Greetings from Obamaland…Oops, I Mean Greece

March 29, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

It’s easy to mistake the two; Obama has us well down the same road.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

As much as I condemn American politicians for bad policy, things could be worse.

We could be Greek citizens, which would be very depressing. Indeed, you’ll understand why I put Obamaland in the title after you read today’s column.

Simply stated, Greece is a cesspool of statism. The people seem to be wonderful (at least outside of polling booths), but government intervention is pervasive and atrocious.

Here’s an example. As I was coming in a taxi from the airport to the city yesterday, we passed some sort of protest. There were a couple of hundred people at the rally and probably about 50 riot cops.

I naturally wondered about the situation, expecting that it was radical statists or some of the crazies from Golden Dawn. But the cab driver explained that it was pharmacists.

So why are pharmacists protesting? I found out from some of the locals at…

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(Video) Jonah Goldberg on the real meaning of “social justice”

March 25, 2014
Justice is individual, not social

Justice is individual, not social

“Social justice” is one of those phrases the left loves: stripped of all precision, it means whatever progressives want it to mean — raising the minimum wage, economic redistribution, “rights” for this or that group, etc. It forms a hot mess of unrelated issues, until you see he common thread behind it: “social justice” means doing whatever progressives think is good, and this good is accomplished through the State, with progressives in charge. And, if you disagree, you must be a racist, fascist, misogynistic, reactionary, greedy capitalistic homophobe. (Did I miss anything?)

Anyway, the invaluable Prager University has published a new video that features Jonah Goldberg explaining the real meaning of “social justice:”

Try some of these arguments on liberals you know. Then have fun watching their heads explode.

(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)


Whether You Call it Socialism, Statism, Fascism, or Corporatism, Big Government Is Evil and Destructive

March 15, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

In one sense, it’s just arguing over terms, but I do think proper nomenclature is important to understanding. But Mitchell has a point that “Socialism” and “Fascism” are too emotionally charged and may instead impede understanding. “Statism” is a good, neutral noun to use in their place, though I also like Goldberg’s (from H.G. Wells) “Liberal Fascism.”

Originally posted on International Liberty:

Regular readers may have noticed that I generally say that advocates of big government are “statists.”

I could call them “liberals,” but I don’t like that using that term since the early advocates of economic and personal liberty were “classical liberals” such as Adam Smith, John Locke, and Jean-Baptiste Say. And proponents of these ideas are still called “liberals” in Europe and Australia.

I could call them “socialists,” but I don’t think that’s technically accurate since the theory is based on government ownership of the means of production. This is why I’ve been in the strange position of defending Obama when some folks have used the S word to describe him.

I could call them “fascists,” which Thomas Sowell explains is the most accurate way of describing the modern left’s economic ideology, but that term also implies racism. But while leftists sometimes support policies that hurt minorities

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The War on Poverty Has Made a Difference…but the Wrong Kind

March 2, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

The Left likes to talk about ending the “war on drugs,” and may well have a valid point. I just wish they’d also be open to ending the “war on poverty,” which has done nothing but trap people in poverty. Have a look at the original post for a chart that shows what might have happened with poverty in America, if government hadn’t become involved.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

On several occasions, I’ve observed that the poverty rate in America was steadily falling , but that progress came to a halt in the mid-1960s when the government declared a War on Poverty.

And I almost always included a chart showing the annual poverty rate over several decades.

Moreover, I posted graphs showing how government programs trap people in dependency because of very high implicit marginal tax rates. And that’s true in other nations as well.

But it didn’t matter how many times I revisited this issue, I was never clever enough to look at the poverty-rate data to estimate what would have happened if the federal government hadn’t become involved.

Fortunately, John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis was insightful enough to fill the breach. He shows that the War on Poverty has made a big difference. But in the wrong way.

Poverty Goodman

Here’s some of what John…

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A “Human Right” to Other People’s Money

January 29, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Your money. It’s my right.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

One of the many differences between advocates of freedom and supporters of statism is how they view “rights.”

Libertarians, along with many conservatives, believe in the right to be left alone and to not be molested by government. This is sometimes referred to in the literature as “negative liberty,” which is just another way of saying “the absence of coercive constraint on the individual.”

