Steven Hayward at Forbes Magazine makes a bold prediction: that ObamaCare will be repealed well in advance of the 2014 elections:
Senate Democrats endangered for re-election will lead the charge for repeal perhaps as soon as January, after they get an earful over the Christmas break. They’ll call it “reform,” and clothe it in calls for delaying the individual mandate and allowing people and businesses to keep their existing health insurance policies. But it is probably too late to go back in many cases. With the political damage guaranteed to continue, the momentum toward repeal will be unstoppable. Democrats will not want to face the voters next November with the albatross of Obamacare.
The politics of the repeal effort will be a game theorist’s dream. Tea Party Republicans will resist “reforms” to Obamacare in favor of complete repeal. Democrats will try to turn the tables and set up Republicans as obstacles to reform, hoping to inoculate themselves prospectively from mayhem at the polls next November. The House might want to insist that the Senate go first; after all, it was the Senate version of the bill that the House had to swallow after Scott Brown’s election in January 2010. The House can rightly insist that the Senate needs to clean up the mess they made. Obama may well give Capitol Hill Democrats a pass on a repeal vote, and veto any bill that emerges. He’ll never face the voters again.
This wouldn’t be the first time that a health care entitlement was repealed. The same thing happened in the late 1980s with catastrophic coverage for seniors. Because seniors were made to pay for their benefits under that scheme, the uproar forced Congress to repeal the measure barely a year after it went into effect. Obamacare looks to be on the same political trajectory, and for the same reason. Obamacare represents the crisis of big government; the limits of administrative government have finally been breached. For the first time ever, some polls are showing a majority of Americans doubting the goal of universal health coverage. Continue reading
Hattip to Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air. The good news in regard to ObamaCare just keeps on coming:
Notably, this doesn’t count co-pay and deductible hikes. Avik Roy offers the third in a series of maps meant to show, state by state, the impact of Obamacare on the individual insurance marketplace:
One of the fundamental flaws of the Affordable Care Act is that, despite its name, it makes health insurance more expensive. Today, the Manhattan Institute released the most comprehensive analysis yet conducted of premiums under Obamacare for people who shop for coverage on their own. Here’s what we learned. In the average state, Obamacare will increase underlying premiums by 41 percent. As we have long expected, the steepest hikes will be imposed on the healthy, the young, and the male. And Obamacare’s taxpayer-funded subsidies will primarily benefit those nearing retirement—people who, unlike the young, have had their whole lives to save for their health-care needs.
Bros hardest hit?
Men will face the steepest increases: 77, 37, and 47 percent for 27-year-olds, 40-year-olds, and 64-year-olds, respectively. Women will also face increases, but to a lesser degree: 18%, 28%, and 37% for 27-, 40-, and 64-year-olds.
There are several states that will see premium decreases, most of which are benefiting because their individual markets were already highly regulated and expensive. Winners and losers:
Eight states will enjoy average premium reductions under Obamacare: New York (-40%), Colorado (-22%), Ohio (-21%), Massachusetts (-20%), New Jersey (-19%), New Hampshire (-18%), Rhode Island (-10%), and Indiana (-3%). Most, but not all, of these states had heavily-regulated individual insurance markets prior to Obamacare, and will therefore benefit from Obamacare’s subsidies, and especially its requirement that everyone purchase health insurance or pay a fine.
The eight states that will face the biggest increases in underlying premiums are largely southern and western states: Nevada (+179%), New Mexico (+142%), Arkansas (+138%), North Carolina (+136%), Vermont (+117%), Georgia (+92%), South Dakota (+77%), and Nebraska (+74%).
Other winners: The elderly at the expense of the young. Losers: People who like their doctors and current deductibles. Continue reading
Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish nails it:
Our modernity is style rather than substance. It’s Obama grinning. It’s the right font. It’s the right joke. It’s that sense that X knows what he’s doing because he presents it the right way. There’s nothing particularly modern about that. In most cultures, the illusion of competence trumps the real thing. It’s why so many countries are so badly broken because they go by appearances, rather than by results.
The idea that we should go by results, rather than by processes, by outcomes rather than by appearances, was revolutionary. For most of human history, we were trapped in a cargo cult mode. We did the “right things” not because they led to the right results, but because we had decided that they were the right things. There were many competent people, but they were hamstrung by rigid institutions that made it impossible to go from Point A to Point B in the shortest possible time.
