Jan
14
2015
6

White House remarkably blase about upcoming #obamacare subsidy case. Stupidly so, in my opinion.

This seems… unwise of the administration: “President Barack Obama is not sweating about the federal exchange subsidies. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) says that at a roundtable discussion with congressional leaders he asked Obama why the administration hasn’t informed the public that subsidies are an endangered species. The president replied that he doesn’t anticipate the need for a contingency plan.” I mean, it’s not like the Obama administration has a great track record here when it comes to predicting what the Supreme Court will do with Obamacare.   (more…)

Jan
05
2015
8

Harvard bitten by the Obamacare monster it helped spawn.

Hope that you don’t have an allergy to schadenfreude, because this is the pure stuff: ” For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.”  Turns out that adding mandatory procedures and extra coverage costs money; so does the ‘Cadillac tax’ on high-end plans like Harvard’s.  So Harvard went and passed those extra costs to policy holders – like everybody else did – and said policy holders are, well, freaking out.

Seriously: to quote Oscar Wilde’s famous witticism, you would need to have a heart of stone not to laugh at the way Harvard professors are reacting to the news that they now have deductables and out-of-pocket limits and co-pays and all the rest of it.  And it just gets funnier and funnier, the farther down you get.  I personally lost it when I read this bit (bolding mine) : “Some Harvard employees have said they will gladly accept a narrower network of health care providers if it lowers their costs. But Harvard’s ability to create such networks is complicated by the fact that some of Boston’s best-known, most expensive hospitals are affiliated with Harvard Medical School. To create a network of high-value providers, Harvard would probably need to exclude some of its own teaching hospitals, or discourage their use.” It’s the consternation at it all.  It’s like Harvard academics thought that there was a line, and they were on the right side of that line, and it was just the people that they didn’t care for who would have to deal with any minor consequences arising from the adoption of Obamacare.  Well, guess what? Turns out that we’re all just Bozos on this bus… and that includes the Bozos over at Harvard University. (more…)

Jan
03
2015
5

Millions of Obamacare subsidy recipients may need to pay back-taxes.

The problem for Democrats is not exactly this: “As many as 3.4 million people who received Obamacare subsidies may owe refunds to the federal government, according to an estimate by a tax preparation firm… H&R Block is estimating that as many as half of the 6.8 million people who received insurance premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act benefited from subsidies that were too large, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.” Although it’s definitely going to be a problem: ‘several million people suddenly discovering that they now owe back taxes to the government over Obamacare’ is not exactly a good scenario, especially if you belong to the political party that set that scenario up in the first place. But it’s still not the worst thing for Democrats.

No, the problem for Democrats here is that this is going to happen every year. The system is more or less designed to assume that people would twiddle with their coverage on a regular basis: as plans changed, improved, or degraded the consumer would be obligated to follow suit, in order to keep the subsidy.  This sounds perfectly reasonable… if you’re not the one doing it.  But out in the real world?  Well, I’ve written about this before: (more…)

Dec
19
2014
1

Vermont abandons single-payer plan. As we told you they would.

No, seriously.  Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont (Democrat, mind you) finally gave his state’s proposed single-payer health care system the axe because there was no way to pay for it.  Well, OK, there was: “Tax hikes required to pay for the system would include a 11.5 percent payroll tax as well as an additional income tax ranging all the way up to 9.5 percent. ”  But there was no way that that would fly among Vermont voters.

…which is what Megan McArdle and I both said last spring. It’s the perennial problem Obamacare (and state exchange) supporters face: if they were upfront about the costs, they’d never have gotten the various laws passed.  But the problem with kicking the can down the road is that eventually you run out of road.  There isn’t the money for single-payer, and there’s the only the interest in getting it when single-payer supporters don’t talk about the money.  And, as you can see from the Daily Carter article: the second you do start talking about the money politicians start to back right up.

Last note.  Peter Shumlin is not yet officially won his governor’s race: since there wasn’t a majority, the results are going to get tossed into the state legislature.  I’m sure that Shumlin doesn’t think that trying to push ahead with double-digit tax hikes would have said legislature ready to give his opponent the election. And neither do I.  But I also think that Shumlin doesn’t know that a sufficiently infuriated legislature wouldn’t do that, either.  …And neither do I.

Via Battleswarm Blog.

Dec
10
2014
4

The problem with Obamacare is not that it is called ‘Obamacare.’

(H/T: @seanhackbarth) Kathleen Sebelius, of course, has this precisely backwards.

Sebelius, who resigned in April following the botched roll out of President Barack Obama’s signature health law, said that current issues involving the Affordable Care Act have to do with its commonly used name.

“Obamacare, no question, has a very bad brand that has been driven intentionally by a lot of misinformation and a lot of paid advertising,” Sebelius said.

Obamacare didn’t fail because people said mean things about it. People said mean things about it because Obamamcare failed. I will acknowledge that people were saying bad things about Obamacare before it failed, but that doesn’t mean that we caused it to fail.  It means that we were very smart people who could see the train wreck coming long before the train wreck actually occurred.

I’m sorry (actually: no, I’m not) that Kathleen Sebelius wrecked her political career and reputation for the sake of a pathetically bad health care rationing system.  She should take some comfort (actually, I don’t care if she does or not) in knowing that she’s not exactly the only person in this position: many a Democrat has been blighted by this mad obsession with validating Hillarycare after the fact.

