Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Cruising the Web

David Freddoso demonstrates the inferiority of so many of the Obamacare plans offered to people who lost their insurance because the administration decided that your old plan was a "junk" plan. People are finding out that they have to pay higher premiums with higher deductibles for access to fewer doctors and hospitals.
When Obama claims your old plan was “junk,” he's not leveling with you. Your health plan wasn't canceled out of some kind of concern that you are insufficiently insured. Rather, you simply must pay more – and get less – to make Obamacare's finances work.

Rather than prioritize federal or state government budgets to subsidize those with pre-existing conditions – treating them as the rare special cases they are – Obama chose to finance their care by making you pay more into the system and get less out of it whenever you eventually become sick. Someone out there is benefiting from Obamacare. It just isn't you.

Middle-income cancellation victims are the Affordable Care Act's first cash cow. Their insurance will now be less affordable and of lower quality - or to use the common phrase, “junk.”
And when it becomes clear that not enough young, healthy people are buying these policies, the administration will have to find more money to fund the whole thing. Just wait until next year when they start getting their hands on the policies that people have through their employers when they craft the new regulations for the employer mandate.

The Manhattan Institute has analyzed the plans that are being offered and found that the average increase of premiums across 49 states (Hawaii's plan is too messed up to access) is 41 percent. There are some states where consumers will indeed see decreases because they already had so many regulations on the individual market that their citizens will now benefit from the federal subsidies.
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.... 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.
This is simply cost-shifting so that the young and healthy, particularly males, will be paying the health-care costs of the elderly, who often are wealthier than the young people paying for their benefits. I hope all those young people who were fainting or screaming at Obama rallies in 2008 now appreciate what he's done for them.

How is Obamacare like Monty Python?

Timothy P. Carney demonstrates that one reason for the higher costs of these new policies is because of the lobbying done by the drug companies.
If you wanted to buy insurance with basic drug coverage or a plan that didn’t cover contraception, you’re out of luck. You have to pay for it anyway — to the benefit of Big Pharma.

The drug industry spent more on lobbying in 2009 and 2010 than any other industry. Sally Susman, who oversaw Pfizer’s lobbying shop, was a top Obama bundler in 2008 and 2012. After the law passed, drug companies hired up plenty of the staffers who shaped the bill from both Congress and the White House.

So the more-comprehensive, more-expensive insurance Obama is forcing you to buy may or may not be better for you. But it's certainly better for the drugmakers.
CNN has gotten hold of a document from the Obamacare War Room showing how officials are truly worried about how the media, darn them, will focus on all the individuals who finding out that there are fewer and more expensive plans available to them now that they have lost the insurance Obama had promised that they could keep.

Mary Katharine Ham has a new version of her list of euphemisms for Obama's "if you like your plan you can keep it" lie. I don't think calling it an "Overblown controversy" or only "5% of the population" is going to ameliorate the situation. Then there is Diane Feinstein who has put forth this hollerer:
ell, as I understand it, you can keep it up to the time — and I hope this is correct, but this is what I’ve been told — up to the time the bill was enacted, and after that, it’s a different story. That part of it, if true, was never made clear.
I guess she was one of those who voted for the bill in order to find out what was in it.

With AP estimating that at least 3.5 million Americans have seen their plans cancelled, expect to see more and more attempts to persuade that that is just a teeny, tiny number of Americans. The administration is trying to persuade us that what we're seeing now is affecting only 5% of Americans. But 5% of 300 million Americans is still a whole lot of people. As Obama would say, it's math. And as John Hinderaker has demonstrated, the Obama administration knew back in 2010 how many people who buy their insurance on the individual market would lose their plans.
As for individual, as opposed to group plans, the Obama administration said that data were insufficient to predict how many would lose grandfather status, but in any given year the percentage of such policies losing such status would “exceed[] the 40 percent to 67 percent range.”
That was back in 2010. And he kept lying about this over and over. And the Republicans tried to stop this from happening and the Democrats voted against it. Think you'll see that vote coming back to haunt them in elections across the country?
But one last point should not go unmentioned: where has the press been in all of this? As of 2010, it was blindingly obvious–was baldly stated by the Obama administration itself–that under Obamacare, far from being permitted to keep your health care coverage if you like it, most Americans’ policies would speedily be terminated, and all would soon cease to exist. Given the dozens of misrepresentations by Barack Obama and other members of his administration, and given the entirely dishonest basis on which Obamacare was rammed through the Democratic Congress without a single Republican vote, and given that Republicans’ warnings were indisputably coming true–was there not a news story here? How can it be that three more years went by before our one-party media thought to mention what happened back in 2010? One can only imagine how the 2012 election might have been different if the electorate had understood that Obamacare was sold on a scaffold of lies.
Obama is now lying about his original lie. His speech yesterday reframes his oft-repeated promise as
"Now if you had or one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really like that plan what we said was you could keep it if it hasn't changed since the laws passed."
No, sir. That is not what you said. It might have been what you meant with your fingers crossed behind your back. But it's not what you said. Yet he outright now is lying when he knows that there are oodles of video of his saying something different.

In fact Obama's aides knew that the claim was a lie and debated whether or not Obama should add more nuance to his claim. They figured that the simplicity of the claim was preferable to details and nuance. So politics trumped veracity. And now that they've been caught out, all they have left is to try to minimize his lie.
Jonathan Gruber, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the law's impact on existing insurance arrangements was "a social policy decision the government made" and the president's description of it was "pretty low on the totem pole of political overstatements."

Walter Russell Mead takes on Cass Sunstein's argument that the Tea Party all came about because of residual anger over Alger Hiss or something. Yes, there are some crackpots in the Tea Party, but that holds for any political group. But the movement shouldn't be defined by its wackjobs - I don't think liberals would like that standard.
The Tea Party is mostly something much more conventional: a libertarian, small government protest against the centralization of federal power, and a populist resentment of snooty Ivy League professors who think the common people aren’t very smart. We’ve had these movements in America ever since colonial times; when Andrew Jackson defeated John Quincy Adams’ re-election bid in 1828, the 19th century forerunners of the Tea Party were in full cry.

We aren’t seeing a right-leaning populist surge today because of Alger Hiss; we are seeing it because many Americans believe that President Obama’s liberal and technocratic agenda represents a threat to a way of life they value. We are seeing it because many Americans blame the establishment of both parties both for the financial crisis and for the vast transfer of resources to the wealthy that came after the crash. We are seeing it because whether you look at foreign or domestic policy, the technocratic suggestions of the Great and the Good have not been helping ordinary Americans much for the last 20 years.

Jonah Goldberg takes on the idea that Obama is some sort of master strategist.
But the fiction of Obama as a man three steps ahead has taken a terrible beating if you have eyes to see it. The budget cuts under the so-called sequester are the law of the land because Obama thought he was outthinking his opponents when he gave budget-cutters budget cuts. Now he’s stuck railing against his own idea. His allegedly revolutionary decision to turn his presidential campaign into a personal political organization independent from the Democratic party has turned out to be the most expensive way ever to generate smarmy and ineffectual e-mail spam. And, if you want to believe that Obama’s goal in Syria all along was to elevate Vladimir Putin and alienate all of our Middle East allies, including Saudi Arabia and Israel, and to make Bashar Assad our strategic partner while he finds more politically correct ways to slaughter his own people, well, that’s nice.

On a different, more enjoyable subject - basketball, read about how technology and statistics are transforming the game at both the pro and college level.