Glorious #Obamacare victory as millions sign up on first day!

October 31, 2013
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Wait. Did I say “millions?” What I meant was “six.” As in six people enrolled on the first day.

In the entire nation:

For 31 days now, the Obama administration has been telling us that Americans by the millions are visiting the new health insurance website, despite all its problems.

But no one in the administration has been willing to tell us how many policies have been purchased, and this may be the reason: CBS News has learned enrollments got off to an incredibly slow start.

Early enrollment figures are contained in notes from twice-a-day “war room” meetings convened within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after the website failed on Oct. 1. They were turned over in response to a document request from the House Oversight Committee.

The website launched on a Tuesday. Publicly, the government said there were 4.7 million unique visits in the first 24 hours. But at a meeting Wednesday morning, the war room notes say “six enrollments have occurred so far.”

They were with BlueCross BlueShield North Carolina (1) and Kansas City, CareSource and Healthcare Service Corporation.

By Wednesday afternoon, enrollments were up to “approximately 100.” By the end of Wednesday, the notes reflect “248 enrollments” nationwide.

The health care exchanges need to average 39,000 enrollees a day to meet the goal of seven million by March 1.

Let’s see. Six enrollments divided by 4.7 million visits equals a success rate of…. 0.000001276595745 percent.

Somehow, I think they’re going to have trouble meeting that goal of 7 million.

Footnote:
(1) We can safely assume none of these were Sister Toldjah. 😉

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: They lied. Up to 93 million Americans to lose their insurance

October 31, 2013
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

And they knew in 2010, at least.

Recall that, over the last few days as millions of Americans have had their medical insurance canceled due to the Affordable Care Act, apologists have tried to pass it off as regrettable, but ultimately minor. It ranged from presidential spokes-weasel Jay Carney minimizing it as five percent of Americans (that’s still more than 15 million, Jay), to an unbelievably insane performance by New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone on Megyn Kelley’s show last night. (Really, you have to see it to believe it.)

But, here’s the kicker: both apologists and critics are wrong when they say this is limited to the private, individual policy market. Well, critics are wrong. The apologists are lying suckweasels or pathetic tools, take your pick. Per analysis published in Forbes today by Avik Roy, the stringent Obamacare regulations that are costing individual buyers the plans they like will, by 2015, also affect employer-based insurance.

And the carnage will be immense:

Section 1251 of the Affordable Care Act contains what’s called a “grandfather” provision that, in theory, allows people to keep their existing plans if they like them. But subsequent regulations from the Obama administration interpreted that provision so narrowly as to prevent most plans from gaining this protection.

“The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013,” wrote the administration on page 34,552 of theRegister. All in all, more than half of employer-sponsored plans will lose their “grandfather status” and get canceled. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 156 million Americans—more than half the population—was covered by employer-sponsored insurance in 2013.

Another 25 million people, according to the CBO, have “nongroup and other” forms of insurance; that is to say, they participate in the market for individually-purchased insurance. In this market, the administration projected that “40 to 67 percent” of individually-purchased plans would lose their Obamacare-sanctioned “grandfather status” and get canceled, solely due to the fact that there is a high turnover of participants and insurance arrangements in this market. (Plans purchased after March 23, 2010 do not benefit from the “grandfather” clause.) The real turnover rate would be higher, because plans can lose their grandfather status for a number of other reasons.

How many people are exposed to these problems? 60 percent of Americans have private-sector health insurance—precisely the number that Jay Carney dismissed. As to the number of people facing cancellations, 51 percent of the employer-based market plus 53.5 percent of the non-group market (the middle of the administration’s range) amounts to 93 million Americans.

Remember that Obama illegally delayed the employer mandate for a year, so the effect of section 1251 has been put off from 2013 to 2014, for insurance coverage beginning 2015. Ed Morrissey notes an intriguing problem that poses for the Democrats:

Employers will face a critical decision point by September 2014 of whether to pay the fine for non-coverage and force their employees into the individual exchanges, or absorb more of the skyrocketing premium costs we’re seeing this month.  They may opt for an in-between solution of private exchanges, but even that will force employees out of their current plans, contra to the Obama promise that Americans can “keep their plans.”

Those decisions and actions will take place just weeks before the midterm elections. Take the headlines and outrage we are seeing now for the impact that ObamaCare has on the individual market and perhaps as many as 12 million Americans, and then multiply it by six as employers make the rational decision to get out of the health-insurance business altogether.

That’s 93 million people, most of them voters, and a very, very large lot of them angry as a wet cat over what the Democrats’ legislation did to them. Just as we enter the final run up to the election.

And I hope those arrogant, lying, progressive oligarchs, so cocksure that they know how to run our lives better than we do, suffer a wipeout for the ages in it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare site security: worse than we thought?

October 31, 2013
"Obama foreign policy advisers"

“Obamacare implementation team”

I told you there was never “just one roach.” Just two days after learning of at least one easy hack to access private data at healthcare.gov and just one day after HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius swore up and down that site security was her department’s top priority, we have the former head of the Social Security Administration telling us the administration deliberately broke privacy laws to rush the site out by October 1st:

In an interview with NBC News, a former top government official raised his own questions about the site’s security, and about the healthcare.gov’s privacy protections. Michael Astrue, the Bush appointee who served as head of the Social Security Administration from 2007 until early this year, said that the Obama administration exempted the website from many federal privacy protections, potentially making the personal data on healthcare.gov accessible to a range of government and private entities, including the Department of Homeland Security to credit agencies.

