Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cruising the Web

The "no one knew this" excuse has already reached its expiration date. Just as NBC has already reported that the administration has known for three years that they were lying when they said that everyone who liked their policies could keep it, Democratic politicians are now having to admit that they knew all along that Obama was lying when he repeated over and over again that no one who liked their insurance would lose it or see their costs go up.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer conceded to reporters today that Democrats knew people would not be able to keep their current health care plans under Obamacare and expressed qualified contrition for President Obama’s repeated vows to the contrary.

“We knew that there would be some policies that would not qualify and therefore people would be required to get more extensive coverage,” Hoyer said in response to a question from National Review.

Asked by another reporter how repeated statements by Obama to the contrary weren’t “misleading,” Hoyer said “I don’t think the message was wrong. I think the message was accurate. It was not precise enough…[it] should have been caveated with – ‘assuming you have a policy that in fact does do what the bill is designed to do.’”

Hoyer noted that people losing access to their current plans are mostly in the individual market, which is a small segment of the overall market. He also argued requiring those plans to follow new mandates and regulations was important for ensuring those plans included “adequate coverage so the public would not have to be on the hook for serious illnesses or other illnesses.”
So their present excuse is that they were mostly telling the truth except for all the exceptions that they weren't telling people about. The new euphemism for a lie is now "not precise enough" and not "caveated" enough. That's how stupid they think people are.

Ace notes that NBC tried to help the administration out by editing out the most damning part of their report that the administration knew for three years that Obama was lying to Americans about keeping their policies if they liked them. Sorry, you can't put that toothpaste back in the tube.

But perhaps the Democrats are wise to depend on the stupidity of the American people. The media has certainly played its role by not analyzing the repeated statements of President Obama, even though the media knew those statements were "not precise enough." As Peter Kirsanow writes about what he calls the "Sgt Schultz media,"
Outrage spans the land as the mainstream media breathlessly report that administration officials knew for more than three years Obama’s ironclad promise, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.” was howlingly false and millions would lose the coverage they liked. The bulletin is issued as if no one other than certain government officials knew that the president’s promise, regularly invoked in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, was A Bright Shining Lie.


Tens of thousands of us who had actually read the hideously titled Affordable Care Act — or significant portions thereof — because we had to organize our businesses around it, advise clients regarding compliance with it, or otherwise implement the monstrosity’s provisions, knew health-care coverage for millions was going to be adversely affected. Millions more simply understood that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

The mainstream media, however, was too busy lambasting tea-party evildoers, Ted Cruz, House Republicans, and conservatives generally to bother reading the Act. In fairness, it’s a bit difficult to read interminably long legislation when you’re busy performing your day job as the administration’s stenographer. Or maybe they thought Nancy Pelosi meant that by sheer osmosis, if we passed the bill, we’d automatically know what’s in it.

The mainstream media can be counted on to bring up the rear on any stories reflecting poorly on this administration. On Obamacare, they’re a mere three and a half years late. On Benghazi, they’re just now discovering it’s a real scandal.

These things might’ve been news if reported when sentient beings became aware of them, or at least before the 2012 election. Now, it’s just CYA noise.
Mary Katharine Ham has fun listing the euphemisms the media and Democrats have been using for Obama's lie that if you like your insurance you can keep it.

Conservatives are used to settling for the media "better-late-than-never" approach when the media comes late to the realization that a Democrat has been misleading the public. Just imagine how different things would be if the media had been as skeptical when all this was being debated in 2009 and 2010 or before the 2012 election.

And, of course, there is the general obliviousness of those low-information voters. Jim Geraghty notes this story from the Memphis Business Journal about ignorant some of the uninsured are.
Uninsured Americans are eager to learn more about Obamacare, if they could just figure out where to start looking.

Even though the health insurance exchanges opened about a month ago and hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent promoting them, almost half (47 percent) of uninsured Americans still do not know where they can get information on how the Affordable Care Act will affect them, according to a new report.

But Americans are interested in learning about it.

Nearly two in three uninsured Americans (64 percent) have become more curious about the Affordable Care Act since the exchanges opened on Oct. 1, according to the Bankrate survey. Overall, 51 percent of the population has become more curious over the past month, including equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats.

