Friday, May 16, 2014

Cruising the Web

Many people are finding what it means to their own lives that President Obama lied When he told us over and over again that, if we like our doctors, we'll be able to keep their doctors.
Before the law took effect, experts warned that narrow networks could impact patients' access to care, especially in cheaper plans. But with insurance cards now in hand, consumers are finding their access limited across all price ranges — sometimes even after they were told their plan would include their current doctor.

Michelle Pool is one of those customers. Before enrolling in a new health plan on California's exchange, she checked whether her longtime primary care doctor was covered. Pool, a 60-year-old diabetic who has had back surgery and a hip replacement, purchased the plan only to find that the insurer was mistaken.

Her $352 a month gold plan was cheaper than what she'd paid under her husband's insurance and seemed like a good deal because of her numerous pre-existing conditions. But after her insurance card came in the mail, the Vista, California resident learned her doctor wasn't taking her new insurance.

"It's not fun when you've had a doctor for years and years that you can confide in and he knows you," Pool said. "I'm extremely discouraged. I'm stuck."
I like that reference to how experts warned us this would happen. Yup, that happened over and over again for all aspects of Obamacare, but those experts were ignored as conservative partisans by both the Democrats and the media. And now too many Americans are discovering this new reality. One writer at Ebony Magazine writes about her experience trying to find a doctor covered by her new insurance under Obamacare. She still likes the Affordable Care Act but now wants the government to do something to reverse the basic economic truth that doctors aren't going to take all these new Medicaid patients just as experts warned before the law was passed.
As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.
My shiny, never used Horizon health card is as effective as a dollar bill during the Great Depression. In fact, an expert tells CNN, “I think of (Obamacare) as giving everyone an ATM card in a town where there are no ATM machines.” According to a study 33% of doctors are NOT accepting Medicaid. Here in Jersey, one has a dismal 40 percent chance of finding a doctor who accepts Medicaid – the lowest in the country.
It didn't take experts to realize that, when we had a shortage of doctors taking Medicaid patients before Medicaid was expanded under Affordable Care Act.

Well, remember that one insurance executive said that "We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has." Well, now people don't have any choice at all of a doctor. Ninety-six to nothing is not a choice. And this is happening all over the country.

In California:
Ben Rosenthal was treated for prostate cancer four years ago and had gallbladder surgery the year before that. A former manager at a market-research firm in Los Angeles, Rosenthal, 57, paid for his own health insurance. Last fall, when his plan was discontinued because it didn’t meet standards set by the Affordable Care Act, Rosenthal bought the best insurance coverage he could find, a top-tier “platinum” policy from Blue Shield of California that costs $792 a month. He figured it would provide access to top hospitals. Then in February he learned the plan wouldn’t cover the hospitals where he was used to being treated.

In New York:
The sickest customers tend to be the most upset, like Abigail List, a 53-year-old therapist in Manhattan, who said she had to choose one of the most expensive plans, costing $300 more a month than others, so she could have coverage for her longtime cancer doctors at NYU-Langone Medical Center. “I’m being railroaded, that’s why I’m so furious,” Ms. List said.

The most prestigious and specialized hospitals tend to take the fewest plans on the exchange. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the renowned cancer hospital, takes only two exchange plans for individuals, Health Republic and Oscar.

“It’s fairly difficult to take the pricing that some of the other insurers on the exchanges are proposing,” said John Gunn, the chief operating officer for Sloan-Kettering. “It was way below our cost of providing the service.”

In Kentucky:
Rebecca Stewart had a chance to take her concerns about Obamacare directly to the top.

The Covington mother of two in an online chat on Jan. 31 asked President Barack Obama how he would fix the conflicting information she’s received about her health care.

She told the president she won’t be able to keep her health care plan but wants to keep the specialist at Cincinnati Children’s hospital that treats her 10-year-old son.

