Malley’s dark-horse presidential prospects. (2) Well, that and the Baltimore jail scandal.

via David Freddoso, whose newsletter you should subscribe to.

Meanwhile, The New York Times, of all papers, reports “broad skepticism” (3) regarding the Affordable Care Act:

The poll found that just one-third of uninsured Americans expect the law, the Affordable Care Act, to improve the nation’s health care system, while the same proportion think the law will help them personally, according to the poll.

Overall, there is no consensus among uninsured Americans on how the health care system will fare once the law takes effect. While one-third expect improvement, two-thirds anticipate either a worsening or no difference at all.

“It will hurt everybody in the long run,” said Cat Ping, 55, of Indianapolis in a follow-up interview. Ms. Ping, who does not have insurance, added: “I don’t care how they spin it, Obamacare is not affordable. It’s wrecking our total economy.”

Emphasis added. I dunno. I’d call two-thirds approaching a consensus on at minimum the law’s uselessness, wouldn’t you?

Some people have gone beyond skepticism to fighting back. In that newly-born hotbed of resistance against Progressive busybody-ism, Colorado (4), two state legislators have had an interesting idea: they’ve introduced a bill that would grant a state tax credit to anyone fined taxed under Obamacare for not having insurance:

Reps. Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs and Jared Wright of Grand Junction announced that they will introduce a bill to give a tax credit to anyone who gets fined for not buying health insurance — at an amount equal to the federal penalty under the Affordable Care Act for not purchasing insurance.

The pair of conservatives are calling it the “Healthcare Liberty Act.”

“Many Colorado families are relying on us as their elected representatives to try to mitigate the adverse effects of Obamacare,” Wright said. “Our bill is an appropriate response to the tax penalty and will help people in Colorado who simply cannot afford this expensive new government health insurance mandate.”

I like it: rewarding people for defying an unjust law. It won’t get through the Democrat-controlled state senate nor past the Democrat governor, but it’s one heck of an appealing idea. And it will give state Republicans another nice club to beat Democrats with in the upcoming elections, especially with the exchange doing so well that its director wants a bonus.

via Jim Geraghty

RELATED: More bad news for Obamacare fans.

Footnote:
(1) Relatively, compared to the total train wreck that is the federal exchange.
(2) No kidding. The Democratic bench is so thin that this hack is considered to have serious, albeit second-tier prospects.
(3) This is news only to MSNBC viewers and Santa Monica liberals, of which there is probably a considerable overlap.
(4) Where the Blue grip has suddenly become shaky. Must be Michelle Malkin’s influence.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: Today’s winner of the “You’ve got your nerve” contest

December 6, 2013
No way!!

No way!!

Only in the progressive-statist bureaucracy would a merit bonus be given for failure:

The head of Colorado’s state health exchange has asked for an end-of-the-year raise and bonus even though the website has enrolled fewer than half the people who were supposed to purchase health insurance through December.

Patty Fontneau, president and CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, currently earns $190,549. Her chief operating officer and chief financial officer earn $164,800 each.

The salaries are supported by taxpayers.

Fontneau received a $5,000 raise in 2012 and is eligible for annual bonuses of up to 10 percent with salary increases of 3 percent, according to documents from Connect for Health Colorado.

The CEO’s salary increase was discussed among the organization’s board of directors in an October executive session, and it has not yet been granted by the board.

By Ms. Fontneau’s standards, I suppose the head of Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange should be granted her weight in gold.

Maybe we could give them all gold participation stars, instead.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare chronicles: another supporter loses their insurance. Irony or Justice?

November 9, 2013
"Suckers."

“Suckers.”

You make the call:

Cathy Wagner says she isn’t political and has never written a lawmaker, much less the president, but with Obamacare she felt compelled.

“I really just wanted him to know … I was so hopeful that this plan was going to move us forward, but in fact I think it’s moving us backward,” Wagner said.

Wagner and her husband retired early. She was a nurse for 35 years and championed Obamacare, until she received a letter from her insurance company saying it was canceling her policy.

“I was really shocked … all of my hopes were sort of dashed,” Wagner said. “’Oh my gosh President Obama, this is not what we hoped for, it’s not what we were told.’ “

She was shocked further to learn that for the same coverage she would pay 35 percent more and have a higher deductible.

“Our premium for next year is going up to over $1,000 a month for two of us and we’re two fairly healthy individuals,” Wagner said.

Maybe a bit of both. We’ve seen this before: people who naively put their faith in government to takeover and manage something as complex as healthcare for a nation of 330 million people, amounting to 16% of the national economy, see their dream shattered by implacable economic reality. I suppose what truly makes me sad is that the foolishness of people such as the Wagners is taking the rest of us down with them.