Statists, by contrast, believe in “positive liberty.” This means that you have a “right” to things that the government will give you (as explained here by America’s second-worst President). Which means, of course, that the government has an obligation to take things from somebody else. How else, after all, will the government satisfy your supposed right to a job, education, healthcare, housing, etc.

Sometimes, the statists become very creative in their definition of rights.

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Introducing the 2013 Federal Register: Last year’s 80,000 pages worth of **job-creating rules & regs

January 12, 2014

Only 80,000 pages. The government must be slacking…


#Obamacare Follies: Calorie info on all vending machines

January 3, 2014
"Does Nanny approve?"

“Does Nanny approve?”

Nancy Pelosi once said we’d have to pass the ACA bill in order to find out what’s in it. The latest escapee from Pandora’s box? Vending machine operators across the nation now must display calorie information for every item stocked on each and every machine.

That’s about five million machines, btw:

The rules will apply to about 10,800 companies that operate 20 or more machines. Nearly three quarters of those companies have three or fewer employees, and their profit margin is extremely low, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association. An initial investment of $2,400 plus $2,200 in annual costs is a lot of money for a small company that only clears a few thousand dollars a year, said Eric Dell, the group’s vice president for government affairs.

“The money that would be spent to comply with this — there’s no return on the investment,” he said.

“Return on investment?” Don’t you know the State has a higher purpose in mind than your grubby profits, you capitalist-roader kulak? Prepare for liquidation!!

(Ahem.)

Carol Brennan, who owns Brennan Food Vending Services in Londonderry, said she doesn’t yet know how she will handle the regulations, but she doesn’t like them. She has five employees servicing hundreds of machines and says she’ll be forced to limit the items offered so her employees don’t spend too much time updating the calorie counts.

“It is outrageous for us to have to do this on all our equipment,” she said.

Brennan also doubts that consumers will benefit from the calorie information.

“How many people have not read a label on a candy bar?” she said. “If you’re concerned about it, you’ve already read it for years.”

But Kim Gould, 58, of Seattle, said he doesn’t read the labels even after his choice pops out of a vending machine, so having access to that information wouldn’t change what he buys.

That last line is the key, in my mind. I’ve learned from the Real World Job that most people will ignore signs, especially if it’s providing information they already know, such as “that pack of sugared donuts probably isn’t good for you, even if you are drinking a diet soda.” If they’re interested in the information, it’s already printed on the product. If they’re not, adding another warning label for them to ignore when they’re hungry isn’t going to change much at all, certainly not enough to justify the non-productive compliance costs. (If I have to sink more money into obeying regulations, then I have less to hire more people if my business does well. Economics, progressives. You should try learning it sometime.)

But shouldn’t all this be the individual’s business,  in any event? We know roughly which foods are good for us and which aren’t, and that too much of almost anything is bad. But if I choose to have that Three Musketeers bar, I don’t need the government hanging over me like a nag and a scold, and I don’t need them forcing vendors to raise prices to compensate for the government’s useless, onerous rules. This is another example of the infantilization of the citizen through the cancerous growth of the State, as it claims jurisdiction over anything even remotely tied to health.

A recent survey showed a record number of Americans — 72%! –feel government is a bigger threat to the United States than Big Business or Big Labor.

And it’s finding out just what’s in the ACA that’s convincing them.

via Jim Geraghty (Be sure to read the rest — it’s an eye-opener.)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Heh: Obamacare advocate Richard Blumenthal says UPS should refund customers for late deliveries

December 28, 2013

Dickie Blumenthal also lied about his “service” in Vietnam. Glad to know that such an honorable man of unquestioned probity is willing to go after a private company for errors in service. And speaking of “service,” Senator…


(Video) The 12 Banned Items of Christmas

December 26, 2013
I said, no fun allowed!

No guacamole on the flight!

So, okay, it’s now the day after Christmas, but there’s still a lot of traveling going on, so ReasonTV has created this video guide to those things the TSA will and will not let you take along on a flight.

(Slightly R-rated)

There, that clears things up, doesn’t it? And it’s so nice to know the TSA has thought this list through so carefully.

Happy flying!


To Deal with the Problem of Incompetent Government, David Brooks Wants to…Make the Executive Branch More Powerful?!?

December 15, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

Patient says to his doctor, “Doc, it hurts when I do this!” Doc replies, ” Well, stop doing that!” Brooks obviously didn’t listen to the doctor.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I sometimes get irked when I read columns by David Brooks. He’s sort of the token Republican at the New York Times, so he has a very important perch that could be used to educate an important audience about the harmful impact of excessive government.

