Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cruising the Web

David Harsanyi explains why 96% of people, particularly Ezra Klein, are wrong about Congress. Too many people think that the marker of a good Congress is one that passes lots of legislation. But that approach ignores the fact that much legislation is bad and the country would be better off without it.

Mary Landrieu's website has had a totally unfortunate plagiarism experience. In a work-up for her issues page, they exactly copied the website of Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for senator in Georgia. And they did such a poor job that they copied Nunn's videos and references to her plans for Georgia. It reminds me of when my students cut and paste from Wikipedia and are so oblivious that they leave in all the live hyperlinks.

John Hinderaker examines which corporations are funding the far left.

Sean Parnell exposes another, perhaps more nefarious, reason why the Obama administration is extending the deadline for people to enter Obamacare's high-risk pools.
By delaying this population’s entry into the pool for just one month, the administration’s decision will mean insurers have one less month of real claims data to use in setting premiums for 2015, no small matter when only three or four months’ worth of data will be used, potentially shaving a point or two, or even more, off of the insurer’s claims experience.

Insurance companies aren’t dumb, of course, and they’ll be sure to try to calculate the missing month’s claim’s in their rate submissions. But those rate submissions have to be approved by the insurance commissioner in each state, and it’s easy to see them not allowing rate increases based on hypothetical as opposed to real expenses, especially if they’re under political pressure to crack down on ‘excessive’ premium increases (and when is that not the case?).

So the Obama administration appears to have pulled off a bit of a political and policy success, even managing to do it legally, by extending one failed program for a month in order to protect the program’s participants from an even bigger failure, the exchanges inability to let people sign up, and potentially preventing insurers from being able to raise premiums as much as necessary in 2015. Who says this administration can’t do anything right?
What was also news to me was that 35 states had high-risk pools in place and working successfully before Obamacare even passed for those with medical conditions that would prevent them from buying ordinary insurance. So why weren't we extending those programs instead of rejiggering the entire health insurance market?

If you wondered why insurance companies would comply with HHS's "requests" that they cover people who have not yet paid the premiums for their new plans through Obamacare, Avik Roy explains the compulsory fist behind those "requests." They are holding over the companies the threat that they may choose to throw "otherwise qualified health plans off of the exchanges next year if they don't comply with the government's 'requests.'" Nice insurance company you have there, eh?

Well, this isn't a surprise. The Washington Post looks at all the regulations that the Obama administration has issued and finds out that there were instructions to hold off on controversial rules until after the 2012 election.
The White House systematically delayed enacting a series of rules on the environment, worker safety and health care to prevent them from becoming points of contention before the 2012 election, according to documents and interviews with current and former administration officials.

Some agency officials were instructed to hold off submitting proposals to the White House for up to a year to ensure that they would not be issued before voters went to the polls, the current and former officials said.
This is news that might have been more helpful before the election to support the accusations that conservatives had been making that the Obama administration was doing just this. But it's nice of the Post to catch up.

Obamacare claims some more victims who were happy with their insurance plan but now won't be able to keep it. The NYT looks at artists, writers, singers, doctors, lawyers and other independent workers who had been able to get plans through professional associations, but now Obamacare has disqualified those plans so that all these healthy people will have to buy insurance through the exchanges. So these individuals, most of whom voted for Obama, are now finding out that they will have to pay a lot more for worse coverage that often will not allow them to keep their doctors. Oops.
It is not lost on many of the professionals that they are exactly the sort of people — liberal, concerned with social justice — who supported the Obama health plan in the first place. Ms. Meinwald, the lawyer, said she was a lifelong Democrat who still supported better health care for all, but had she known what was in store for her, she would have voted for Mitt Romney.

It is an uncomfortable position for many members of the creative classes to be in.

“We are the Obama people,” said Camille Sweeney, a New York writer and member of the Authors Guild. Her insurance is being canceled, and she is dismayed that neither her pediatrician nor her general practitioner appears to be on the exchange plans. What to do has become a hot topic on Facebook and at dinner parties frequented by her fellow writers and artists.

“I’m for it,” she said. “But what is the reality of it?”
Well, that about sums up most liberal policy ideas. They sound beautiful in theory. It's just the reality of their consequences that are so horrible. It's pretty depressing for these folks when reality catches up with their supposed "reality-based community."

And those New York liberals might be even more perturbed if this action becomes more common - Mark Steyn links to how Obamacare now allows insurance companies to take money from people's checking accounts. And they are taking it earlier than arranged and sometimes taking it twice. Just what you want - the insurance companies that are now compliant servants of the federal government with a hand directly into your checking account.

James Taranto has some fun with PoliFact finally coming around to rating Obama's statement about keeping your health care as a lie even though they'd rated it as mostly true back in 2008.
As the Washington Examiner's Sean Higgins noted last month, in October 2008 PolitiFact rated the same statement, from then-candidate Obama, as flatly "true," on the ground that "Obama is accurately describing his health care plan here."

We're not making this up. PolitiFact actually rated Obama's promise as "true" on the ground that in making the promise, he was making the promise.

To be sure, there are some epistemological complexities here. The cancellation letters from insurance companies provide concrete proof that Obama's claim was false, evidence that was necessarily lacking in 2008, 2009 and 2012. Likewise, the reporting of our colleagues on the news side of The Wall Street Journal established with a previously lacking specificity that Obama told the lie with full knowledge and intent to deceive.

One might have reasonably suspected, in 2008 and certainly in 2009 and 2012, that Obama was lying. But one could not prove it, because it was not yet a factual assertion. In 2008 it was but a promise, which Obama might or might not have intended and might or might not have been able to keep. By 2012, we now know, it was a full-fledged fraud, but exposing it conclusively as such would have required a degree of expertise few journalists have.

In other words, it's not that PolitiFact was wrong to withhold its jejune "pants on fire" designation from the Obama statement in 2008, 2009 and 2012. It was wrong even to make a pretense of "fact checking" a statement that was, at the time, not a factual claim. Its past evaluations of the statement were not "fact checks" at all, merely opinion pieces endorsing ObamaCare.