And we’re right back there today. The entire process of ObamaCare was the opposite of going from Point A to Point B. It was the least competent and efficient solution every step of the way. There was no reason to think that its website would be any better. The process that led to it being dumped on the American people was completely devoid of any notion of testing or outcomes. It was the right thing to do because… it was the right thing to do. It was cargo cult logic all the same. So was its website.
Healthcare.gov, like ObamaCare, was going to work because it was “good”. Its goodness was by some measure other than result. It was morally good. It was progressive. And so the deity of liberal causes, perhaps Karl Marx or Progressia, the Goddess of Soup and Economic Dysfunction, would see to it that it would work. Karma would kick in and everything would work out because it had to.
This brand of magical thinking was once commonplace. It still is. And it’s why things so rarely work out in some of the more messed up parts of the world. But the sort of attitude that would once have made anthropologists shake their heads is now commonplace here. Savages in suits, barbarians with iPads are certain that things will work because they have appeased the gods of modernity with their fonts, they have made a website that looks like a functioning website. And like the cargo culters who built fake control towers expecting planes to land, they thought that their website would work.
Competence is built on the unhappy understanding that things won’t work because you want them to, they won’t work if you go through the motions, they will only work if you understand how a thing works and then make it work by building it, by testing it and by expecting failure every step of the way and wrestling with the problem until you get it right. Continue reading
An increasingly desperate President Obama had a speech last week in Boston where he acted as a pitchman for his floundering ObamaCare. Sarah Palin called it his Sham Wow speech:
As millions of Americans are being kicked off their desired insurance plans and seeing their premiums skyrocket, the President had a lot of ‘splaining to do today. For starters we anticipated a Presidential apology for lying to Americans repeatedly when he promised things like, “If you like your current health care plan, you can keep it.” Make no mistake, he knew he was lying when he said that. And make no further mistake, after five years of false Obama claims, no one should actually expect contrition on this administration’s part.
Bloomberg reports that in June of 2010, the administration knew millions would be kicked off existing healthcare plans due to Obamacare; but President Obama continued to knowingly deceive the American people with repeated claims that if we liked our current plan we could keep it.
So, finally busted, did the President apologize? Was remorse and sympathy shown for Americans who now can’t afford health insurance thanks to Obamacare? Nope. He instead informed us that Americans who receive cancellation notices have been on “substandard” plans supplied by “bad apple” insurers. That’s right. Obama didn’t lie to you when he said, “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” Why? Because, you sillies, you DIDN’T REALLY like the plan you chose for yourselves! No arguing. Barack Obama knows best and he’ll tell you whether you actually liked your insurance plan or not. If you’re an elderly bachelor, your old plan was clearly “substandard” because it didn’t offer maternity care. What’s that you say? You don’t need maternity care? Well, according to the President today, he says you do, and any insurance plan that doesn’t offer it is a “junk” plan provided by a “bad apple” insurer.
Go here to read the rest. That Palin is calling out Obama is unremarkable. What is remarkable is that some of the media are beginning to act as if they are not simply unpaid Obama press agents. ABC News in regard to the same speech: Continue reading
I, and doubtless other fans of Veep and beloved National Clown Joe Biden, have been waiting breathlessly for Joe’s take on the ObamaCare rollout debacle. He explained that neither he nor the President are technology geeks. Say it ain’t so Joe! A hall mark of this administration has been its appeal to tech loving young, and now to have revealed that the men at the head of the administration are so technologically clueless that they took three years and half a billion dollars to construct a website that would have been a disgrace circa 1995 is a crushing blow. I know Joe! Call upon one of your predecessors Al Gore. Since he invented the internet, I am sure that he will be able to lead the repairs on the website so that it performs at a 1999, heck maybe even a 2000, level. Then perhaps it will be able to enroll 12 people on its first day of operation rather than the 6 people the current web site did during its first day. Everything is going to be fine once Joe puts his mind to it and gets Gore on the job! Continue reading
Well, the Congress Critters with Ds after their names are beginning to scurry for political cover:
Sen. Mary Landrieu said Wednesday she would propose legislation to ensure all Americans could keep their existing insurance coverage under Obamacare, a fresh sign of the political problems the law’s rollout has created for congressional Democrats.