Meanwhile, only one in 10 Americans (11 percent of the uninsured and 9 percent of the overall population) say their health insurance situation has improved over the past year, according the report.
Maybe if SNL and Jon Stewart keep ridiculing the launch of Obamacare, those uninformed uninsured will wake up.

CBS has yet another report on how the insurance costs for a lot of people will be going up due to Obamacare. As Ed Morrissey comments, the excuse that the Democrats are likely to be given just won't hack it.
The “subsidies will cover the difference” response also doesn’t address a fundamental truth about ObamaCare: it’s making everything more expensive, not just premiums. Premiums increase as costs go up; that’s a fundamental point in risk-pool economics. The subsidies only hide that cost, and don’t even do that well. The subsidies will come from higher taxes and/or borrowing, and those taxes will be paid by Americans on top of the premiums they are now forced to absorb. The only difference is that the taxes are indirect — either through income-tax increases or on costs associated with higher taxes on medical devices and services.

Deroy Murdock wonders why Democrats don't want to respect a woman's right to choose whether or not she wants to pay for maternity coverage.
How dare Obama, Emanuel, Carney, and their ilk crush a woman’s right to choose her health plan? Shouldn’t she and her doctor make that decision?

And so what if a health policy lacks maternity care? Not all women want to bear more children — or any children at all.

Should women who happen to be sterile be forced to carry maternity-care insurance? How about the millions of American women who are post-menopausal? Why should they buy maternity benefits?

How about single career women for whom motherhood may be five, ten, or fifteen years down the line, if that? Why make them acquire insurance for an eventuality that is far over their horizons?

“What about unplanned pregnancies?” leftists will squawk. Well, that’s why God created contraception.

Indeed, Obama insisted that Obamacare cover contraception for all women of reproducible age, regardless of income — without corresponding co-payments, co-insurance, or any other means of connecting the users of birth control with the costs of birth control. This free-contraception rule notoriously binds companies (like Hobby Lobby) and organizations (the University of Notre Dame) whose owners and managers harbor strong ethical objections to funding or insuring birth control.

So, in its fevered effort to live every woman’s life on her behalf, Obamacare’s “minimum standards” include mandatory birth control and mandatory maternity benefits. In other words, Obama has the federal government redistributing resources in order to keep every working uterus in America potentially vacant and occupied, all at the same time.

Just as Kathleen Sebelius gets ready to testify before the House and blame the contractors for the problems with, CNN has a report from the main contractor, CGI, that they warned her a month before they launched the website that it was not ready. Just yesterday, Medicaid Chief Marilyn Tavenner testified that HHS was satisfied that the website was ready to go.
On Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Medicaid Chief Marilyn Tavenner, whose job it was to oversee the October 1 rollout of the website, said she did not foresee its problems.
"No, we had tested the website and we were comfortable with its performance," she said. "Now, like I said, we knew all along there would be as with any new website, some individual glitches we would have to work out. But, the volume issue and the creation of account issues was not anticipated and obviously took us by surprise. And did not show up in testing."
But CGI has given its warning to the House and it is clear that the administration was warned about looming problems.
But the CGI document, which describes "top risks currently open" and "outstanding issues currently being mitigated" says the testing timeframes are "not adequate to complete full functional, system, and integration testing activities" and lists the impact of the problems as "significant."

Another element is listed as " not enough time in schedule to conduct adequate performance testing" and given the highest priority.

GI had no comment other than to confirm authenticity of the report that also gave "the highest priority" and warns "we don't have access to monitoring tools" and "hub services are intermittently unavailable" -- short for the "site's not working sometimes."

One concern, listed as "severe," warned, "CGI does not have access to necessary tools to manage envs in test, imp, and prod. Specifically (1) we don't have access to central log collection / view (2) we don't have access to monitoring tools. We have repeatedly asked CMS and URS but have not been granted this access."

The report, which documents issues from August 2013 and was sent to at least one employee at CMS by an executive at CGI on September 6, was submitted in response to a request by the House Oversight Committee, which is now investigating the rollout of the health law.
So it's going to be difficult for her to get up there and swear that she was surprised in October about what she had been warned about in August.

One cyber-security expert told CNN how easy it had been for him to get through the security on and get access to people's personal information.

