Tag Archives: ACA

If you’re planning a journey into the health insurance exchanges . . .

. . . you might benefit from visiting  Health Sherpa, given the Looking-Glass world of health insurance at present. Since I don’t need insurance, I didn’t go deeply in, but it looks like a very very useful tool.

They describe themselves thusly:

The Health Sherpa is a free guide that makes it easier to find and sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We only use carefully vetted, publicly available data.

The Health Sherpa is not affiliated with any lobby, trade group or government agency and has no political agenda.

 

Why Medicare works and Obamacare might not

Picked this up at Andrew Sullivan’s site. More at the link.

Mike Konczal blames Obamacare’s technical problems on the law’s design. He contrasts Obamacare’s form of social insurance, which he labels “Category A,” with previous forms of social insurance, such as Medicare and Social Security, which he labels “Category B”

http://sullydish.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/social_insurance_category.png

Did we take a giant step forward, and then two . . . (you know the rest)

The whole story of the ACA roll out is yet to be reported in depth, but this morning in his Wonkbook email, Ezra Klein provides a credible – and disturbing – overview of what led up to the massive failure of the web portal. There’s a lot more at his Wonkblog at the Washington Post.

The best news for Obamacare is that almost everyone — including the Obama administration — realizes the crucial online portal is currently a disaster. . . Actually, that’s been the problem: President Obama didn’t know that. Nor did White House chief of staff Denis McDonough. Nor did Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who will be testifying to that fact next week.

It would be one thing if Obamacare’s problems had been unknowable. But they weren’t. Staff at HHS and CMS saw this coming for months. Insurance companies began predicting a mess long ago. But the bad news was shaded and spun as it made its way up the chain of command. The alarming failures seen in the (inadequate) load tests were written off as bugs that would soon be fixed.

As Lena Sun and Scott Wilson reported, “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.”But staff was terrified to speak on the record, or even on background. Some of the concerns slipped out, like in this Wall Street Journal story. . . . As Jonathan Cohn writes, “the management failures here were real and took place on multiple levels.”

Obamacare has a chance because those management failures are over. The White House now has a brutal clarity about the depth and extent of the system’s problems.

. . . Managers up and down the chain realize their careers are in jeopardy if they deliver sunny reports that prove false.. .For all that, no one actually knows whether the system will be fixed in the next few weeks — the crucial window, experts think, before the problems begin to degrade the risk pool and raise premiums.

So far, there’s been huge improvements in the number of Americans able to get into the site and create accounts, but insurers aren’t reporting much improvement . . .

The White House is optimistic that the problems will be solved in time. . .  If there’s a reason to believe them, it’s that they’ve learned how dangerous unfounded optimism is.

Did Obama really hand this off and assume it would be okay? Or did he ride HHS for progress updates but never insist on hearing the downside reports? Did Sebelius do the same thing?

Will the very same Administration that succeeded in taking took us a step closer to the century long  battle for universal health care also be the Administration responsible for its failure?

I think it’s a fair question.

Priorities people, priorities!

According to The Wall Street Journal, developing the health insurance exchange site so far . . .

. . .  has cost at least $360 million, and possibly as much as $600 million.

Then there’s the F-22. Developing that baby cost a mere $42 billion and while the planes themselves are a steal at only $150 million per, it was nine years before a single production model was delivered to the Air Force.  Wikipedia:

During the development process the aircraft continued to gain weight at the cost of range and aerodynamic performance, even as capabilities were deleted or delayed in the name of affordability

F-22 production was split up over many subcontractors across 46 states, in a strategy to increase Congressional support for the program.[29][30] However the production split, along with the implementation of several new technologies were likely responsible for increased costs and delays.[31] Many capabilities were deferred to post-service upgrades, reducing the initial cost but increasing total project cost.[32]Each aircraft required “1,000 subcontractors and suppliers and 95,000 workers” to build.[33] The F-22 was in production for 15 years, at a rate of roughly two per month.[34]

Now that’s some bureaucracy there! It’s really a marvel the thing flies.