“I’m probably not the only one who has had really a panicked experience lately trying to figure out how my 10-year-old son can continue with his specialists,” Stewart said. “I know I can’t keep my plan, which I liked, but as I’m trying to decide what to do going forward, I’ve spent weeks, with days on the phone getting confidently delivered wrong answers, conflicting information, it’s becoming quite obvious to me a lot of agencies, almost everyone I talk to, is having a lot of trouble figuring out the new rules.”
Well, all she'll get is a promise from the President that he's working on that. Yeah, that's a big help. He ignored the warnings so that he could push through his poorly designed reform of our health-insurance industry and now ordinary people, who were satisfied with their coverage before, are the ones to pay. He refused to work with Republicans who wanted to design a much narrower plan targeted for those people who were uninsured rather than remake the entire system and now goes around the country complaining that Republicans don't want to work with him. And the country must deal with what Obama has done.

Chuck Todd claims that all questions on Benghazi have been answered. Guy Benson takes him to schoolby posing a couple dozen questions that have not yet been answered.

Kirsten Powers, who is turning into one of the most honest liberals out there, takes her side of the spectrum to task for what she calls a new "Dark Ages" run by the thought police who want to silence anyone with whom they disagree.
How ironic that the persecutors this time around are the so-called intellectuals. They claim to be liberal while behaving as anything but. The touchstone of liberalism is tolerance of differing ideas. Yet this mob exists to enforce conformity of thought and to delegitimize any dissent from its sanctioned worldview. Intolerance is its calling card....

Don't bother trying to make sense of what beliefs are permitted and which ones will get you strung up in the town square. Our ideological overlords have created a minefield of inconsistency. While criticizing Islam is intolerant, insulting Christianity is sport. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is persona non grata at Brandeis University for attacking the prophet Mohammed. But Richard Dawkins describes the Old Testament God as "a misogynistic … sadomasochistic … malevolent bully" and the mob yawns. Bill Maher calls the same God a "psychotic mass murderer" and there are no boycott demands of the high-profile liberals who traffic his HBO show.

The self-serving capriciousness is crazy. In March, University of California-Santa Barbara women's studies professor Mireille Miller-Young attacked a 16-year-old holding an anti-abortion sign in the campus' "free speech zone" (formerly known as America). Though she was charged with theft, battery and vandalism, Miller-Young remains unrepentant and still has her job. But Mozilla's Brendan Eich gave a private donation to an anti-gay marriage initiative six years ago and was ordered to recant his beliefs. When he wouldn't, he was forced to resign from the company he helped found.

Got that? A college educator with the right opinions can attack a high school student and keep her job. A corporate executive with the wrong opinions loses his for making a campaign donation. Something is very wrong here.

As the mob gleefully destroys people's lives, its members haven't stopped to ask themselves a basic question: What happens when they come for me? If history is any guide, that's how these things usually end.
Charles Krauthammer has an interesting column trying to distinguish when tweeting outrage is useful and when it's just sanctimonious preening.
Mass schoolgirl kidnapping in Nigeria — to tweet or not to tweet? Is hashtagging one’s indignation about some outrage abroad an exercise in moral narcissism or a worthy new way of standing up to bad guys?

The answer seems rather simple. It depends on whether you have the power to do something about the outrage in question. If you do, as in the case of the Obama administration watching Russia’s slow-motion dismemberment of Ukraine, it’s simply embarrassing when the State Department spokeswoman tweets the hashtag #UnitedForUkraine.

That is nothing but preening, a visual recapitulation of her boss’s rhetorical fatuousness when he sternly warns that if the rape of this U.S. friend continues, we are prepared to consider standing together with the “international community” to decry such indecorous behavior — or some such.

When a superpower, with multiple means at its disposal, reverts to rhetorical emptiness and hashtag activism, it has betrayed both its impotence and indifference. But if you’re an individual citizen without power, if you lack access to media, drones or special forces, then hashtagging your solidarity with the aggrieved is a fine gesture and perhaps even more.

The mass tweet is, after all, just the cyber equivalent of the mass petition. And people don’t sneer at petitions. Historically, they’ve been a way for individuals, famous or anonymous, to make their views known and, by weight of number, influence authorities who, in democratic societies, might respond to such expressions of popular sentiment.