“There were shortcuts taken on the information technology,” said Astrue, “and there were shortcuts taken in terms of adherence to the laws that protect our rights.”

According to Astrue, concerns about privacy protections were the subject of debate within the administration before launch. But Astrue said that his warnings that the site’s design should not contravene the Federal Privacy Act were ignored. “I was extremely upset,” said Astrue. “First of all they were violating the statute. Second, there would be real world consequences for Americans.”

Three weeks after healthcare.gov launched, administration officials granted 13 exemptions to the Privacy Act permitting sensitive personal data being entered into healthcare.gov and the state health insurance exchanges to be shared with agency contractors, consultants, the Department of Homeland Security, state and local governments, employers and family members. The exemptions are displayed in fine print on healthcare.gov.

“Don’t worry,” the administration might say. “The people handling this data will only access it at need and would never, ever abuse it. I pinky swear!” Well, after revelations about the IRS leaking confidential tax returns and NSA employees spying on ex-spouses and lovers, let’s just say I don’t have much confidence in this “official promise:”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services told NBC News, “When consumers fill out their online Marketplace applications, they can trust that the information they’re providing is protected by stringent security standards and that the technology underlying the application process has been tested and is secure.”

But let’s assume for the moment that all these people at all levels, federal, state, and private, are all honorable and would never misuse their privileges. There’s still the very big question of technological security, itself. We know now the prime contractor, CGI Federal, told the government last summer that it was very concerned about the lack of adequate security testing. The government itself was worried about a “high security risk.” And we know that obtaining user information during the system’s first three weeks of operation was frighteningly easy. Just how secure are all these various computer systems at all these myriad levels? And what about the pipes and hubs through which the data has to flow? How about software bugs no one knows of yet, maybe introduced by the very fixes HHS is working on?

And what about the thousands of users, themselves? How many of them, not malicious but still careless, are using easy to crack passwords? Their child’s first name? Their birthdate? Their driver’s licence number? As Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI) told Sebelius:

“You have exposed millions of Americans because you all, according to your memo, believed it was an acceptable risk,…”

This structure has a million potential holes in it, just waiting for data thieves to strike, and Astrue’s description of the administration’s cavalier attitude toward security turns this from a worry to a disaster in the making.

PS: I don’t know about you, but I’m stunned that it’s NBC reporting this.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare horror story: Whether you want it or not, you *will* be enrolled

October 30, 2013
satire shock surprise

“A hair-raising tale!”

Right on time for Halloween, you have to check out this Storify from Twitter user “Nied’s Dead Horse.” Having decided to create an account at healthcare.gov to browse the available options, Nied took a look around and closed her browser. She did not pick a plan, she did not enroll, and she was assured by an online rep that she could not be enrolled without actively choosing a plan. Reassured, she logged off.

But something nagged at her, so she logged back on to double check. This is what she found:

Makes you wonder where all those high Medicaid enrollment numbers are coming from, doesn’t it? How many more have been signed up and not told?

Back to Nied, she found she could not remove Medicaid from her “My plans” section. Repeated calls to multiple telephone “help” numbers were useless. They couldn’t tell her whether it was a just web site error or whether she was really enrolled —illegally!— in Medicaid. They couldn’t explain to Nied how this happened and instead just muttered something about a –wait for it– “glitch.” One they’ve known about for days!

This is utterly appalling. This bug-laden web site, which HHS and the White House knew wasn’t ready to go, isn’t just crashing. It’s signing people up for Medicaid (and other programs?) whether they qualify or not — or even want it. And then it won’t let them go.

Was this thing designed by Dr. Forbin?

Think of the possibilities: if it’s signing people up erroneously for Medicaid, is it also assigning browsers to other plans? If a user actually chooses a plan, does Obamacare “helpfully” put them in a different one? Or what about the opposite: you think you’ve signed up for the right plan, then the system drops you and you find yourself unknowingly but illegally without insurance in 2014?

Don’t forget the huge security hole that was just revealed. Between that and the system signing up people for Medicaid whether they want it or not, they don’t need to just fix this system, they need to shut it down entirely and destroy the data before something truly tragic happens.

And, by the way, between you and me? There is no way on God’s green earth that I am logging onto that web site. I was mildly curious before and had considered taking a look, but, after this… Picture me running away, very fast.

via Cuffé

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Beyond a glitch: massive security hole found in Obamacare site software

October 29, 2013
"Just a few bugs"

“Just a few bugs”

Yet another reason to feel secure in the knowledge that the government is forcing people into this system under penalty of law:

Until the Department of Health fixed the security hole last week, anyone could easily reset your Healthcare.gov password without your knowledge and potentially hijack your account.

The glitch was discovered last week by Ben Simo, a software tester in Arizona. Simo found that gaining access to people’s accounts was frighteningly simple. You could have:

  • guessed an existing user name, and the website would have confirmed it exists.
  • claimed you forgot your password, and the site would have reset it.
  • viewed the site’s unencrypted source code in any browser to find the password reset code.
  • plugged in the user name and reset code, and the website would have displayed a person’s three security questions (your oldest niece’s first name, name of favorite pet, date of wedding anniversary, etc.).
  • answered the security questions wrong, and the website would have spit out the account owner’s email address — again, unencrypted.