What? I thought that the Democrats wanted to force a name change. Fine.  We’ll go back into history to find one, then.

(more…)

Dec
09
2014
9

Trey Gowdy was (justifiably) brutal here when it came to Jon Gruber.

Six and a half minutes of Jon Gruber being picked up by his own self-regard, and then being mercilessly slammed hard into the ground. …That’s it. That’s what happened.

Jon Gruber will never work in This Town again.

Dec
06
2014
4

Put ‘HHS Adviser’ on Jon Gruber’s nameplate at the Oversight hearings next week.

Now, isn’t this special.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is asking lawmakers not to seat ObamaCare consultant Jonathan Gruber next to Medicare’s top official when the two testify on Capitol Hill next week.

HHS Assistant Secretary for Legislation Jim Esquea wrote to the House Oversight Committee with the request, stating that government witnesses are “almost always afforded an opportunity” to sit alone or with other federal officials.

(more…)

Nov
25
2014
5

Chuck Schumer quietly starts distancing Democrats from Obama for 2016.

I’m just going to summarize it: Senator Chuck Schumer today ever-so-casually indicated that working first on Obamacare was a mistake; that, in fact, Congress should have instead worked on pretty much anything else besides Obamacare; and that Sen. Schumer himself opposed starting first on Obamacare, but all those Obama supporters in the Obama administration were so adamant that Obamacare be put in place right away.  Also: how about that absent-from-the-Obamacare-debate Hillary Clinton, huh?  You know what her middle name isn’t?  That’s right: Obamacare.

I’m being mean, I know*.  But if Chuck Schumer is useful for any one thing it’s in determining just how toxic a politician and/or government program can be.  Based on this article, Barack Obama and his signature** political accomplishment are quite toxic indeed.  And it’s not even 2015 yet!  If Barack Obama’s a lame duck now, imagine how useless he’s going to be a year from now***. (more…)

Nov
23
2014
3

There’s actually a pretty big silver lining in that Obamacare cloud.

This AoSHQ piece from a couple of days ago actually makes me a bit chipper.  Why? Because of that Gallup graph.

You see, it’s an interesting thing: since 2000, Gallup has been polling on the question on whether or not Americans think that the federal government has the responsibility to ensure health care coverage. In 2009, the breakdown for that was 54/41; and today the number is… 56/42. Well, more accurately, it’s 42/56. Because back when Barack Obama took office a majority of the American people were happy to have the government involved in ensuring health care access; and now that the government has a majority of the American people would like the government to stop now, please.

…Oops?

Moe Lane

Nov
22
2014
5

HHS contemplating rule allowing them to choose your Obamacare plan for you.

At this rate, the 2016 DEMOCRATIC candidate will run on repealing Obamacare:

Here’s a Friday Obamacare news-dump for you: In a 300-page regulatory proposal released late this afternoon, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it is considering changing Obamacare’s auto-renewal rules so that, within the health law’s exchanges, instead of being automatically renewed into your current health plan, you’d be moved into the lowest cost plan from the same service tier.

Essentially, this is insurance-determination-via-bureaucracy: Reason argues that the goal here is to cut down embarrassing premium hikes to policies without having to turn off the imposition of auto-renewal rules… OK, let me back up here.  Obamacare currently has auto-renewal enabled on its policies, because without it the signup and membership rate would probably slow, or even decrease.  The problem here is that auto-renewal also means lots and lots of future stories about people signing up for policies and suddenly discovering that their rates have gone through the roof.  Ostensibly the idea to prevent that is to expect consumers to change policies every year – trust a bureaucrat to think that this would be a thing that people would cheerfully do* – and if they won’t do it on their own, well, let the benevolent hand of HHS do it for them**.  What could possibly go wrong? (more…)

Nov
15
2014
3

A reminder: Jon Gruber was used to attack Romney for Romneycare.

John Dickerson of Slate drills down on why Jon Gruber is such an awkward ally for the Obama administration, and hits the nerve:

Before he was causing problems for the Obama administration, the Obama team was using Gruber to unsettle Mitt Romney. In the 2012 campaign, Obama’s camp was claiming that the Massachusetts health care plan was the intellectual model for Obamacare, just as Romney was trying to disavow it. Gruber was essential to this case. In a video produced by the Obama campaign celebrating the anniversary of “Romneycare,” Gruber says, “I helped Gov. Romney develop his health care reform or Romneycare, before going down to Washington to help President Obama develop his national version of that law.” The spot includes old footage of Romney thanking Gruber for his work on the Massachusetts health bill. “The core of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare and what we did in Massachusetts are identical,” Gruber says. The MIT professor was such an important part of the creation of Obamacare that his association with Romney’s effort proved the link between the two programs. If that involvement in Obamacare was sufficient to condemn Romney in 2012, it’s sufficient enough for Republicans to raise it now over Gruber’s claims about the Affordable Care Act. What’s Gruber for the goose, is Gruber for the gander.

(more…)

Nov
14
2014
1

Oh, Ted Cruz’s Jon Gruber-Obamacare video is choice.

As is some of the epic-level butthurt in some of the responses. But, hey, we’ve all done that. …Yes, even you.

Moe Lane

PS: Always assume cameras. ALWAYS assume cameras.

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