Landrieu, a Democrat who faces a tough reelection in Louisiana in 2014, said she would either offer her own bill or formally sign onto another measure that would ensure that the law would not force anyone off of their existing health policies. Continue reading
Well, maybe a little.
“I spent two years defending Obamacare. I had constituents scream at me, spit at me and call me names that I can’t put in print. The congressman was not re-elected in 2010 mainly because of the anti-Obamacare anger. When the congressman was not re-elected, I also (along with the rest of our staff) lost my job. I was upset that because of the health care issue, I didn’t have a job anymore but still defended Obamacare because it would make health care available to everyone at, what I assumed, would be an affordable price. I have now learned that I was wrong. Very wrong.”
“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?”
One of the many, many lies that Obama told when he was selling ObamaCare was that if you liked your policy you would get to keep it.
Obama knew that this was a lie when he said it. ObamaCare was designed to cause people to lose their pre-existing insurance. NBC, probably the most pro-Obama administration of the three networks, has a story explaining how the hilariously named Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) mandates the loss of such policies:
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.
Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.” Continue reading
You know that you are living in surreal times when the Saturday Night Live Kathleen Sebelius is less funny at defending the ObamaCare roll out than the real Kathleen Sebelius was when facing tough grilling from–Jon Stewart. Go here to watch that fiasco.
Hattip to Instapundit. It is deeply ironic that young people, one of the main constituencies that helped elect Obama, will be the ones trying to dig this country out from the effects of this administration long after I am dead and gone. My condolences to the young people who refused to be scammed, but who are along for a very rocky ride anyway.
A few Democrats are beginning to understand that ObamaCare is beginning to turn into a political nightmare for them.
Democrats facing difficult reelection campaigns in 2014 — Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Begich of Alaska — came out on Wednesday evening in support of extending the open enrollment period of the law, as first proposed by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, who is also up for reelection in 2014.
Senate Republicans — and their campaign arm — are seeking to do anything and everything to tie Democrats like Pryor, Begich and Landrieu to Obamacare, betting they are on the wrong side of public opinion regarding the health care law. With web issues continuing to plague people’s abilities to sign up on the federal exchange, these Democrats are seeking to get ahead of GOP attacks.
Shaheen called the experience of trying to sign up for the insurance marketplaces “incredibly frustrating and disappointing” and said the system is “riddled with problems.” In that light, Shaheen wrote a letter to President Barack Obama saying that the open enrollment period should be pushed past March 31, given that the exchanges remain weighed down by problems more than three weeks after their rollout.
“I support extending the enrollment period to give people who haven’t had access or who want more choice enough time to shop from the 40 competitively priced plans in Louisiana’s marketplace. The administration should consider this common sense suggestion,” Landrieu said.
Both Begich and Pryor also indicated worry that people would get unfairly dinged by the $95 penalty if the website problems persist — a scenario that Manchin and Isakson are drafting legislation to avoid.
“I have repeatedly said this law is not perfect,” Begich said. “Given the recent website issues, I also support extending open enrollment season. I want to work with the administration to ensure that individuals are not unfairly penalized if technical issues with the website continue.” Continue reading
WASHINGTON—Responding to widespread criticism regarding its health care website, the federal government today unveiled its new, improved Obamacare program, which allows Americans to purchase health insurance after installing a software bundle contained on 35 floppy disks. “I have heard the complaints about the existing website, and I can assure you that with this revised system, finding the right health care option for you and your family is as easy as loading 35 floppy disks sequentially into your disk drive and following the onscreen prompts,” President Obama told reporters this morning, explaining that the nearly three dozen 3.5-inch diskettes contain all the data needed for individuals to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, while noting that the updated Obamacare software is mouse-compatible and requires a 386 Pentium processor with at least 8 MB of system RAM to function properly. Continue reading
I can understand why Internet Hitler is so upset. Control of medicine is so essential for any group seeking to reshape a nation, as the historical Hitler’s reign so amply demonstrated. Ah well, as Karl Marx noted, in one of his few on target observations: History does tend to repeat itself: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Continue reading
From a conservative Republican perspective there seems to be little good from the outcome of the shutdown fight. ObamaCare remains funded, and that was the chief goal that concerned most conservative Republicans. However, sometimes it is a good idea to take a look at an event from the eyes of an adversary. Here is what things look like to liberal Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast:
For their part, Democrats bristled at the prospect of a “clean” CR. Four days after Cantor’s memo, the Democratic-aligned Center for American Progress warned that by extending the sequester, Republicans were “trying to lock these additional spending cuts into place and create a new baseline from which future negotiations must begin.” CAP added that “It’s easy to see why this approach would be attractive to Speaker Boehner; it is much harder to understand why any progressive or centrist would support such an approach.”
