Monday, December 09, 2013

Cruising the Web

The Google Doodles fascinate me. I enjoy seeing what quirky connection the folks at Google can come up with. After all, every day is the anniversary of something or someone famous's birth or death. But I have started to notice what anniversaries they seem loath to commemorate. First it was the 150 anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Then I noticed that they had nothing about Pearl Harbor for December 7. But today, we can learn that it's the 107th anniversary of computer programmer Grace Hopper's birth.

Of course, Google could just follow the White House's policy of commemorating historic events with pictures of...President Obama.

Bradley Smith explains how the IRS is once again trying to get into the job of political regulation. It's all part of the Democratic Party's efforts to silence conservative critics. Something similar is happening in California as the Democrats are trying to stop Republicans from exposing the problems with California's Healthcare Exchange.

FSU's Famous Jameis should be glad that the rape allegations against him didn't get the treatment that Auburn University inflicted on one student when he was accused of rape. It is becoming common practice for such a student to lose all rights that the Bill of Rights guarantees an accused criminal. Universities don't have to worry about any stinking due process rules.

When the website was totally kaput, the government urged people to sign up with paper applications. Now they're worried that they won't be able to process those applications in time and are discouraging navigators from using them. Perhaps this is good news that the website is all fixed, but the report that it's still experiencing a 10% error rate is not encouraging.

Beware the Medicaid time bomb that Obamacare has created. As those problems as well as the problems with the federal health exchanges grow, expect more and more doctors to refuse to take patients whose insurance comes from Medicaid or the exchanges. In California, estimates are as high as 70% for the percent of doctors refusing to participate in California's health exchange. Doctors are refusing to take patients when the government's reimbursement rate is so much lower than what they can receive from other insurance policies. That is why Kevin Williamson predicts that the next big effort will be to force doctors to take those patients.
As radical as conscription seems, it is logically consistent with the Democrats’ approach to health-care “reform” going back to the Johnson administration, an approach that treats patients and doctors alike as villeins to be apportioned by the lords in Washington. The main obstacle to reducing Medicare and Medicaid spending is the fact that physicians have a choice about whether to participate in the programs. In the long run, the fact that physicians have a choice about whom they see and where they practice is the most significant challenge to the full implementation of Obamacare. The logical thing — politically and economically — is to eliminate that choice. You don’t have to formally nationalize the health-care industry; you just nationalize 40 percent of each physician’s practice and call it his “fair share.”

Doctors, like all licensed professionals, are utterly at the mercy of the state. Obamacare effectively has put the federal government and the states in the insurance business (for the healthy, young, and middle class for the first time), which means that the powers that control physicians’ licensing now have economic interests that are adverse to those of the doctors themselves. It is easy to imagine yet another episode of “fair share” rhetoric being deployed to conscript doctors in trying to make this unworkable mess work. Senator Warren’s totalitarian analysis — that the government has a claim on your property in the present and future because it exerted a claim on the property of others in the past — is entirely applicable here: Ambulances move on public roads, the government supports medical research, etc. You didn’t build that. So here’s your federally mandated portion of money-losing Medicare and Medicaid patients. They won’t call it conscription; they’ll call it shared sacrifice.

That lower unemployment number is not all good news since much of it came from more and more people giving up on looking for a job.

Congressional staffers trying to sign up for health care on DC's insurance exchange are encountering a scam website trying to get their bank checking numbers and ATM pin numbers.

Now that the Senate is coming back into session, the Democrats will be able to push through Obama's judicial and executive branch nominees without worrying about a Republican filibuster. We'll also get to see how far the Republicans want to go to slowing down the workings of the Senate.

One of Obamacare's original planners translates the President's promise about keeping your doctor into the Newspeak of this administration.
Former White House official (and our sometime contributor) Ezekial Emanuel has taken on the thankless task of defending the unpopular law he helped to write, and on "Fox News Sunday" he told host Chris Wallace what the President really meant.

Dr. Emanuel: "The president never said you were going to have unlimited choice of any doctor in the country you want to go to."

Mr. Wallace: "Wait. No. He asked a question. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Did he not say that, sir?"

Dr. Emanuel: "He didn't say you could have unlimited choice."

Mr. Wallace: "It's a simple yes or no question. Didn't he say if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?"

Dr. Emanuel: "Yes. But look, if you want to pay more for an insurance company that covers your doctor, you can do that. This is a matter of choice. We know in all sorts of places you pay more for certain—for a wider range of choices or wider range of benefits. The issue isn't the selective networks. People keep saying, 'Oh, the problem is you're going to have a selective network.'"

Mr. Wallace: "Well, if you lose your doctor or lose your hospital—"

Dr. Emanuel: "Let me just say something. People are going to have a choice as to whether they want to pay a certain amount for a selective network or pay more for a broader network."

Mr. Wallace: "Which means your premiums would probably go up."

Dr. Emanuel: "They get that choice. That's a choice you've always made."
Ah, so that is the kind of choice that Obama was really promising us - the choice to pay more for a plan that doesn't allow you to use your doctor unless you want to pay more on top of what you're already paying for Obamacare.

Even MSM reporters are getting tired of Jay Carney's increasingly lame efforts at obfuscation. ABC and NBC White House reporters refused to take his attempts to pretend that President Obama had held private meetings with Kathleen Sebelius that had somehow repeatedly failed to make it onto any visitor log of the President's activities. The problem is that the President is damned if he did or if he didn't meet with her.
It is fairly obvious that the White House is hoping to two-step this story into oblivion before they are put into a position of having to answer a question with no good answers. Either the president was derelict in his duty beyond comprehension in not meeting with the cabinet secretary in charge of remaking one-sixth of the American economy, or he indeed did meet frequently with Sebelius, which only begs another question…

We now know that Sebelius was warned in April that was behind schedule and would not be ready in time to be properly tested for a national roll-out. We have also been told that the president was caught completely off guard by the site's collapse, and that his first hint that there was a problem came a few days after the site launched.
If the two met frequently, as the White House now claims, that just doesn't add up. How is it that Sebelius met frequently with the president but never once warned or informed him about the potential for catastrophe?
I don't know why anyone would want to be an administration spokesman. Is Carney truly happy that he left his position at Time Magazine to do this everyday?

Charles C.W. Cooke examines the alternative universe of MSNBC. It's really a whole network devoted to projection of their own approach to media onto Republicans.

The President is still peddling a false narrative on the IRS scandal.