Liberal media provides cover for Obama

Just as the right wing noise machine always says, that liberal media will spin every which way to make their guy look good. Like with this screaming front page at Huff Post right now:

obamacare

 

Of course, I will allow as they aren’t calling for impeachment, so there’s that.

Sorry Kathleen, your day must come to an end

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/Kathleen_Sebelius_official_portrait.jpgShe really needs to step down. Soon.

Someone must pay the political price; it’s the distasteful way of the world.

So just get it over with.

Anxiously awaiting an explanation . . .

. . . for that ACA website clusterf*ck. Official statements aren’t of much use yet, although I expect there will be hearings down the road.

I’m deeply curious about what went into the thinking, and then what went on behind the scenes with the legions of technocrats who built the site. They’re the ones who usually get it right and this time they got it so so wrong.

Most puzzling and bizarre – why does the site block users from browsing unless they register an account? Have the designers never visited a retail website? Shopping comes first, establish an account comes second, sign up (or add to your cart as we know it) is penultimate and finally it’s time to pay up and the transaction is done.

A puzzlement. Soon there will be some in-depth investigative reporting in reputable media outlets on how it went wrong. I look forward to reading those stories.

It’s all about the little guy

https://i1.wp.com/newsbusters.org/sites/default/files/main_photos/2013/August/Hannity%20Limbaugh%20O%27Reilly.jpghttps://i1.wp.com/blogs.kansas.com/weblog/files/kochs7.jpg

Never doubt that these people care deeply about the vast swath of Americans who believe their every word! Never doubt it!

They know America will be destroyed if everyone can afford health care for their kids. Destroyed I tell you!

And, according to them, they’ll save us from health care, a dismal fate, and they are brave. Brave I tell you!

  • Rush Limbaugh – NET WORTH $400 million
  • Sean Hannity – NET WORTH $39 million
  • Rick Scott – NET WORTH $85 million (down from a reported $250 million in 2010 after he spent $75 million of his own money on his 2010 campaign for FL governor and since it’s rumored he’ll spend $100 million of his own money for the 2014 election . . . puzzling numbers but then I was never very good at math.)
  • Koch brothers – NET WORTH more billions that I can count
  • Sarah Palin – NET WORTH $16 million
  • Rupert Murdoch – NET WORTH $13 billion
  • Donald Trump – NET WORTH $150 million
  • Anne Coulter – NET WORTH $9 million
  • Glenn Beck – NET WORTH $150 million
  • Dick Cheney – NET WORTH $12 million
  • Bill O’Reilly – NET WORTH $75 million
  • Newt Gingrich – NET WORTH $7 million (which is a disgrace since he’s earned $100 million since he left government)

 

While the House burns like Atlanta . . .

UPDATED BELOW: From Forbes magazine this morning:

But a new survey of 1,976 registered voters finds that only 33 percent believe that the health law should be repealed, delayed, or defunded. 29 percent believe that “Congress should make changes to improve the law,” 26 percent believe that “Congress should let the law take effect” and see what happens, and 12 percent believe that the law should be expanded. The bottom line? Voters are skeptical that Obamacare will live up to Democrats’ hype. But they also believe that it should be given a chance to succeed.

Universal health care (which Obamacare is most assuredly not – at least not yet) has been a political objective, indeed a platform goal, of the Democratic Party  since Truman (Teddy Roosevelt and Nixon liked it too). So it has been a stated goal of at least half this nation for decades. It is now the law, as passed by the Congress, signed by the President, upheld by the US Supreme Court, and reaffirmed by the American people when they re-elected the President who sponsored it. That’s exactly the way our Federal government was designed to work.

The House GOP is not pursuing the will of the American people, they are pursuing a Party objective. They forget that they are only one of three branches of government (and only half of that branch!). 

