Monday, December 30, 2013

Cruising the Web

Ilya Shapiro writes at Forbes to list "President Obama's Top 10 Constitutional Violations of 2013." We'll have to wait and see of court challenges can stop some of this executive overreach. But what worries me is that too many of his actions won't be challenged in court because no one has standing to bring a case against his actions. If that is so, there really is a fundamental hole in our system of checks and balances. And if Obama gets away with his overreach, then don't expect future presidents not to take advantage of the unfortunate precedents that Obama has created.

Though Glenn Reynolds thinks that the argument that no one has standing is crap.
“The ‘standing’ argument is crap. There are lots of individuals and organizations who are being concretely hurt by this stuff and have a claim. I’ve seen people on Ttwitter–I’ve seen fairly well known conservatives on Twitter say nobody has standing here–and take it from me as somebody who teaches both administrative and constitutional law, that’s crap, crap, crap to the maximum crap power. Lots of people are being concretely hurt in this and I want to say to you, the right-wing public interest lawyers out there, ‘You’re a bunch of wimps if you don’t sue. What the hell is wrong with you?’ … OK, that’s my Mark Levin imitation.”[Emphasis in delivery]
So bring on those cases challenging his actions.

You might not have much sympathy for the insurance industry as Obamacare is leaving them twisting in the wind. But remember that they're making decisions, or at least trying to make decisions that will affect every policy holder. And all these ever-shifting deadlines are tying them up in knots of frustration.
But for providers that have had to cope with the White House's shifting enrollment guidelines and goal posts, recent days have been an unwelcome reminder of how much depends on them, and how little time they have to get it right.

Nearly everyday, Mr. Oscar says, he’s on the phone telling a client that what he told them earlier no longer applies. And it has gotten so frequent that his assistants and coworkers decided to make it a game. They printed a picture of a yellow school bus and taped in next to his desk. They also printed little miniature David Oscars.

Now, whenever they hear him apologizing to a client, or explaining new rule changes, they run over and tape a picture of him underneath. “Health-care reform is throwing me and my industry under a bus,” Oscar says.

“We’ve been running for a deadline, and everybody wanted this coverage for Jan. 1, and then you sort of soft move it from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23,” he says. “And then on the 23rd, you let it leak that day? You don’t even give a heads-up announcement?”
Just another promise broken: Obamacare bronze plans won't pay for many wellness costs which was supposed to be one of those magic bullets that would go towards lowering health care costs.
This, however, is the worst of both worlds. The law forces people to pay higher premiums for largely unnecessary comprehensive coverage — especially the middle class — and then forces them to pay for the routine care out of pocket anyway. Health-savings accounts that might have shielded consumers from the pain are now being discouraged, which means this comes out of their checking accounts, right along with the higher premiums.

The result? People will pay more for less coverage, and then spend thousands of dollars before seeing the first dollar in benefits, except for certain preventive tests that HHS deemed mandatory. This will discourage people from getting normal wellness care and quick intervention on illnesses, forcing them to wait until they’re very sick to see a doctor. And even that might be not so bad, considering how often people fill waiting rooms for cold and flu symptoms that could easily be handled with over-the-counter treatment, but it’s not what the Obama administration and Democrats promised. And it’s certainly not “affordable care.”
As Mona Charen writes, the administration is playing Whac-A-Mole in their approach to Obamacare.
The president and his secretary of HHS seem to be playing a federal version of Whac-A-Mole. No sooner do they bat at one problem with the law than another pops up.

This isn't just a problem with Obamacare. It's a dangerous new level of government by decree. Adhering to the rule of law isn't just a tradition -- it is the essence of American liberty and success. Nations without it (look at Egypt, Venezuela or Russia) have difficulty achieving stability and prosperity even though they are blessed with natural resources and other advantages.

Obamacare has thrown one-sixth of the economy into chaos -- with results that are still incalculable. It's even more dangerous that Obama has undermined the rule of law and gotten away with it.

Reality or satire?
A&E is now cancelling “Duck Dynasty” and replacing it with a new show about life in the White House. It will be called “Duck Responsibility.”

It seems like those advertising Obamacare have had a tough time appealing to their audiences. First there was the ad to appeal to young women by showing a young woman gasping at the sight of a supposedly hot young guy and exclaiming, “OMG, he’s hot! 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. I got insurance.” Thus, they managed to imply that women are such featherheads that all they care about are hot guys and getting it on with the free birth control that Obama is providing them. And the Pajama Boy campaign is so ludicrous that some on the right wondered if we were being trolled by such an obviously lame tweet. And now it there is the Get Enrolled campaign to appeal to gay men by having muscular guys sing over and over "Get Enrolled" without providing any information since even its creator thinks that lighthearted "self-deprecating stereotypes" are the way to appeal to the LGBT community. Can't they appeal to any of their target audiences on at least a semi-adult level? And if the argument is that these audiences don't need or won't pay attention to appeals to their reason, what does that say about how much they need Obamacare? Isn't the story really that Obamacare needs them - to pay for the health care for older and sicker people? So entice the young with silly ads that wouldn't pass muster for selling sneakers, candy, or fast food, and hope those targeted will be too oblivious to notice what a bad deal they're being given.

The Washington Post looks at how more and more states are falling to single-party control, leading to quite divergent policies being adapted. I'm all for it. Let the experiments in policy go forth. At some point, we'll be able to disaggregate the results and see which policies succeed.

Kyle Smith details the disgusting tale of how political correctness humiliated Navy SEALS who captured an al Qaeda leader who had killed four Americans.

Robert Samuelson looks back at some fun statistics from 2013.

I'm with Mark Cuban - the NBA Christmas short-sleeved jerseys were pretty ugly. And not because they were too tight. They were just ugly for basketball jerseys.