And Brooks often does a good job of highlighting important and worrisome social trends, but what rubs me the wrong way is that he frequently thinks the right answer is to give government even more power.

He wrote a column back in 2011, for instance, that nailed the problem of growing dependency and declining workforce participation. But then he proposed more government intervention.

And he correctly worried about the social costs of family instability in 2012, but then bizarrely decided that the right response was subsidies to make men more marriageable.

So it won’t come as much of a surprise that I’m perplexed…

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It’s not just #Obamacare that’s a flaming wreck

December 2, 2013
x

Obama Green Tech adviser at work

Remember all the public money “invested” in supposedly Green electric vehicles of the future? Seems like a fair portion of it has gone up in smoke. National Review has a brief summary of electric vehicles that have caught fire. Here’s one:

2. A parked Chevy Volt combusts.
In 2011, Bloomberg reported that a Chevy Volt in Wisconsin had ignited. Ironically, the car was parked outside a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration testing center where it had undergone tests three weeks earlier. The blaze was big enough to burn other nearby vehicles, according to reports.

If electric vehicles do ever catch on –as opposed to catch fire– it will be when there is a genuine economic demand for them, not a government mandate.


#Obamacare, socializing doctors, and Reagan’s warning

November 4, 2013
"Perceptive"

“Perceptive”

Via Steven Hayward, consider this a follow-up to the Virginia Democrat’s suggestion that doctors be compelled by law to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients:

Today, the relationship between patient and doctor in this country is something to be envied any place. The privacy, the care that is given to a person, the right to chose a doctor, the right to go from one doctor to the other.

But let’s also look from the other side, at the freedom the doctor loses. A doctor would be reluctant to say this. Well, like you, I am only a patient, so I can say it in his behalf. The doctor begins to lose freedoms; it’s like telling a lie, and one leads to another. First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then the doctors aren’t equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him you can’t live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.

Or forcing him to take patients at the State’s direction.

The Left regularly attacked Reagan as a dummy, an “amiable dunce.” But, in this quote, as in so many other cases, he was actually a lot smarter than his critics.


#Obamacare: VA Democrat calls for making physicians serfs of the State

November 3, 2013
"A Democrat directs his serfs"

“A Democrat directs his serfs”

What was it I was saying yesterday about ownership of one’s own time and labor being essential to a free man or woman? Oh, yeah:

Nothing you pay money for is an inherent, natural right. To declare health care a “right” everyone is entitled to, you have to take from someone else, if need be by force, their property, whether it is their time and labor, or the products they produce. Force them to sell something for less than what it is worth or to provide it “free,” and you are effectively stealing from them, even enslaving them. For the government to demand that taxpayers pay far more than they need to for insurance in order to subsidize your medical procedures is no different than a medieval lord taking a farmer’s grain crop and giving it to his favorites.

And as if to illustrate that last point, along comes Virginia House of Delegates candidate Kathleen Murphy, a Democrat, who advocates making it a law that physicians must accept Medicare and Medicaid patients:

FYI last night at the Great Falls Grange debate, Democrat delegate candidate Kathleen Murphy said that since many doctors are not accepting medicaid and medicare patients, she advocates making it a legal requirement for those people to be accepted.

She did not recognize that the payments are inadequate to cover the doctors’ costs. She also did not recognize there is a shortage of over 45,000 physicians now and that it is forecast to be 90,000 in a few years.

Democrats appear to want to make physicians slaves of the state, but Democrats don’t admit they would just drive more doctors out of practice into retirement and other occupations. The Obamacare law and regulations are causing millions of people to lose their health insurance, drop many doctors and hospitals. The HHS internal forecast is 93 million Americans would lose their health insurance due to the Obamacare law and rules about adequacy of insurance.

It’s like the old joke in which the patient complains to the doctor that “it hurts whenever I do this,” and the doctor replies “then stop doing that!”

Progressives have created a deadly problem through government interference in the economy: their “Affordable Care Act” requires millions of individuals to buy policies and pay inflated prices for coverage they don’t need, in order to cover the costs of, among others, Medicare and Medicaid patients. But, as has been mentioned in several places, far more Medicaid “takers” are signing up than relatively well-off “payers,” threatening the viability of Obamacare, itself.