Mission Accomplished for one goal of Obamacare: they have destroyed the individual market for people who didn't buy insurance through their employers.
The political problem for the White House is that these choices are a threat to ObamaCare. If too many people keep these policies instead of joining the government exchanges, ObamaCare could fail. HHS has thus reviewed the decisions of people in the individual market and found them wanting. HHS believes as a matter of political philosophy that everyone should have the same kind of insurance, and in the name of equity it wrote rules dictating the benefits that all plans must cover and how they must be financed.

In most cases these mandates are more comprehensive and thus more expensive than the status quo, but the ObamaCare refugees aren't merely facing higher costs. The plans they want and are willing to pay for have been intentionally outlawed. Ponder that one.

Liberals claim the new insurance should cost more because it's better, at least as defined by liberal paternalism. But the real reason they want policies to cost more is to drive as many people as possible out of this market and into the subsidized ObamaCare exchanges.
Remember. It's not a bug, but a feature.
None of this is an accident. It is the deliberate result of the liberal demand that everyone have essentially the same coverage and that government must dictate what that coverage is and how much it costs. Such political control is the central nervous system of the Affordable Care Act, and it is why so many people can't keep the insurance they like.
As Holman Jenkins writes today, liberals have contempt for people who had the lack of foresight to buy insurance for catastrophic health care.
Notice his [President Obama's] disdain for those who buy high-deductible policies to protect themselves only from unexpected and unmanageable health-care costs. They are too cheap or too dumb to reach into their own pockets for necessary care that isn't covered by their policy or triggers the deductible.

These customers might like their plan. Their plan might even be the best cure, as many experts believe, for what ails our health-care system, namely too much incentive for Americans to overconsume health care. But Mr. Obama doesn't like their plans so they can't keep them.

Democrats at least are consistent. Back in 1993, during the fight over HillaryCare, Mrs. Clinton explained Democratic reasoning to then-House GOP Leader Denny Hastert. If Americans are allowed too much discretion over how they spend their health-care dollars, Mrs. Clinton said, "We just think people will be too focused on saving money and they won't get the care for their children and themselves that they need . . .

"The money has to go to the federal government because the federal government will spend that money better."
Jenkins writes that the media are bad at covering economic theory so they ignored all the warnings that conservatives were giving about Obamacare. But now they'll have millions of stories of people who are now paying thousands of dollars more for insurance and they can cover those stories now and act like it's a big surprise.

One of an economic theory that the media won't cover is how it will affect the economy to have all these millions of people having to spend so much more money per year on their insurance. And that is the money that these people won't be spending on other sectors of the economy. The media don't understand that which is unseen, but one thing we won't be seeing is people who now have to pay a few thousand dollars more a year on health insurance going out to buy a new car or house or simply going out to restaurants a few more times a year.

As the media are catching up to all the scandals and crises that Obama never knew about until they became public such as the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, NSA surveillance, Benghazi, the problems with the Obamacare rollout, here is another one. Remember when he joked that shovel ready jobs weren't as ready as he had thought they'd been to explain why the stimulus package didn't work to increase employment? Maybe it wouldn't have been such a surprise if he or his aides had crept outside their liberal bubble for a minute or two to read all the economists predicting that there was no such thing as a shovel-ready stimulus.

One Democratic congressional aide confesses to the Chicago Sun Times that she has finally learned that all that she did to defend Obamacare was based on a lie.
When Klinkhamer lost her congressional job, 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?”

Sean Trende has an interesting post about the court case against Obamacare challenging the Obama administration's subsidies for states that did not establish exchanges. He concludes that the plaintiffs have a good chance of succeeding.
If the case does get to the Supreme Court, I’d actually give it better chances of succeeding than I would have given the original ACA challenge. The law really did present novel questions, and operated in the hinterlands of Commerce Clause and cooperative federalism jurisprudence. I could have seen, to widely varying degrees, any of the justices (with the exception of Clarence Thomas) voting to uphold it. On the other hand, this case deals with some well-established canons of statutory construction; there are almost certainly four liberal votes in favor of the government’s position, and three conservative votes opposed to it. Anthony Kennedy was willing to strike down the whole law wholesale to begin with, and Roberts voted to uphold it only reluctantly. Faced with creating a national precedent and the language of this statute, I would not be surprised if this time they rejected the government’s position -- though I wouldn’t be surprised if they accepted it, either. If the former happens, the current fights over the ACA website will likely seem like child’s play compared to what follows.