Let’s pause for a moment to underscore the point. In early September, a “clean” CR—including sequester cuts—that funded the government into 2014 was considered a Republican victory by both the Republican House Majority Leader and Washington’s most prominent Democratic think tank. Now, just over a month later, the media is describing the exact same deal as Republican “surrender.”
Partly, that’s because of Ted Cruz. Starting last month, as we all know, the Texas Senator—in conjunction with his fellow Tea Partiers in the House—forced GOP leaders to abandon the very “clean” CR proposal they had once championed. The new Republican position became no funding for the government and no increase in the debt ceiling without the defunding (or at least delaying) of Obamacare.
Now that Republicans are backing off those demands, the press is saying they’ve caved. But that’s like saying that the neighborhood bully has caved because after demanding your shoes and bike, he’s once again willing to accept merely your lunch money.
Most of the press is missing this because most of the press is covering the current standoff more as politics than policy. If your basic question is “which party is winning?” then it’s easy to see the Republicans as losing, since they’re the ones suffering in the polls. But the partisan balance of power and the ideological balance of power are two completely different things. The Nixon years were terrible for the Democratic Party but quite good for progressive domestic policy. The Clinton years were, in important ways, the reverse. The promise of the Obama presidency was not merely that he’d bring Democrats back to power. It was that he’d usher in the first era of truly progressive public policy in decades. But the survival of Obamacare notwithstanding, Obama’s impending “victory” in the current standoff moves us further away from, not closer to, that goal.
It’s not just that Obama looks likely to accept the sequester cuts as the basis for future budget negotiations. It’s that while he’s been trying to reopen the government and prevent a debt default, his chances of passing any significant progressive legislation have receded. Despite overwhelming public support, gun control is dead. Comprehensive immigration reform, once considered the politically easy part of Obama’s second term agenda, looks unlikely. And the other items Obama trumpeted in this year’s state of the union address—climate change legislation, infrastructure investment, universal preschool, voting rights protections, a boost to the minimum wage—have been largely forgotten. Continue reading
As a conservative I do appreciate one thing about the Obama administration: it makes the argument as to the evils of big government far more effectively than ten thousand free market sermons. Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics takes a look at the Obamacare roll out, and the unbelievable level of incompetence it betokens:
Sebelius’ department had 3½ years to prepare to implement the Affordable Care Act. No one ever suggested that commandeering one-sixth of the American economy would be an easy task. (Many Republicans suggested the opposite and were dismissed as killjoys for their efforts.) But after the debacle of the last two weeks, liberals and Democrats—not conservatives or Republicans—should be calling for Sebelius’s head.
The administration’s handling of the implementation of Obamacare over the past three years has been a slow-moving train wreck: a mixture of embarrassing delays, hard-to-justify waivers, and assorted bad news about the unintended consequences of the law. Some of this was Sebelius’s fault, some of it was not.
The crowning blunder came 10 days ago with the rollout of healthcare.gov website, the centerpiece of the administration’s effort to sign individuals up for coverage through the government-run health care exchanges that are at the heart of the legislation. To say this was vitally important to the overall success of the law is an understatement. It is the aspect of Obamacare that the president himself has said is utterly essential—and backed up those words by letting the federal government shut down rather that give in to Republican demands to gut it. Nonetheless, its premiere was a giant flop – and Kathleen Sebelius is responsible.
The government’s website apparently cost more than $500 million to build—and counting. This is more than LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Spotify, and yet it has been a disaster from the get-go, freezing, crashing, and locking people out.