Armed with the account holder’s email address, a person with malicious intent could easily track down their target on social media, where they’d likely discover the answers to those security questions.

It wouldn’t have even taken a skilled hacker. Anyone with bad intentions — and a minimal understanding of how to read a website’s code — could have figured it out. While such an attack might not have yielded your Social Security number or health information, it would have exposed your address and phone number.

But, don’t worry. Rest easy. They’ve fixed that problem… After the site had been operating for three weeks.

Remember, there’s never just one roach.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare object lesson: supporter sees her insurance skyrocket

October 29, 2013
"Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth."

“Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth.”

And the best part of this is? She’s a former congressional staffer who defended this anti-constitutional monstrosity during it’s passage:

For [Sue] Klinkhamer, 60, President Obama’s oft-repeated words ring in her ears: “If you like your health plan, you will keep it.”

Well, possibly not.

When Klinkhamer lost her congressional job (1), she had to buy an individual policy on the open market.

Three years ago, it was $225 a month with a $2,500 deductible. Each year it went up a little to, as of Sept. 1, $291 with a $3,500 deductible. Then, a few weeks ago, she got a letter.

“Blue Cross,” she said, “stated my current coverage would expire on Dec. 31, and here are my options: I can have a plan with similar benefits for $647.12 [or] I can have a plan with similar [but higher] pricing for $322.32 but with a $6,500 deductible.”

She went on, “Blue Cross also tells me that if I don’t pick one of the options, they will just assume I want the one for $647. … Someone please tell me why my premium in January will be $356 more than in December?”

This may surprise some of you, but I genuinely feel a bit sorry for Sue, in the way I’d feel sorry for a naive child who learns that Santa Claus isn’t real. It can be tough for anyone to have to face reality and finally grow up, especially when they’re sixty and not six. Her apparent naive faith in what the Democratic Party and her boss were then telling her is charming. And Sue was a trooper, defending the legislation in the face of angry and undeniably rude constituents. And yet this is the thanks she gets.

Reality check, Sue: This is exactly what you fought for, whether you know it or not. Maybe you and your boss should have read the bill.

via:

Footnote:
(1) When her boss was defeated for reelection in 2010. You know, the election in which the Democrats lost their House majority because of Obamacare.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: the question every Democrat dreads. UPDATE: They knew you would lose your insurance

October 28, 2013
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

A lot more people are receiving notices of cancellation of their insurance policies due to the Affordable Care Act, and they’re starting to have thoughts that have many Democrats rightfully worried:

In California, Kaiser Permanente terminated policies for 160,000 people. In Florida, at least 300,000 people are losing coverage.

That includes 56-year-old Dianne Barrette. Last month, she received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield informing her as of January 2014, she would lose her current plan. Barrette pays $54 a month. The new plan she’s being offered would run $591 a month — 10 times more than what she currently pays.

Barrette said, “What I have right now is what I am happy with and I just want to know why I can’t keep what I have. Why do I have to be forced into something else?

That’s a darned fine question, Dianne. The answer, if course, is the health-care law with the Orwellian name that was passed solely with Democratic votes, because –by design– it is forcing insurance companies to take away the insurance you like and forcing you to buy something you don’t want for a lot more money. And the Democrats meant to do that.

Remember that on Election Day.

UPDATE: NBC has this bombshell:

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.

They knew and they lied. Deliberately. Over and over again for three years from the day that abominable bill was passed. And the biggest liar was President Barack Obama, himself.

Remember that, Dianne.

PS: I’m perhaps even more surprised -shocked, even- that it was NBC that broke this news.

UPDATE 2: NBC has pulled the story, gone to 404 land. I wonder how many screaming phone calls they got from the White House?

UPDATE 3: And here’s a link to the cached copy at Google. Sorry Obama. Airbrushing the truth only worked for Stalin.

UPDATE 4. Just like that, the story is back. For now.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: “60 Minutes” report devastates administration lies

October 28, 2013
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

The Obama administration had plenty of warning that  something was coming and did nothing. That’s the upshot of this CBS video report that aired last night on 60 Minutes. The men interviewed by reporter Lara Logan, British security specialist “Morgan Jones” (a pseudonym), Green Beret LTC Andy Wood, who was among the top US security official in Libya at the time, and Greg Hicks, who was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya and who testified before Congress about the massacre, absolutely lay waste to the administration’s early claims about Benghazi. Here’s Morgan on security at the American compound:

Contrary to the White House’s public statements, which were still being made a full week later, it’s now well established that the Americans were attacked by al Qaeda in a well-planned assault.

Five months before that night, Morgan Jones first arrived in Benghazi, in eastern Libya about 400 miles from the capital, Tripoli.

He thought this would be an easy assignment compared to Afghanistan and Iraq. But on his first drive through Benghazi, he noticed the black flags of al Qaeda flying openly in the streets and he grew concerned about the guard forces as soon as he pulled up to the U.S. compound.

Morgan Jones: There was nobody there that we could see. And then we realized they were all inside drinking tea, laughing and joking.

Lara Logan: What did you think?

Morgan Jones: Instantly I thought we’re going to have to get rid of all these guys.

Morgan Jones’ job was training the unarmed guards who manned the compound’s gates. A second Libyan force — an armed militia hired by the State Department — was supposed to defend the compound in the event of an attack. Morgan had nothing to do with the militia, but they worried him so much, he could not keep quiet.