Compounding this is the doctor shortage “Mason Conservative’s” correspondent mentioned above: not just from doctors leaving the field rather than deal with Obamacare, but fewer and fewer accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients. Already reimbursed at an artificially low rate by the government for their services, many are refusing to take on more such patients –or any at all– as Obamacare signs up thousands more.

A rational person would look at the problem and recognize its causes: top-down government intervention in the healthcare market. That same rational person would then realize that the “hair of the dog” is not the solution; that, in fact, ending the disruptive government intervention is what’s called for.

But, we’re not dealing with rational people. We’re dealing with progressive Democrats, convinced against all evidence that an economy and society managed by technocratic government “experts” is best, let alone possible. It’s their central delusion and it is absolutely crucial to their political belief system.

Hence Ms. Murphy’s suggestion that doctors become servants of the State. It isn’t possible that government created this problem, it’s just some recalcitrant doctors. Or, if government did create a problem, it’s only a “glitch,” to be fixed by more, you guessed it, government intervention, even if that means taking by force of law the time and labor (the property!) of the doctors.

After all, it’s for the public good, and only government knows what’s truly good for the public.

PS: Though it is kind of fitting for the party that defended slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation, no?

RELATED: Legal Insurrection calls it the “revolt of the kulaks.”

UPDATE 12/02/2013: My blog-buddy Sister Toldjah posted an article today with more on Medicaid, Obamacare, and the doctor shortage.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Obamacare chronicles: Building the moocher class, subsidy by subsidy

October 14, 2013
"Turn right for Obamacare"

“Turn right for Obamacare”

I’ve talked before about the perverse incentives built into Obamacare (Browse this category for more examples), but those have been largely about the incentives provided to businesses to cut hours and stop hiring full-time workers thanks to the onerous burdens imposed by the ACA. But now we have an example from the other end, that of the victim consumer of Obamacare.

The San Francisco Chronicle looks at the situation of people caught in a trap by Obamacare: On the one hand, the coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act, along with its ban on lifetime benefits caps, has caused a tremendous rise in insurance rates. (For example. And again.) On  the other hand, people making up to 400% of the poverty level are eligible for varying degrees of subsidies — money provided by our taxes and federal borrowing.

The problem is that some people are caught on the wrong side of the subsidy boundary: if you make 401% of the poverty level, your rates may triple, you may be forced to buy coverage you don’t need, but you also get no subsidy. Like they used to say on Starkist commercials, “Sorry, Charlie!”

But, hey, no worries! The Chron’s Kathleen Pender has the solution for you: earn less, so you can get a larger subsidy. Her main example deals with the Proctors, a San Francisco couple in their 60s who make just above the 400% mark and so do not qualify for subsidies, but are suffering huge increases in their insurance premiums. Pender covers tax and IRA strategies the couple can follow to get them under the magic boundary and greatly reduce their direct insurance costs. But the kicker comes in this line:

You can also consider reducing your 2014 income by working just a bit less.

Yes, you read that right: Obamacare makes the cost of individual policies so high that it is in the economic interests of some people to become less productive and earn less, because they need that government subsidy to survive economically — or to survive at all.

This is what economist Dan Mitchell has described as the “poverty trap.” While the quote below talks about welfare benefits and the disincentives they create to earn more and be more productive, I think it applies equally to the Obamacare subsidy question:

Most people focus on the huge burden that the food stamp program imposes on taxpayers, which surely is significant, but there is another economic cost that is equally worrisome, and it applies to all income redistribution programs. Whenever the government gives people money simply because their incomes are below a certain level, that creates a poverty trap. More specifically, because people lose benefits for earning more income, they are penalized with very onerous implicit marginal tax rates for climbing the economic ladder.

I highlighted that last sentence because it illustrates perfectly the situation faced by the Proctors and others; if you substitute “insurance premiums” for “marginal tax rates,” you’ll see what I mean. And, heck, let’s call those insurance premiums what they are: a tax. You’re required under penalty of law to pay them, even if the money goes to a company, rather than the government. For you and me, there’s no effective difference.

(And you should read and bookmark Mitchell’s post. He has another that contains a chart that graphically shows how welfare traps people in poverty.)