Oh, and the caring response from her representative in the House when asked about the sticker shock the Wagners and so many others are experiencing?

“This is yet the most recent issue,” said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado.

DeGette sits on the committee that oversees Obamacare. She insists the Wagners are the exception, not the rule.

“As we work through all of this I think that a year from now people overall are going to be very, very happy with the way the Affordable Care Act is working,” DeGette said.

In other words, “shut up and learn to like it, suckers.”

PS: Similarly to what I suspect will be many people, Cathy Wagner is now seriously considering doing without insurance. Great job, Mr. President. I hope Cathy and her friends will remember what the Democratic Party has done for them, when election day rolls around.

LINKS: My blog-buddy ST beat me to the punch. Curse you, Eastern Time Zone! Moe Lane comments on DeGette’s “state of denial.”


Colorado rural counties to vote: Should we stay or should we go?

November 4, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

An update on the Colorado secession story.

Originally posted on The Lead with Jake Tapper:

(CNN) — Voters in 11 rural counties in northern Colorado will go the polls Tuesday to decide whether they want to continue living in the 137-year-old state or break off and form their own.

Even if a majority of voters in the referendum approve secession, breaking away would be a daunting, perhaps nigh-on-impossible path. A new state would require approval first in the Colorado legislature and then from the U.S. Congress, as laid out by Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution.

FULL POST

View original


Secession!! Wait… in Colorado??

July 12, 2013
320px-Map_of_Colorado_counties,_labelled.svg

Proposed new state highlighted in tan

We’ve had another outbreak of one part of a state wanting to tell another to go to… Well, just “go away.” It comes up periodically in California, where there’s often talk of breaking the state in two for being too big, and the far northern counties periodically get sick of being ignored and make noises about forming the State of Jefferson with some Oregon counties.

Now its Colorado’s turn. In addition to being upset over the recent passage of repressive gun laws, residents of rural parts of the state are angry over state efforts to promote renewable energy sources over fossil fuels, the latter of which are important to northern Colorado’s economy. And, having had enough abuse, eight counties want form their own state:

“Northern and Northeastern Colorado and our voices are being ignored in the legislative process this year, and our very way of life is under attack,” Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway told Coloradoan.com.

“This is not a stunt. This is a very serious deliberative discussion that’s going on,” Conway told CBS Denver. “There’s a real feeling that a lot of folks who come from the urban areas don’t appreciate the contribution that many Coloradans contribute.”

Officials from Weld, Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Yuma and Kit Carson counties were involved in the discussions, Conway said, adding that two counties in Nebraska are interested in joining the new state.

“We need to figure out way to re-enfranchise the people who feel politically disenfranchised now and ignored,” he said.

Conway and his coalition are hoping to put the question of secession to voters in November through a ballot referendum.

Splitting a state is a tough thing to do. The Constitution (Article IV, Section 3) requires approval of the state legislature and Congress, as well as any requirements under Colorado law. Denver Democrats, even if they don’t like fossil fuels, probably like the tax revenue they generate, while D.C. Democrats aren’t likely to want to create what would almost certainly be two new Republican senators. The last time a new state was carved out of another, it was West Virginia in 1863, and let’s just say the circumstances were a bit unusual at the time.

But I’m not unsympathetic; the Democrat-dominated legislature was arrogant when they shoved through the new gun laws in the face of strong popular opposition, apparently listening more to Washington pols and outside groups like Mike Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, than their own voters. And being economically harmed can lead to harsh feelings, too. (Just ask people who used to work in the logging and mining industries in northern California.)

In fact, I’m surprised there aren’t more efforts by rural counties to escape the control of the often left-leaning metropolises that have come to dominate several states and treat their rural brethren as barely tolerated rubes, there to pay taxes and otherwise shut up. Southern Illinois seems to have every reason to secede from Chicago, for example, and friends in eastern Washington often complain about Seattle’s dominance of their state. And if anyone has a real gripe, it’s southern and western New York.

I’ll keep an eye on this and report on developments. In a time of political and economic ferment, a movement like this might just succeed.

RELATED: A CBS Denver article linked by the Yahoo report mentions a backup plan, should the effort to create North Colorado fail — a push to change the state senate from representation by district to one senator for each county. It’s an interesting idea to redress urban dominance, mirroring the philosophy behind the Great Compromise over the federal House and Senate. It might be a better idea than splitting the state, but I really can’t see Denver-area Democrats agreeing to (almost certainly) hand this much power to conservatives. It would have to be done by ballot initiative.

UPDATE: Looks like some southern Colorado counties want in …er… out… um… both, too, and some western Nebraska and Kansas counties have expressed interest in the idea.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obamacare as the gateway to state-run single-payer healthcare? Colorado is the foot in the doorway.