Morgan Jones: I was saying, “These guys are no good. You need to– you need to get ’em out of here.”

Lara Logan: You also kept saying, “If this place is attacked these guys are not going to stand and fight?”

Morgan Jones: Yeah. I used to say it all the time. Yeah, in the end I got quite bored of hearing my own voice saying it.

And lest you doubt Jones’ chops, he sneaked into an al Qaeda-controlled Benghazi hospital to verify that Ambassador Stevens’ corpse was indeed there. So we know that for months people whose job was “security” were warning the ambassador and State about the dangers. Stevens himself sought out Jones, concerned about the safety of the station.

And State and the White House did nothing.

Next was Colonel Wood, who verified Morgan’s account to show everyone knew something was brewing:

The last time he went to Benghazi was in June, just three months before the attack. While he was there, al Qaeda tried to assassinate the British ambassador. Wood says, to him, it came as no surprise because al Qaeda — using a familiar tactic — had stated their intent in an online posting, saying they would attack the Red Cross, the British and then the Americans in Benghazi.

Lara Logan: And you watched as they–

Andy Wood: As they did each one of those.

Lara Logan: –attacked the Red Cross and the British mission. And the only ones left–

Andy Wood: Were us. They made good on two out of the three promises. It was a matter of time till they captured the third one.

Wood repeatedly warned the embassy and Washington, but, in D.C., the warnings went unheeded. Wood also pointed out why this could not have been a spontaneous mob action, the crap story the administration was pushing in the days after the massacre. Discussing the later battle at the CIA annex where two former Navy Seals were killed, Wood spoke of the precision of the enemy attack:

Lara Logan: They hit that roof three times.

Andy Wood: They, they hit those roofs three times.

Lara Logan: In the dark.

Andy Wood: Yea, that’s getting the basketball through the hoop over your shoulder.

Lara Logan: What does it take to pull off an attack like that?

Andy Wood: Coordination, planning, training, experienced personnel. They practice those things. They knew what they were doing. That was a– that was a well-executed attack.

Kind of kills the “a You Tube video caused it” story, too, doesn’t it?

Finally, there is a portion of the testimony of Greg Hicks I want to highlight. Discussing how he felt about the failure to render aid during the battle, he said:

Lara Logan: You have this conversation with the defense attache. You ask him what military assets are on their way. And he says–

Greg Hicks: Effectively, they’re not. And I– for a moment, I just felt lost. I just couldn’t believe the answer. And then I made the call to the Annex chief, and I told him, “Listen, you’ve gotta tell those guys there may not be any help coming.”

Lara Logan: That’s a tough thing to understand. Why?

Greg Hicks: It just is. We–, for us, for the people that go out onto the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they’re coming to get us. That our back is covered. To hear that it’s not, it’s a terrible, terrible experience.

And you can bet that same dread went through the minds of every Foreign Service officer and every soldier stationed around the world: “If they didn’t come for Chris Stevens and the others, will they come for me?”

Much of this, of course, is known to those of us who’ve followed this scandal from the beginning. But, thanks to a generally pliant media, the White House and the State Department’s stonewalling has been successful.

The 60 Minutes report isn’t perfect –left uncovered are the myriad questions about Obama and Clinton’s actions that night and the subsequent cover up, as well as the reasons for the lack of a rescue mission– but CBS and Logan are to be commended for finally getting this out in front of the general public.

One wishes this had come out a year ago.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


BBC – Real risk of a Maunder minimum ‘Little Ice Age’

October 28, 2013

Though I think this is much more likely than catastrophic man-caused warming, it should still be taken with skepticsm: first, the BBC wholly bought into the “warming mania,” so it’s always possible they’ll fall for the next climate hysteria. (Remember global cooling in the 70s?) Second, the professor cited in the article is on record as saying a few years ago almost the opposite of what he’s saying, now. Everyone can change their opinions, of course, as new data comes in, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Watts Up With That?

From BBC’s Paul Hudson

It’s known by climatologists as the ‘Little Ice Age’, a period in the 1600s when harsh winters across the UK and Europe were often severe.

The severe cold went hand in hand with an exceptionally inactive sun, and was called the Maunder solar minimum.

Now a leading scientist from Reading University has told me that the current rate of decline in solar activity is such that there’s a real risk of seeing a return of such conditions.

I’ve been to see Professor Mike Lockwood to take a look at the work he has been conducting into the possible link between solar activity and climate patterns.

According to Professor Lockwood the late 20th century was a period when the sun was unusually active and a so called ‘grand maximum’ occurred around 1985.

Since then the sun has been getting quieter. 

View original post 521 more words


#Obamacare chronicles: more sticker shock, canceled coverage, and Halloween horror

October 27, 2013
No way!!

Wait! It’s not free??

I swear by the Good Book, I’d love to be working in a Republican communications shop scripting campaign commercials; Obamacare is making their job so easy.

The Los Angeles Times published an article yesterday that tried valiantly to convince us that there are both winners and losers under Obamacare, but it seems the only real-world examples (1) they could cite were of the losers, such a pregnant mother-to-be:

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $98 a month for an individual plan through Health Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year. Her current plan does not conform with the new federal rules, which require more generous levels of coverage.

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don’t qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined.

“It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else,” said Harris, who is three months pregnant. “This increase is simply not affordable.”