Pender’s article, in short, reveals the insidious heart of Obamacare: it creates incentives for people to become moochers, infantilized wards dependent on the government, rather than productive, self-reliant citizens building wealth for themselves and others.

And, in my darker moments, I suspect that’s the whole point.

PS: Before anyone goes after me for mentioning the Proctors, I’m not blaming or criticizing them. It’s the Democrats and their anti-constitutional monstrosity that put them in this bind. They’re free to act in their own best interests given the circumstances in which they find themselves, and I’ll not throw stones. It’s the people who created this mess who deserve the brickbats.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obamacare’s doctored coverage: destroying the private insurance market

October 8, 2013
"Quack medicine"

“Quack medicine”

I linked this in my last post, but it really deserves top-level billing of its own as a picture-perfect example of how Obamacare harms, not helps, the middle classes.

Redondo Beach resident Steve Duschene has bought his own insurance on the individual market for several years now and has had to deal with the problems of rising costs, often by cutting back on coverage he’d otherwise like to keep. So, he decided to try buying a policy on Covered California, our state exchange.

What he found was, to say the least, upsetting:

I have visited the state exchange, CoveredCA.com, and what I found is not encouraging. In fact, it’s frightening, with few policy choices, higher monthly premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs.

(…)

Relieved to see Anthem, which has provided my family’s health insurance policies for nearly 10 years, I was stunned by the $900 monthly premium, not to mention higher out-of pocket costs. Like our current plan, Anthem’s Obamacare policy would cover three doctor visits per person per year, but with a 35 percent increase in the monthly premium.

The sticker shock did not end at the premium. Our doctor office co-payment would double from $30 under our current policy to $60 under the Obamacare policy, and in the event of a trip to an emergency room, our co-pay would triple from $100 to $300. Our current policy includes no co-pay for an urgent care visit; Obamacare would hit us for a co-pay of $120.

Duschene then notes the dilemma of the individual policy buyer:

Under Obamacare, however, there appears to be no alternative to significantly higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. If we want insurance, we will have no choice but to shop through the exchange.

But he’s also careful to note  the alternative, which is to not carry insurance, but buy it only at need, knowing that one cannot be refused. He correctly calls this, as I have in other posts on other facets of Obamacare, a “perverse incentive.” And his closing reveals that this isn’t a bug, but a feature:

Back in January, the Anthem representative could not predict Obamacare prices, but now we know. And the more we learn about the Affordable Care Act, the less affordable it becomes. It’s open season on individual health insurance consumers.

Per Congresswoman “Red” Jan Schakowski and President Barack Obama, that’s the whole point: the destruction of the private insurance market.

You can bet there are a lot more stories like Steve Duschene’s. It’s in the plan.

via Stuart Stevens

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Even Scandinavian Welfare States Realize Too Much Dependency and Too Many Handouts Are Destructive

September 1, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

Whoever though Denmark and Sweden would be less statist than us? We have some catching up to do.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

We’re making a tiny bit of progress in the battle against the welfare state. No, policy hasn’t changed yet, but at least there’s growing recognition that maybe, just maybe, it’s not a good idea to pay people not to work. Particularly when you trap them in lives of dependency and despair and undermine progress in the fight against poverty.

This chart shows that various handouts discourage low-income people from earning more money, and a recent blockbuster study from a couple of my colleagues at the Cato Institute revealed that welfare pays more than entry-level employment in dozens of states.

And a growing number of people are now aware that there’s been an explosion of food stamp dependency, so one hopes that all this knowledge eventually will translate into a new round of welfare reform.

Why am I optimistic? Well, because awareness already is leading to change in some…

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The Obamacare Chronicles: Delta Airlines to take a $100,000,000 hit

August 23, 2013

"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

And it’s not like the airline industry is doing all that well, as it is. But, gee, what’s another hundred million or among friends?

Delta Air Lines has issued an urgent warning about the impact of ObamaCare, claiming the law’s implementation will contribute to a roughly $100 million increase in health care costs next year alone.

The astonishing figure was included in a letter from Delta executive Robert Kight to officials in the Obama administration. The website RedState.com was the first to obtain and publish the letter earlier this week.

(…)

In the original letter, Kight disputes the notion that the law — the biggest parts of which take effect at the start of 2014 — will mean “business as usual” for big employers. A combination of factors, he claimed, will “mean that the cost of providing health care to our employees will increase by nearly $100,000,000 next year.”