April 2, 2013

One of the charges made by those oppose Obamacare is that it’s really a Trojan Horse for state-run single-payer system (1); that, in fact, the annoyances and fatal flaws within the PPACA –which are legion– are a feature, not a bug. The idea being that the problems will grow so great that people will demand a solution and then, by that time, the public will be open to a full-blown single payer nationalized system, the ultimate goal of the Left. In response, Obamacare supporters call that idea nonsense and dismiss critics as paranoid “see a Socialist under every bush” types.

Oh yeah? Phase Two has already begun:

State Sen. Irene Aguilar wants Coloradans to imagine a day when 80 percent of them see their health care costs drop.

She says the wildly different health care system she envisions can make that happen – largely by eliminating much of what health insurance companies do, and by purchasing everyone’s medications in bulk.

The Denver doctor and Democrat is proposing that Colorado throw out the impending reforms know as Obamacare – which is permitted if the state comes up with a better plan. This week Aguilar introduced a resolution to ask Colorado voters to create a universal health care system for the state.

(…)

Specifically, Aguilar’s bill would ask voters to create a statewide health insurance co-op, owned by all Coloradans, which would replace health insurance companies. It would offer one wide-ranging policy for all residents. It would be funded by a tax, which would replace the insurance premiums that companies and people now pay.

Emphasis added. So, if Senator Aguilar’s measure passes, we’d have a single-payer system in one state (2). What’s the problem, that’s Coloradans’ business, right?

Yes, they’re free to sink their ship any way they’d like, just as we in California are doing. But, consider this hypothetical scenario: As the years go by and Obamacare becomes more hated as its problems multiply, there will be pressure on more and more states to invoke the same bail-out provision of the PPACA that Aguilar’s bill does and opt out of Obamacare altogether, if it’s replaced with “something better.” (3)

If enough states do this, the pressure for a national single-payer system to smooth out the differences between the states will be tremendous, almost irresistible. And the enactment of that, my friends, would mark the completion of “Phase Three” and the Left’s victory.

I’ll leave the critique of the economics of the Colorado proposal to economists, though I suspect they’ll find it’s another case of “unicorns and rainbows.” And I don’t doubt that Senator Aguilar genuinely wants to help her constituents, though her method is wrong. But, politically, this plan fits right in with the Left’s strategy to follow parallel tracks at the state and federal levels to incrementally pursue a Social Democratic agenda, the underlying spirit of which is wealth redistribution.

These efforts aren’t in conflict with each other, they’re complementary. And we have to fight them on those same levels, too.

via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt.

Footnotes:
(1) And I have no idea where anyone would get that notion from.
(2) Variations of which have been tried in Maine, Tennessee, and Massachusetts, all of which are failing. But this time we know it’ll be different, right?
(3) “Better,” in this case, would certainly be guaranteed universal coverage that goes beyond the PPACA, not a market-based system. Try to opt out of Obamacare and implement the latter, and just see how fast your state gets sued by the Obama administration.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Guncontrol – Colorado Democrats to ban popular shotgun?

March 2, 2013

Yet another “solution” that won’t do a thing to deal the problem of mass shootings, but will trample on the rights of law-abiding citizens:

A popular hunting shotgun could be banned under one of the bills moving through the state Capitol.

A pump or semi-automatic shotgun is the gun most hunters in Colorado use. It’s a gun state Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, says could be banned under a bill that’s already passed the House and Gov. John Hickenlooper says he’ll sign.

“They’re coming after the standard shotgun,” Brophy told CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd.

And what would this bill do? It bans the dreaded “high-capacity magazine,” which affects this model because it can be adapted to hold more than eight shells. If the bill becomes law, it would impose draconian rules:

“The law is specific as of July 1. You can keep it, but only if you maintain continuous possession of it,” Brophy said. “If it breaks, you can’t give to a gunsmith even to fix it. You can’t hand it to your son to use. It’s all now outlawed because of this 1224, the bill that Gov. Hickenlooper says he’s going to sign … this is most extreme thing anybody’s ever done related to firearms.”

Like many of the gun-grabbing bills pushed by progressives (whose real intent is a de facto ban via onerous regulations), this bill ignores the facts about firearms-related violence in America, including the fact that the vast majority of mass shootings involve handguns. It pays no attention to what may well be the real problem, the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill.

There is a problem, but taking advantage of tragedies to ram through  legislation that only gives the appearance of doing something to solve it really does nothing.

Except punish the law-abiding.

PS: The article goes on to report that Democratic legislators promise an amendment to deal with this issue. Forgive for thinking that’s an offer to sell the Brooklyn Bridge.

via Liberty Unyielding

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 13,170 other followers