Remember what I wrote about campaign commercials? If “Obamacare hurts pregnant women” isn’t being broadcast over every woman-oriented medium in summer and fall 2014, someone needs to be shot.

The quote of the day, however has to come from the unnamed woman who just learned that unicorns don’t exist:

Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.

“She said, ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'” Kehaly said.

Reality has a way of shattering those Candyland dreams,  doesn’t it? Maybe she can commiserate with these people.

There are hundred of thousands, if not millions of Americans, not only in California but across the nation, finding themselves in similar situations: losing the coverage they like, being cut off from the doctors they trust, finding their choices restricted and their costs increased, and this is all before they actually have to try to get decent medical care under this anti-constitutional monstrosity.

Which means, as time goes by, there are going to be more and more angry people who also happen to vote, which already has Democrats in a near-panic. After all, they voted for this thing; we didn’t.

And we will be sure to make that quite clear to all and sundry.

Oh, that Halloween horror I mentioned? Check out this web ad from Generation Opportunity. This year, the scariest Halloween monster won’t be Frankenstein, but Uncle Sam:

RELATED: From Reason Magazine, Obamacare has a big problem with Medicaid sign-ups — too many of them. After nearly four weeks after the opening of the Obamacare web site, more than 330,000 people have gotten to the point where subsidy calculations can be made. That’s across the entire nation. No word on how many of those actually bought a policy.

PS: I can’t resist going back to the LAT article and pulling one last quote, this from the director of Covered California, that is a sterling example of progressive-bureaucratic arrogance:

“People could have kept their cheaper, bad coverage, and those people wouldn’t have been part of the common risk pool,” [Peter] Lee said. “We are better off all being in this together. We are transforming the individual market and making it better.”

Translation: “People could have kept the coverage they were satisfied with, but then we wouldn’t have been able to force them to pay more for coverage they don’t want or need. We’re from the government and we know how a free market should be run.” Just amazing.

Footnote:
(1) As opposed to “All is well” pronouncements from regime apparatchiks.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare web site contract a “crony contract?”

October 26, 2013
"Friends helping friends?"

“Friends helping friends?”

File this under “Things that make you say ‘Hmmm…'”

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.

Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.

Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

There is another strange item: at the company’s insistence, the Caller included the fact that a CGI executive testified before Congress that four unnamed companies had submitted bids. But, since CGI Federal’s was the only bid considered, this at first glance seems even more… “odd.” Why would they want to draw attention to evidence of special treatment?

The Daily Caller article provides no more evidence of any particular friendship or close connection between Michelle Obama and Toni Townes, but, given what we all know about the administration’s history of cronyism and Michelle Obama’s own involvement in patient-dumping scheme, this is worthy of note and further investigation.

Like I said, “hmmm…”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare roll-out: Covered California – “We speak Asian!”

October 26, 2013

Really, @CoveredCA? With the large numbers of Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, and other East Asians living in this state? Via Twitchy:

 

And here’s a screenshot, in case they delete it.

Yeesh.


#Obamacare train wreck: thousands of elderly losing the doctors they like

October 25, 2013
"Obamacare"

“Obamacare rolls on”

Well, that’s not fair of me. Elderly, ill New Yorkers on the Medicare Advantage program actually have a choice: they can give up their doctor and take whomever their insurance will give them (whether they like that person or not); they can give up their insurance and pay for the doctor themselves; or they can try to find a plan their doctor is part of… and probably pay a lot more. Shockingly, many of these people are unhappy with their Brave New World:

The are 2.6 million elderly New Yorkers who receive Medicare, the public heath-insurance program for the elderly.

But one in three patients — nearly 900,000 — are enrolled in Advantage, Medicare HMOs run by private insurers.

Dr. Jonathan Leibowitz, who serves 30 patients under Medicare Advantage at his Brooklyn practice, said he was blindsided by UnitedHealthcare’s decision to give him the boot.

“A patient can’t see his doctor? What are they doing!” he asked.

They’re only doing what’s economically rational for the company, Doc, given the perverse incentives created by Obamacare.

And how do patients feel about this?

…Wilma Streicher, 76, was equally baffled. “Of course I want to keep Dr. Leibowitz. I don’t see why they want to push him out,” she said.

Patients of other doctors faced the same dire situation. Lung-cancer patient Jeannette Campregon, 79, received a letter from EmblemHealth saying that her internist, George Ruggiero, was terminated from her VIP High Option Medicare Advantage network.

Emblem notified her she could stay in her current plan and choose another doctor, pick a different plan to keep her doctor or call a customer-service rep for help.

“I’m going absolutely nuts,” said Campregon, who got conflicting information from three different service reps. “I don’t want to change my doctor!”

Ingrates and liars! Amanda Marcotte would demand they show a screenshot or it didn’t happen! They’re obviously under the delusion that the President said they could keep their doctor if they liked their doctor. How stupid, how…. Oh, wait:

In reality, this is no laughing matter. Anyone who’s had to deal with an elderly relative undergoing treatment knows just how important it is to the success of that treatment for that person to like and trust their doctor. More confidence, less stress, and a greater willingness to undergo what’s needed to get better. I can attest from painful personal experience how important the doctor-patient relationship is to these people, as I’m sure many of you can, too.