Our Founders knew well to build in protections against a tyranny of the minority. UPDATE: commenter Alan Scott points out – correctly – that I am wrong here. Our Founders built in protections against a Tyranny of MAJORITY. My bad.

The minority half of one branch of our government is on the wrong side of this.

The guns, the doctors and the utter nonsense being repeated as fact

Snuggling with #4

Snuggling with #4

As penance for some less than cordial behavior I exhibited over the weekend toward someone who was in the particular instance totally blameless, but had nevertheless been asking for it for a long time . . . as penance, this morning I exposed myself without any protection to a full five minutes of poisonous rant from the morbidly obese, four times married, indicted drug user, college dropout and all around moralist Mr. Rush Limbaugh, that arbiter of all things right and proper.

He had his size XXXXLLLL underwear in a knot – doctors! are! again! required! to! go! after! the! guns!  They must tell Obama. And name names. The ‘authorities’ said so. (the whole silly transcript is here under the headline “Regime deputizes gun-snitch doctors”).

Bet you didn’t know that long, long ago, doctors were required to inquire of their patients about whether there are firearms in the home. And to report. To the authorities. Whoever they are.

Who knew? Not me. Never heard of it. But there it was, hidden from us all until  Obamacare, which has now been revealed to be just a ploy to get our guns. Or something.

(Recently, some brave governors have gotten laws passed to put a stop to this outrage! The courts are slapping down the governors right and left but what else can we expect – they are, after all ‘in on it’.)

Writing about this stuff doesn’t capture the depth of the looney. But I must continue my penance to its logical conclusion and take words of Rush, from the mouth itself, and show them to be nothing but his brand of million-bucks-a-minute tonic for the rubes.

Sayeth the chubby one (after some cautiously phrased qualifiers):

So now doctors are being ordered  . . . to get information from them about gun ownership . . .   Doctors are now, quote, unquote, “permitted,” unquote, to do this. It makes ’em deputies, agents of the state. Look at the position this puts the doctors in  [if they don’t report].  The doctors are now under the thumb of Obamacare.  They had better comply.

And Rush gives us some history:

What’s happening here is this. For the longest time doctors have been required to ask parents and kids about this. I remember when this started, doctors were instructed to ask kids to rat out their parents on guns they had. That’s some years ago.

Total nonsense. The American Association of Pediatrics, as a policy (not a requirement) urges its practitioners to counsel parents of young children about the dangers of firearms in the home. There is no reporting requirement. The government is not involved in any way. The AAP guidelines are here.

On to where the ACLU is per FatBoy:

 Don’t ask me where the ACLU is.  I mean, anything to get rid of guns, the ACLU’s right there. Leftists are leftists, and that comes first with them.

Where the ACLU actually is, per their own website:

For seven decades, the Supreme Court’s 1939 decision in United States v. Miller was widely understood to have endorsed that view [guns are about militia, not about an individual right].

The Supreme Court has now ruled otherwise. In striking down Washington D.C.’s handgun ban by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, whether or not associated with a state militia.

The ACLU disagrees . . . . We do not, however, take a position on gun control itself. In our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue.

This doctor/guns/government nonsense has been circulating via mass emails from the fringe for some time now. (A related history here from Snopes.) I first heard of it a few weeks ago when a family member informed me that this has been going on and that doctors have been helping the guvmint build a database so they can – let’s say it together – get! the! guns!

Meh but I’m tired of this.

Ezra Klein writes down the details: the 112th Congress is the. worst. ever. Really.

This, from Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog at The Washington Post today:

14 Reasons why this is the worst Congress ever

And he lays them out, clearly, with graphics and – in spite of his blogname – in a non-wonky way, focusing on comparisons between this 112th Congress and previous.

Guess what.

He starts with this week’s 33rd vote in the House to repeal the Affordable Care Act:

Holding that vote once makes sense. Republicans had promised that much during the 2010 campaign. But 33 times? If doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result makes you insane, what does doing the same thing 33 times and expecting a different result make you?

