Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cruising the Web

When you hear Democrats claim that Obamacare has expanded health coverage, think again.
What we’ve learned is that the Obamacare gains in coverage were largely a result of the Medicaid expansion and that most of the gain in private coverage through the government exchanges was offset by a decline in employer-based coverage. In other words, it is likely that most of the people who got coverage through the exchanges were already insured.
Claiming to expand Medicaid while leading millions to lose their employer-provided insurance wouldn't have had the same appeal as pretending that the law would provide coverage for those who do not have health insurance, would it?

Heather MacDonald explores how the public-health establishment has been more interested in social-justice issues rather than true health issues.

Gosh, I'm going to miss Senator Tom Coburn. He has always seemed as a straight shooter and we'll miss his publication of an annual "Wastebook" detailing government waste. Here are some examples from his final "Wastebook."
The first example cited in the report is the millions spent on what one attorney called the government’s “dirty little secret”: paid administrative leave for troublesome employees. Workers who were placed on leave for disciplinary reasons, such as misconduct, security concerns or criminal issues, received $20 million while on leave this year.

These workers, according to Coburn, were essentially on a paid vacation that can last for months or years. The GAO also detailed this phenomenon in a report Monday. According to the GAO, during a three-year period more than 57,000 employees were placed on leave for 30 days or more, costing taxpayers $775 million in salary alone.

Another wasteful project with a big price tag is the Pentagon’s plan to destroy $16 billion in military-grade ammunition that it deems no longer useful. Sounds pricey, right? Well add in the fact that on top of that, the feds plan to spend $1 billion just to destroy the ammo.

“The amount of surplus ammunition is now so large that the cost of destroying it will equal the full years’ salary for over 54,000 Army privates,” the report notes.

So why is Obama always surprised when the government is involved in a scandal or proves itself to be incompetent?
The president and his staff have seemed flat-footed, reactive, surprised, and at the mercy of outside events rather than in command of them. That has contributed to an abject feeling of powerlessness emanating from the West Wing—one augmented by the administration's own insistence at times that its reach is limited, that there was little it could to do to ease this summer's border crisis, or push Vladimir Putin back into Russia, or protect towns under threat from Islamic State forces.

So Obama was "madder than hell" when he learned about the patient backlogs at the Veterans Administration, aides said. He was angry when he was told about the problems with the federal health care website. He was mad when he found out that the Internal Revenue Service was targeting nonprofit political-advocacy groups....

One could argue that Obama, like many presidents before him (think George W. Bush and Hurricane Katrina), has been let down by the sprawling and largely unmanageable federal bureaucracy. After all, we don't expect our presidents to be omniscient or omnipresent. But sometimes Obama's surprises have been of his own making—dating back to the first days of his presidency.

Interesting - an anti-immigration amnesty group is running an ad in Louisiana aimed at African-Americans saying that Obama's plan to give amnesty for illegal aliens would hurt African-Americans looking for jobs.

Ira Stoll hypothesizes what is behind Paul Krugman's criticism of Amazon.

Robert Tracinski writes, "No one expects the Secular Inquisition."

"Democrats may run, but President Obama won't let them hide." He is so solipsistic that he can't keep from inserting himself into elections where Democrats are trying to keep him out.

Ross Douthat writes about how conspiracy theories about government have trouble taking hold of people's imaginations because we have a hard time thinking that the government would be competent enough to run such a conspiracy.
I suspect that’s part of why Obama-era scandals that may actually involve secret government machinations — from the N.S.A. revelations to
the harassment of journalists and the politicized overreach of Lois Lerner’s I.R.S. division — haven’t fixed themselves in the public imagination, at least among people who don’t have an explicit ideological or political interest at stake. Wisely or not, Americans have trouble imagining the White House
that gave us the rollout micromanaging partisan I.R.S. chicanery, or the national security bureaucracy that couldn’t see 9/11 or the Islamic State coming doing anything all that Machiavellian with a firehose’s worth of online data.Likewise with Ebola: Of course you can find wild conspiracy theories, but the idea of a successful government cover-up — secret body bags, muzzled journalists — is basically laughable. Instead, the baseline anxiety is all about bureaucratic incompetence exacerbated by insouciance, with conservatives fearing that a liberal administration won’t be willing to go far enough — in terms of travel restrictions and quarantines — to effectively
contain the disease’s spread.

The true story behind Senator Hagan's votes benefiting her husband's business is worse than we thought.

Apparently, there were successful tests of an Ebola vaccine, but the efforts were abandoned after promising tests in 2008.

Good not to have to worry about this: "President of Belarus declares country's sausage is free of toilet paper"
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