The hashtag campaign for the Nigerian girls — originated in Nigeria by Nigerians — was meant to do exactly that: pressure the Nigerian government to respond more seriously to the kidnapping. It has already had this effect. And attention from abroad has helped magnify the pressure.

As always, however, we tend to romanticize the power of the tweet. For a while, Twitter (and other social media) was seen as a game-changer that would empower the masses and invert the age-old relationship between the ruler and ruled.

This is mostly rubbish. Yes, the tweet improves upon the mass petition because tweets contain an instant return address that allows for mass mobilization. People can be summoned to gather together somewhere — Tahrir Square, for example.

At which point, alas, the age-old dynamics of power take hold. If the tyrant, brandishing guns and tanks, is cruel and determined enough, your tweets will mean nothing. Try it at Tahrir or Tiananmen, in Damascus or Tehran. They will shoot and torture you, then maybe even let you keep your precious smartphone.
Read the rest.

Jon Stewart has some fun with the voluminous hypocrisy of Harry Reid. It's quite well done. But then Harry Reid does provide so many opportunities for ridicule.

Matthew Continetti has so much fun with the story of the New York Times firing its first female executive editor. She has gotten out the story that she wasn't paid as much as male editors had been. The Times denies it and the accusations have flown back and forth.
What makes the story so enjoyable, on the most superficial level, is its lurid combination of identity politics—Abramson was the first female editor of the Times, and Baquet is its first African-American editor—and liberal hypocrisy. Equal pay has been one of the rallying cries of the American left, a category that very much includes the New York Times, and the possibility of sexism at the paper is rich indeed. But I have to say I am less interested in equal wages, in comparable worth, and in what the New Yorker calls the “inescapably gendered aspect” of the Times’ latest scandal than I am in how that scandal confirms one of my pet theories. The theory is this: The men and women who own and operate and produce every day the world’s most important newspaper are basically children.

This is the same New York Times that in 2003 admitted, in a multi-thousand-word correction, that it had been harboring, for reasons of political correctness, a serial fabulist who created tales and characters out of imaginative reverie and had seen these fictions published on the front page. This is the same New York Times that in 2005 fired its former Baghdad bureau chief after the paper’s management discovered that she had been emailing the wives of two foreign correspondents to say that they were having affairs. This is the same New York Times whose staffers are engaged in a “semi-open revolt” against op-ed and editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, a “semi-open” rebellion in which propaganda by the deed consists of not sitting at Rosenthal’s lunch table. And yet this is the same New York Times that day after day, in article after article, instructs its readers, and the country, in how to think, how to vote, what to eat, what to wear, who is in, who is out, what is doubleplus, and what is crimethink. The gall.

Gossipy, catty, insular, cliquey, stressful, immature, cowardly, moody, underhanded, spiteful—the New York Times gives new meaning to the term “hostile workplace.” What has been said of the press—that it wields power without any sense of responsibility—is also a fair enough description of the young adult. And it is to high school, I think, that the New York Times is most aptly compared. The coverage of the Abramson firing reads at times like the plot of an episode of Saved By the Bell minus the sex: Someone always has a crazy idea, everyone’s feelings are always hurt, apologies and reconciliations are made and quickly sundered, confrontations are the subject of intense planning and preparation, and authority figures are youth-oriented, well-intentioned, bumbling, and inept. (Links in original)

And this is why Chris Christie is going nowhere in 2016.
Only a few days after news broke that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may punt on a $1.58 billion pension payment, the GOP star and presidential hopeful incurred his state’s sixth credit downgrade in four years. Moody’s has lowered New Jersey’s rating to A1, matching downgrades by two other rating agencies and sticking it with the third-lowest rating among states.
If he doesn't have a "New Jersey Miracle" to run on, what does he have? A few popular youtube videos is not going to be enough.

Awwww. There is something rather awesome about a gubernatorial debate that has to have a 30-second delay because one of the candidates might start cussing.