Part of that is normal medical inflation and the phase-out of an assistance program tied to the health care law. But a large chunk of it, the exec claimed, comes from various fees and costs associated with the implementation of the health care law.

One of the costly items pertains to an annual fee of $63 per “covered participant” next year. The company estimates this means a more than $10 million expense in 2014. The catch for Delta is that, because many of their employees insure through Delta, the fee meant to help subsidize the health care law’s coverage amounts to a “direct subsidy” from the company that provides “zero direct benefit to our participants,” Kight said.

Another added cost comes from the requirement to cover children and young adults on parents’ plans until they’re 26 years old. Kight reports that the change led to 8,000 more people being added to their rolls, at an annual cost of $14 million.

There’s more; be sure to read it all.

Delta claims it will absorb the costs the “vast majority” of those new costs, but…. come on. Leaving the exact meaning of “vast majority” aside (95%? 75%? 51%??) and ignoring for a moment that the rest will have to be picked up by employees who may already be stretched (and losing their spousal coverage), airlines operate on paper-thin margins; there will be tremendous pressure to recoup these costs. And that means passing them along to the consumer in the form of higher tickets prices and more fees for anything the airline can think of.

Thus not only does Obamacare not make health care more affordable, but it’s almost certain to make airline travel more expensive, too. This is almost a case-study of what happens when government tries to control an economy: the inputs and ramifications are too complex for a few “deciders” to understand, and so we end up with one disastrous unintended consequence after another.

There’s no “fixing it,” regardless of what the Democrats and the Left (but I repeat myself) will try to say in 2014 and 2016. It has to be torn out, root and branch. And if anyone says that’s impossible because there are no alternatives, tell them they lie.

Aren’t you glad the Democrats passed that anti-constitutional monstrosity, just so we could find out what’s in it?

via ST

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Harry Reid admits: Obamacare is a stepping-stone to single-payer health care

August 11, 2013

My blog-buddy ST has a great post on the Nevada Senator’s admission of what many of us have known all along: that Obamacare is meant to pave the way for a complete nationalization of the US health care system.

From the Las Vegas Sun:

In just about seven weeks, people will be able to start buying Obamacare-approved insurance plans through the new health care exchanges.

But already, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is predicting those plans, and the whole system of distributing them, will eventually be moot.

Reid said he thinks the country has to “work our way past” insurance-based health care during a Friday night appearance on Vegas PBS’ program “Nevada Week in Review.”

“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.

When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”

None of this is new to long-term readers of this blog (all three of you). The dominant progressive wing of the (Social) Democratic Party see this as a win-win situation: either the Affordable Care Act works well enough for people to accept it, in which case the Democrats can gradually massage it into something wholly state-run, or it will have so many problems that the public will demand it be fixed. In this event, so the theory goes, the public, being already dependent on some aspects of Obamacare, will be open to a Socialist (government-run, single payer) solution. It’s the idea of the non-reforming reform: changes supposedly meant to make things better, but are really intended to cause a crisis in the system that the Left can exploit to pursue their real goal.

And Harry Reid just admitted it.

Be sure to read the rest of ST’s post, wherein she cites several (Social) Democrats saying the same thing. Good thing they had the media on their side, hiding this from the public.

RELATED: Apologists for Obamacare prefer to ignore the horror stories coming out of Great Britain’s NHS (much admired by single-payer advocate Donald Berwick) and point instead to Canada, which has a strictly single-payer system. They might want to read this article from City Journal. Admittedly now a few years old, it describes the major problems Canada’s system faces, including rationing and a lack of innovation. Even a Canadian provincial premier sought care in the US, outside his own country’s vaunted single payer system


Democrat congressman accidentally honest with public

August 4, 2013
"Shakedown"

“Shakedown”

I’m sure Rep. Ellison will get an earful from Minority Leader Pelosi for giving the game away:

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) told a gathering of Democrats, “The bottom line is we’re not broke, there’s plenty of money, it’s just the government doesn’t have it.”

So, there you have it. It’s not your money; it’s Washington’s to redistribute as it sees fit. Like Obama. Ellison thinks the government has first call on your money. Unlike Obama, he wants it all. The President, at least, only wants your excess income.

“Excess” as defined by the government, of course.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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