But now Obamacare is ripping all that up, in many cases threatening relationships built up over decades. And if it’s happening in New York, you can bet it’s happening across the nation, too.:

And here’s the devastating statistic you’ll see cited until the numbers change:

Over 500,000 individuals have seen their insurance policies cancelled in just 3 states. In all 50 states, only 476,000 applications have been “filed” in an exchange.

In short, Obamacare has caused more people to lose their health insurance than gain it so far.

Even if Obamacare were, by some miracle, repealed tomorrow, the carnage left in Obamacare’s wake is tremendous. Not just economically, vast though the disruption of the insurance markets has been, so far, but also on a very personal level, as we’ve seen in the Post article. And yet these are some of the very people Obama and his Pied Pipers claimed over and over would be helped by their new wonder-law.

What the Democrats have unleashed in their arrogance and hubris is unforgivable, and we can only hope voters make them pay a terrible price at the ballot box.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


How lame is the Obama White House?

October 24, 2013

So lame, they can’t even slander someone right.

They’re an embarrassment to the Chicago Way.

via Instapundit


#Obamacare: Sebelius’ history of IT failures in Kansas

October 24, 2013
"A track record of epic failure"

“A track record of epic failure”

Naturally, this is the person you want leading the biggest, most complicated information technology project in US government history, involving a full takeover of 16% of the nation’s economy. For that, my friends, only the best will do:

Obama administration Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ failure at designing websites to provide government services began during her term as governor of Kansas, long before the Obamacare website debacle, Kansas political insiders told The Daily Caller.

Sebelius oversaw numerous costly and disastrous government website projects during her six-year governorship (2003-2009), including a failed update of the Department of Labor’s program to provide unemployment pay and other services and similar updates pertaining to the Department of Administration and the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) services.

The Department of Labor’s overhaul of its computer programs was a notable boondoggle, according to 14-year former Kansas state senator and former state Labor Secretary Karin Brownlee.

“In the Kansas Senate, I chaired the Commerce committee. We had oversight over the Department of Labor. For years, we watched as the Department of Labor under Sebelius worked on that computer program. After seven years and $50 million, something should work,” Brownlee told TheDC.

“In Kansas if you have a 40 or 50 million dollar project, that’s a lot of money,” Brownlee said, noting that the Labor Department project was funded by federal money while other Sebelius website projects sucked up state taxpayer dollars. “They started and stopped that project with at least 3 different major contractors.”

When Brownlee was appointed to head the state’s Department of Labor under new Republican governor Sam Brownback in 2011, she was tasked with cleaning up Sebelius’ technical mess.

Read the article for several example of Sebelius’s managerial incompetence. This line, though, poses a very good question:

We pretty much expected HealthCare.gov to fail, because she has a pattern of failing on these big initiatives. We thought that was why she was not nominated originally,” Schwab said.

In other words, why did the administration hire someone with such a miserable performance record in just these kinds of projects?

Perhaps we shouldn’t wonder, though. Obama’s first nominee for HHS Secretary, former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), had to withdraw from consideration under pressure of ethics and tax questions. And who can forget “Turbo-Tax” Timothy Geithner, whose nomination for Treasury Secretary was almost derailed by questions of tax evasion… until he convinced people he was just too dumb to work a simple tax program right.

Vetting is obviously not the President’s strong suit. After all, no one ever asked any tough questions about his background and qualifications (in either election), so why should he do the same for his own nominees? In fact, this excerpt from The New York Times via The Federalist makes one wonder if he was ever really interested in doing the job at all:

Even as the debate about arming the rebels took on a new urgency, Mr. Obama rarely voiced strong opinions during senior staff meetings. But current and former officials said his body language was telling: he often appeared impatient or disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum. In private conversations with aides, Mr. Obama described Syria as one of those hellish problems every president faces, where the risks are endless and all the options are bad.

That was in reference to Syria this last summer, which had turned into a genuine crisis for the administration. But we know Obama isn’t really interested in foreign affairs, except for the occasional apology tour. But Obamacare is his baby, the thing he’s most likely to be remembered for in the history books. It’s his New Deal, his Great Society, the great liberal project. Wouldn’t he want to be danged sure the person he put in charge was qualified to carry it out?

In real life, I manage a small staff. I hire, train, evaluate, and, if needed, get rid of each of them. We have a job to do, and seeing that they do their job right is part my job. And I am judged in part on how well my staff does their jobs. The same can be said of any boss, any manager, any…. Chief Executive.

Shouldn’t President Obama be held to that same standard?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: Bet on it – the Individual Mandate will be delayed. Updated: I was right. Update 2: Not yet?

October 23, 2013
"Time to panic"

“Time to panic”

Because Democrat senators up for reelection in 2014 are now in full-blown panic mode. Earlier today, CNN’s Dana Bash tweeted the following:

Then, at Breitbart:

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who is up for re-election in 2014, wrote to Obama on Tuesday and asked him to delay the enrollment deadline for the individual mandate. “Given the existing problems with the website, I urge you to consider extending open enrollment beyond the current end date of March 31, 2014,” Shaheen wrote to the president. “Allowing extra time for consumers is critically important so they have the opportunity to become familiar with the website, survey their options and enroll.”

On Wednesday, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), who is facing a tough challenge in his 2014 re-election against Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), came out in support of Shaheen’s call for a delay of the individual mandate’s enrollment deadline. Pryor had previously been on record as supportive of the mandate as is.