Well, it makes you the 112th Congress.

Notwithstanding Mark Twain’s famous quip, Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress . . . but I repeat myself, these ladies and gentlemen – well,  not so many ladies – are, indeed, The. Worst. Congress. Ever.

Reasons must be found, must be found!

Matt Drudge provides a glimpse of a  possible script. Because excuses must be made, excuses must be made!!

Exactly: “The Roberts Court is born”

And this is why I always thought the Chief Justice would find a way to uphold Obamacare.

 Had Obamacare been voided, it would have inevitably led to charges of aggressive judicial activism.  Roberts peered over the abyss and decided he didn’t want to go there.

Roberts’ decision was consistent with his confirmation hearings pledge to respect the co-equal branches of government, push for consensus, and reach narrow rulings designed to build broad coalitions on the Court. He promised to respect precedent. His jurisprudence, he said, would be marked by “modesty and humility” and protection of the precious institutional legitimacy of the Court.

Today, the institutional legitimacy of the Court was buttressed. President Obama wasn’t the only winner at the Supreme Court today. So was the Supreme Court itself.

So this case was the one where he finally decided to adhere to those oft stated principles, which he’s previously ignored. But he has also expressed the hope that he could loosen the partisan divide on the Court, reduce the number of 5-4  votes, and has said he would like more unanimous decisions.

I don’t think Canada will want you, guys. You might try Somalia. Or Yemen.

Reminds me of when one of my brothers proclaimed he was moving to Ireland during Clinton Administration to escape the  awful tax burden here and all teh socialism. But then he found out, you know . . .

Now this – lots and lots of this. Bye-bye.

 

Take to the fainting couches! Obama criticized the Court!

(Apologies to someone – I grabbed this Daily Kos link from a blogfriend and have now lost track. So whoever put this up before me, thanks. Nice catch.)

Sen Mitch McConnell now:

“The president crossed a dangerous line this week,” read McConnell’s prepared remarks. “And anyone who cares about liberty needs to call him out on it. The independence of the court must be defended.” […]

So, some ‘reporters’ decided to visit the way back machine to see just where this ‘line’ not to be crossed falls.

Candidate Ronald Reagan then:

… campaigning in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday, Reagan blasted the court’s most recent abortion ruling as “an abuse of power as bad as the transgression of Watergate and the bribery on Capitol Hill.” …

Reagan administration then:

Attorney General William French Smith accused the federal courts of “constitutionally dubious and unwise intrusions upon the legislative domain,” and vowed to oppose such “subjective judicial policymaking.” […]

President George W. Bush then:

For the judiciary, resisting this temptation is particularly important, because it’s the only branch that is unelected and whose officers serve for life. Unfortunately, some judges give in to temptation and make law instead of interpreting. Such judicial lawlessness is a threat to our democracy—and it needs to stop.

And oh yeah, the good Senator had few words back then too (about the Schiavo case):

MCCONNELL: I don’t know. These are findings of fact that presumably the court, had it looked at it de novo from the beginning, which is what we granted the federal courts the authority to do, could have taken into account

[Between the lines – the Court overstepped ‘what we granted the federal courts the authority to do’?].

(there’s more at the link from lesser lights.)

No fat lady yet at SCOTUS. I say Obamacare makes it.

Long busy day, just now getting to my lonely laptop – and only for a moment before I crash – to say:

I think the ACA will be upheld by the Supreme Court, and I think it can be by a stronger majority than usual. I’m guessing 7-2. If Kennedy joins the liberals, I think Roberts might do the same, and encourage the other conservatives to join as well, and make the decision stronger, closer to unanimity, something he’s always desired for major decisions. If the bill is upheld, it’s an historic decision and Roberts will also want to put his name on it.

It wins. 7-2. And Roberts votes with the majority. Holdouts might be Alito and Thomas.

Hey . . . it’s months off. If I’m wrong, nobody will remember.