Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cruising the Web

So what if Obama was off by a factor of 1000? He's still the smartest man ever to be president, right? It's just the type of little mistake that any lightworker might make.

Democrats may pretend that they didn't realize so many people would be losing their health plans under Obamacare, but it's not because they weren't warned. As NBC reported, they received a report from the American Health Insurance Plans, a trade group representing 1,300 plans back in 2010 predicting just that.
“The significance of the AHIP letters is that they show the administration was warned that their proposed grandfather rules were far too stringent for people's plans to survive come 2014,” health care analyst Robert Laszewski, who consults for insurance companies, hospitals and physicians groups, told NBC News. “The industry told the administration that the historic rate at which consumers increase their out-of-pocket costs was far more than the very limited rules the administration ultimately wrote. The only foreseeable outcome would be that most plans would not survive. The administration, knowing that, went ahead with these stringent rules anyway.”

One state insurance commissioner, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said he sympathized with the president’s predicament and the political blowback he is getting. But the official said “the cancellations are consistent with what we expected under the regulations.”
And they were also warned last March that the website wasn't going to be ready and was failing one test after another.

But why should the administration listen to others when clearly they're the ones who know more than anyone else how everything should be done. As Heather Wilhelm writes,
Taking the ball even farther down the field, Josh Barro, a columnist for Business Insider (and, as his many journalistic frenemies like to remind us, “one of Obama’s favorite writers”), blasted the following snootiness out on Twitter on Oct. 29: “Vast swathes of policy are based on the correct presumption that people don't know what's best for them. Nothing new.”

Nothing new indeed: If anything, “people don’t know what’s best for them” could be the central credo of the modern nanny state, and the binding tenet of liberalism. In this view, of course people shouldn’t be able to choose “inadequate,” inexpensive health insurance -- which, in the government’s definition, apparently includes any insurance that doesn’t cover mammograms for 20-year-old males.

Of course consumers shouldn’t drink giant sodas or eat even a teaspoon of trans fats a year. Would-be business owners, meanwhile, certainly shouldn’t be able to braid hair in a salon without a government license, and prompt, clean private town car services like Uber sure shouldn’t make government taxis look bad. The list goes on and on.
So we aren't able to make major decisions about our own lives, but when it comes to social issues then we totally should be in control.
Judging is another big no-no in modern leftism, as the creators of the latest wave of Colorado-based “Thanks Obamacare!” ads remind us. One of the more memorable new ads featured a grinning, slightly crazed young woman clutching a pack of birth control pills. She’s standing next to a guy, and, no offense, but she’s got “stalker” written all over her. I quote: “Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers.”

In response to criticism of the ad -- along with widespread, open-mouthed disbelief that our society has fallen this far -- a spokesman, Adam Fox, gallantly offered that the ad “shows a strong woman making a decision for herself and taking control of her situation.” Let’s agree with crazy Adam for a second and pretend that “desperate” is the same as “strong.” In any case, under modern liberal thought, wouldn’t Birth Control Girl “making a decision for herself” and “taking control of her situation” be bad? As always-certain guys like Josh Barro repeatedly inform us, she certainly doesn’t “know what’s best” for her, right?

This is a prime example of the paradox of modern liberalism, as well as the mixed messaging it often produces. In leftist thought, when it comes to free exchange, or basic market issues, the government should be the decider of first resort. Have a simple supply and demand issue? Government bureaucracies are right there to muck up the process, forcing you to buy things at a more expensive price.