Now, according to CNN’s Bash, the Democratic Party is coordinating an effort to support a delay in the individual mandate.

These people are not dummies: they can see the building fiasco. A law that was never popular, that was passed by anti-constitutional means against the will of the majority, that has never, ever claimed majority approval… That law is now doing real harm. People are losing the insurance and doctors they’ve been told they can keep; they’re seeing premiums, co-pays, and deductibles skyrocket, and their hours at work are being cut, if they don’t lose their jobs altogether. And the vast majority of these people are voters. Voters who are getting angry and who are going to get angrier. And angry voters tend to vent their rage at the ballot box.

Republicans have nothing to worry about; they can honestly tell voters that not a single one of them voted for this fiasco. Democratic senators, on the other hand (as well as most of the remaining Democrat caucus in the House), mostly if not wholly voted for Obamacare. And soon they will have to go before the electorate and explain how they not only voted for this monster in the first place, but let something so bad get passed that they now have to beg for it not to be enforced.

And the Republicans can stand there and honestly say “We’ve been trying to tell you. Now vote for us, please, so we can make it all go away.”

The political implications of this are wild. For starters, Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and all the rest of the (Social) Democrats will have to explain why they so bitterly opposed a delay in the mandate originally proposed by the Republicans that they allowed the government to be shut down and the credit rating of the United States to be threatened… Only to have to ask for a delay of their own, three weeks later. For Obama in particular, well, this program has his name on it. Will he be willing to eat the humiliation to save his Senate majority? Or will he resist any delay and potentially sacrifice vulnerable Democrats on the altar of his own ego? We know he’s a narcissist, but how big a one is he?

But then there are implications for Obamacare, itself. The individual mandate is absolutely essential, if this program is to have any chance at all of being viable. They need young, healthy people to pay more than they should for insurance in order to pay for the care of the elderly and those with chronic conditions. Hence the legal mandate to purchase insurance or pay a penalty, tax, whatever Justice Roberts calls it this week. Absent that mandate, with ongoing failure of the online exchanges, and given that Obamacare guarantees coverage, the economics of the Affordable Care Act turn toxic.

The administration estimates that it needs 2.7 million young healthy people on the exchange, out of the 7 million total expected to apply in the first year. If the pool is too skewed — if it’s mostly old and sick people on the exchanges — then insurers will lose money, and next year, they’ll sharply increase premiums. The healthiest people will drop out, because insurance is no longer such a good deal for them. Rinse and repeat and you have effectively destroyed the market for individual insurance policies. It’s called the “death spiral,” and the exchanges, like the mandate, were designed to keep it from happening.

Without the exchanges, the death spiral seems almost assured. The amount of work required to find a policy, figure out your subsidy, buy coverage and file the paperwork will be very high. And it’s unlikely that folks who can’t even be bothered to go to ehealthinsurance.com right now will do it. The Affordable Care Act made the task of signing up young healthy people on the exchanges even harder with its much-loved requirement that companies allow kids to stay on their parents’ policies until they’re 26, which took millions of potential buyers out of the pool. The ones who are left are going to be disproportionately poorer and less well educated than the middle-class offspring who can get cheap insurance through mom and dad. There’s a reason that virtually every person you’ve seen written up in an article as they tried to get insurance at a community center or clinic is some combination of over 55, retired or afflicted with a serious chronic condition.

And without the exchanges and the individual mandate, we go from “almost assured” to a guaranteed death spiral. Companies will leave the health insurance market altogether to escape the guaranteed coverage clauses, leaving million without the insurance they used to like… and wondering whom to blame. (1)

Now you see why Senator Shaheen and company are hitting that panic button. But for her and them, I have no sympathy.

Footnote:
(1) I used to think that this was all part of a plan to get people to beg for a “better solution,” which would turn out to be the Left’s dream: state-run single-payer health insurance. And maybe the hard left still thinks it will work out that way. But now I’m not so sure about the rest: no one could design a system so self-evidently bad, so harmful to the nation and to their own political futures that they could expect to profit from it. Could they?

LINKS: My blog-buddy ST beat me to the news and calls for popcorn.

UPDATE: And just like that, I’m proven right.

UPDATE 2: On the other hand, maybe not just yet.


Don’t forget Obamacare’s electronic medical records wreck

October 23, 2013

You think the enrollment problems with the Obamacare web site are bad, just wait until they start handling patient records.


#Obamacare fiasco: in which Kathleen Sebelius stars in “Liar, Liar”

October 23, 2013
"Liar"

“Liar”

The Obamacare rollout has been such a PR disaster for the administration (and a real disaster for real Americans), the administration has been forced to deploy its sure-fire, can’t miss defense — the President didn’t know:

President Barack Obama didn’t know of problems with the Affordable Care Act’s website — despite insurance companies’ complaints and the site’s crashing during a test run — until after its now well-documented abysmal launch, the nation’s health chief told CNN on Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked when the President first learned about the considerable issues with the Obamacare website. Sebelius responded that it was in “the first couple of days” after the site went live October 1.

“But not before that?” Gupta followed up.

To which Sebelius replied, “No, sir.

And it would have worked, too, except for that darned Inspector General:

But the inspector general for HHS issued a report (PDF) at the beginning of August noting that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services missed multiple deadlines for testing and reporting data security risks in connection with signing up on the healthcare exchanges as they barreled toward the launch date.

