Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cruising the Web

How nice of Harry Reid to put heavy pressure on Homeland Security to expedite the awarding of visas for some casino bigwigs coming to visit Las Vegas supporters of Reid.

House Democrats are all worked up because Eric Cantor has proposed a bill to take the money that the federal government pays for the presidential nominating conventions and channel that money to pediatric research at NIH. They're outraged that he had the effrontery to name his bill after a 10-year old girl who died recently from an inoperable brain tumor. As if bills have never been named after dead children before. Haven't they heard about Amber Alerts? And they're objecting because it isn't enough money as if that is a reason to oppose any money added in to NIH's budget. And they just can't stand it that a Republican is talking about adding some money to a worthy cause without having to deepen the deficit. I love the idea of taking the money from the conventions. There is no reason we should all be paying for the political advertisements that conventions have become. And thus something that shouldn't be political has now become political.

WSJ explains how the Obama administration is being deceptive in how it reports enrollment statistics for Obamacare.
The larger problem is that none of these represent true enrollments. HHS is reporting how many people "selected" a plan on the exchange, not how many people have actually enrolled in a plan with an insurance company by paying the first month's premium, which is how the private insurance industry defines enrollment. HHS has made up its own standard.

Insurers know that the hardest part of doing business in the individual market is getting customers to write a check. People are accustomed these days to automatic payroll deductions and the unseen lost wages of employer-sponsored insurance. Many Americans may enroll on the exchange but then fail to pay once they see monthly costs that could range from the equivalent of a cellphone bill if they qualify for subsidies (President Obama's favorite comparison) to premiums that can exceed $1,000 or huge deductibles for the unlucky who must overpay to finance the insurance of others.

....The reason for all this obstruction and statistical juking is so the White House can get the press corps and Democrats to believe that the worst is over and that ObamaCare is now rolling toward success. On that score they've succeeded. But it's impossible for an outsider to know what the truth really is because HHS and the White House continue to manipulate and bury the real statistics.
Oh, the irony! Congressional staffers are being told not to trust the information they get from the Obamacare website or that they are enrolled in an insurance plan until they've double-checked the information with the insurance company. As Heather Ginsberg writes,
If those who voted for this incompetent legislation can’t even have their staffers sign up without issues, how is it that the rest of us are supposed to have an easy experience? It’s a good thing Sebelius asked for an investigation into her own website today! Ha

The RNC is working on revamping the rules for debates and also for the calendar for primaries and caucuses for the 2016 election. It's about time. The biggest changes that voters might notice is that the party is taking back tighter control of debates so that there won't be so many and which journalists get to moderate them. They're also planning to move the party convention before July 4th. This would allow the candidate to access general election funds to spend over the summer instead of how Obama was able to hammer Romney all summer long in 2012 and Romney didn't have the money to respond.

It shouldn't have to be said, but conservatives haven't been on the wrong side of history going back throughout American history. But that is exactly what Michael Tomasky tried to argue. Fortunately, David Harsanyi exposes how ridiculous such claims for either side are.

Seth Mandel explains how the Paul Ryan who negotiated the budget deal with Patty Murray is not a "new Paul Ryan." He's still the same guy.

The Real Life of Julia is quite different from the life promised by Obama's campaign.

Here is a good historical background on corporate personhood just in case you swallowed simplistic slogans about a corporation not being a person.

One thing that can really get the media all riled up so that they'll even attack President Obama is if there are limits on their own access. They're all upset now by the White House's limitations on their ability to photograph the President. That is why Santiago Lyon, director of photography, has a column in the New York Times calling the White House "Orwellian" in its "draconian restrictions on photojournalists' access to the president." It's a shame that the media have not been as skeptical of Obama's image-making until now.

One doctor explains how Obamacare regulations have forced him to close his one-man medical practice. He even took out an ad in the newspaper to inform his patients that cited Obamacare.
“It’s pretty basic really. The reason is that Obamacare requires electronic medical records and electronic prescribing and I simply don’t have the finances at this time to go into debt to provide that for my office, it would just be a complete new transfer of electronic equipment in my office for that.

So for me, at my age, I’m just not ready to go into financial debt. Of the 20,000 pages in there, probably up to 1,000 pages are about doctors' offices."

"I’ve got 6,000 records, some of them are two inches thick. It would just be basically impossible to scan all of these and put them on electronic medical records and very expensive, by the way,” said Dr. Kiteck, pointing to the many man hours of pay that an electronic overhaul would require.

“It’s a solo practice, I’m just a very small solo practice. I call myself a mom and pop practice,” Dr. Kiteck explained, “so I’ve had it for about twenty years here in Somerset, Kentucky.”
That's one doctor whose patients won't be able to keep their doctor. How many other small practices will face the same problems?

The EPA is starting to acknowledge that their biofuels standards aren't anywhere near realistic.