When it comes to social issues, however, we get the left’s repeated intonation on issues like abortion -- that people are, as the late-term abortion doctor argued, the “greatest experts on their own lives.” In the social realm, the chief value is “freedom” -- including freedom from consequence.
Guy Benson notes another internal contradiction from the excuses that Democrats are putting forward to explain this debacle. Some of them are arguing that they knew all along that not everyone could keep their plans, but they couldn't say so explicitly or the bill wouldn't pass. Others are pretending that this is all just a big surprise to them.
Which is it, Democrats? Did everyone know ‘keep your plan’ wouldn’t pan out for millions of Americans, or were members left in the dark by a conniving administration? Team Gillibrand has decided that the best course of action is to try to spin their lie into a mere miscommunication — which, ironically enough, is yet another lie. Team Landrieu, by contrast, has concluded that posing as derelict ignoramuses is preferable to looking like shameless liars. The trouble for the former group is that their new “truth” is painfully incompatible with their previous assertions, and people aren’t that stupid. The problem for the latter cohort is that by pretending to be surprised by the inevitable consequences of a law they supported, they are only compounding their previous lie. How can we be so sure that at least Senate Democrats knew better? Because they were explicitly warned by their colleagues about this issue in 2010, then voted en masse to defeat a GOP proposal that would have mitigated the problem:
Politico and Karl at Hot Air look at all the problems coming down the pike for Obamacare. It's going to be one trainwreck after another, as Max Baucus might have said. And remember that we haven't seen yet how many people will lose their plans when the employer mandate kicks in next Fall.
The battle over employer mandates still ahead: Indeed. The problems being discussed above in the context of the individual market (high premiums, deductibles and co-pays, possibly losing your doctor or hospital) may ultimately affect as many as 93 million Americans — including the employer-based market — starting perhaps weeks before the midterm elections. If the reality of Obamacare in the past six weeks has politically damaged the Democrats, one can only imagine what the damage will be when the affected population potentially reaches nearly one out of three Americans.
And then they'll find out that they can't keep their doctors due to Obamacare.
Consumers have suffered sticker shock when they try to enroll in Obamacare's health insurance exchanges, but soon those same consumers may be faced with far fewer choices of doctors and hospitals.

Insurance companies that participate in the exchanges say they have to narrow consumers' choice of health care providers to keep medical costs and premiums from soaring even higher than they already have.

"What we are trying to do is create better price points," an official with the insurer WellPoint told the Washington Examiner. "Something that will be very attractive to consumers across the board. So, we are narrowing and focusing" the choices.
That should go over big, right?

Charles C. W. Cooke wonders how long those who have been working hard and are now being hit by Obamacare are going to keep it up.
One of the things that has distinguished America from the social democracies of Europe is that its safety net was just that: a net into which one might fall but in which one would not be enveloped. In Europe, one is pushed into interaction with the government as a matter of course — and even encouraged to engage. In America, there was traditionally help if you really needed it, but you had to be old or poor or disabled first. Obamacare changes that, interfering in the lives of the millions of Americans who had no intention of getting involved with the state and saying breezily to the self-sustaining middle class that there is no escape from the insidious meddling of a corpulent Uncle Sam — even if they do work hard and play by the rules every day. I agree with the president: America’s hard workers do “deserve a government and a financial system” that is responsive to their sacrifice, their conscientiousness, and their sense of duty. But I’m afraid that this isn’t it.
Those who lost their plans not only have to purchase their new plan before December 15 in order to be insured by January 1. They will have to also have paid that first premium payment by December 15. And some of those new premiums are quite hefty. I wonder how many of them are aware that they're going to have to shell out that money right before Christmas?

Ron Fournier isn't impressed with the administration's response to the Obamacare debacle. It isn't good news for them.
ncompetence, deception, and lack of accountability doomed the Obamacare rollout. That's old news. What's new? The nagging durability of the White House's incompetence, deception, and lack of accountability.

Arne Duncan is having to apologize this patronizing remark that he made the other day.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a group of state schools superintendents Friday that he found it “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”
Yup, we're all too dumb to judge anything about our children, aren't we? Or is it just white moms? Apparently, non-white moms don't mind being told that their child isn't brilliant. Who knows what he meant with that racial classification, but it's rather revealing of Duncan's opinion of people who might disagree with him. Such contempt for what parents want for their children is not uncommon among some educators. I remember what one school principal told me back when I was I was scouting out schools for my five-year old daughter. After hearing how loving and caring their Kindergarten program was, I asked what they did with children who entered Kindergarten already knowing how to read. She patronizingly told me that parents usually overestimate their children's reading ability. Since our daughter had just about finished the entire oeuvre of The Baby-sitters Club when she was four and was then reading Nancy Drew books, I knew I would never send my child to a school that thought I was too stupid to know whether a child who read a book and then told me in great detail about the adventures of Kristy and Dawn and all those intrepid young babysitters could really read. But that principal thought it was better to insult a mother than to deal with students who enter school at different levels of preparation.