“Several critical tasks remain to be completed in a short period of time, such as the final independent testing of the Hub’s security controls, remediating security vulnerabilities identified during testing, and obtaining the security authorization decision for the Hub before opening the exchanges,” said the report from Deputy Inspector General for Audit Services Gloria L. Jarmon to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and Chief Information Officer Tony Trenkle.

…and…

This Aug. 2 report was hardly a secret confined to HHS. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) used the report to call on the administration to not force people onto healthcare exchanges when the government was missing testing deadlines and benchmarks on the security of personal and financial data.

But now the administration, through its meat-puppet Kathleen Sebelius, would have us believe that President Obama didn’t know about the problems with healthcare.gov. Just like he didn’t know about the security weaknesses at Benghazi, or the harassment of Americans exercising their First Amendment rights by the IRS, or the rifling through the phone records of the AP, or the surveillance of FOX reporter James Rosen. He just heard about it on the news. Like Eric Holder in the Fast and Furious scandal, Obama’s excuse is that he isn’t culpable because he was ignorant.

It’s the “Being There” presidency, and Obama is “Chauncey Gardiner!”

Liars.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What happens when you see American power as a problem?

October 22, 2013
"You're not welcome."

This is a problem?

Simple: You do whatever you can to make sure it won’t be a problem much longer.

While the president of the United States pitched his crumbling healthcare program like a late-night infomercial barker, the Army’s chief of staff made a shocking admission about national defense.

Gen. Ray Odierno told a Washington conference Monday that the U.S. Army had not conducted any training in the last six months of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

And, he said, there currently are only two Army brigades rated combat-ready. That’s a total of between 7,000 to 10,000 troops and less than one-third what the combat veteran regards as necessary for proper national security.

“Right now,” Odierno said, “we have in the Army two brigades that are trained. That’s it. Two.”

Odierno also revealed that troops shipping out to Afghanistan now are prepared only to train and assist Afghan troops, not to conduct combat operations themselves. But, of course, there’s no guarantee the Americans won’t find themselves in combat while accompanying Afghan soldiers.

All this to obey Obama administration orders to drastically cut the Army and military spending and meet cuts under sequestration. Since the Obama Pentagon began the troop draw-down two years ago under the president’s orders, more than 33,000 active duty soldiers have been cut.

Current plans call for additional reductions of 42,000 soldiers in the next 23 months to a total of 490,000, down from 570,000. Those cuts have been accelerated by two years under Pentagon orders and will involve involuntary separations of thousands.

Read the rest for Andrew’s take on what looks like a purge of the generals. Funny how it’s only the military that’s being held accountable…

There was a time, from FDR through LBJ, when American liberals saw American power as a good thing for the world. No more. Since the takeover of the Democratic Party by the New Left, beginning in the 1960s, progressives and their allies to their Left have seen American power as a source of the world’s problems, not a cure or a preventative. For the new liberal internationalists, decline is a choice.

We’re now seeing the results of that choice, and the world is being made more dangerous because of it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obamacare site crumbled like a wet cookie in “stress” tests…

October 22, 2013
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

And yet they let the godforsaken thing go live, anyway:

Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health ­insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.

Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.

When the Web site went live Oct. 1, it locked up shortly after midnight as about 2,000 users attempted to complete the first step, according to two people familiar with the project.

Let’s not forget, these are the same people who think they can manage healthcare for a nation of 330,000,000 people with very diverse needs, and yet these hubristic morons couldn’t build a system over three years that could handle the population of even Sierra County, California. Though I suppose this shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, since we already knew that the site had received only 4-6 days of testing.

More from the Post article:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency in charge of running the health insurance exchange in 36 states, invited about 10 insurers to give advice and help test the Web site.

About a month before the exchange opened, this testing group urged agency officials not to launch it nationwide because it was still riddled with problems, according to an insurance IT executive who was close to the rollout.

“We discussed . . . is there a way to do a pilot — by state, by geographic region?” the executive said.

It was clear at the time, the executive said, that the CMS was still dealing with the way the exchange handled enrollment, federal subsidies and the security of consumers’ personal information, such as income.

One key problem, according to a person close to the project, was that the agency assumed the role of managing the 55 contractors involved and had not ensured that all the pieces were working together.

Some key testing of the system did not take place until the week before launch, according to this person. As late as Sept. 26, there had been no tests to determine whether a consumer could complete the process from beginning to end: create an account, determine eligibility for federal subsidies and sign up for a health insurance plan, according to two sources familiar with the project.

President Sham-Wow held a press conference patent medicine show yesterday at which, when not dealing with a fainting pregnant woman, he declared that no one was “madder than me” about the problems with the Obamacare rollout. So he also announced several firings, right?

Would you like that bridge gift-wrapped?

Remember, this is only the front end, the sales showroom for Obamacare. Just imagine what’s in store for us when they start handling sensitive patient data and managing treatment.

Don’t faint.

RELATED: Jim Geraghty thinks the private insurance death spiral is looking increasingly inevitable. For Obamacare, that’s a feature, not a bug. UnitedHealthCare in Connecticut has removed thousands of doctors from its network. Remember, Obama said if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  He’s a funny guy. The mind-boggling incompetence of Obamacare. Finally, a must-read: Charles Cooke on “Obamacare Snake Oil. If we had an honest press, instead of a courtier media, they’d be throwing this in The One’s face.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)