I am almost in awe.
Where the Obama administration gets its ideas. http://t.co/kgly99buY3
— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) April 17, 2014
I’ve been waiting for Megan McArdle to cook off over the news that the administration just casually made it impossible to assess the effects of Obamacare on insurance rates; and hoo, boy, but she’s unhappy.
I’m speechless. Shocked. Stunned. Horrified. Befuddled. Aghast, appalled, thunderstruck, perplexed, baffled, bewildered and dumbfounded. It’s not that I am opposed to the changes: Everyone understands that the census reports probably overstate the true number of the uninsured, because the number they report is supposed to be “people who lacked insurance for the entire previous year,” but people tend to answer with their insurance status right now.
But why, dear God, oh, why, would you change it in the one year in the entire history of the republic that it is most important for policy makers, researchers and voters to be able to compare the number of uninsured to those in prior years? The answers would seem to range from “total incompetence on the part of every level of this administration” to something worse.
There are a lot of people in the health care pundit business who are screaming about this piece of news right now: “The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.” Basically, the questions have been changed in a fashion that supposedly will make the census data collected more accurate, but will almost certainly bring in a result where the percentage of uninsured will be ‘officially’ deemed to be lower. As the New York Times (rather glumly*) had ‘officials’ put it: “it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument.”
Funny how that works. (more…)
The video itself is of interest (short version: local Maryland supermarket won’t hire more people, thanks to Obamacare):
…but it’s this screen shot from the clip that makes me feel all warm, fuzzy, and productive:
Megan McArdle finished up her article on Vermont’s single-payer woes by pretty much saying that, but I already knew it anyway. The basic problem? It’s going to cost at least $1.6 billion a year (or about 59% of Vermont’s current annual budget)… and there’s no way to pay for it except via massive tax hikes. Megan notes that Vermont’s taxes aren’t actually high at all right now, and that implementing single-payer would immediately skyrocket that state’s rate to the highest in the country. And then she got puckish:
Now, you can argue that people should be glad to make this trade-off, not just for peace of mind, but because they will trade higher taxes for lower (no) insurance premiums. You can also argue that poor people in America should be laughing and dancing and singing all day because every one of them is economically better off than starving farmers in drought-ridden regions of Africa. Neither argument will do you much good, however, because that’s not how people think.
We are pretty much at the “marvelous cynicism” part of the Obama era arc at this point: the punditocracy has stopped taking the President seriously and has started to visibly not care if he likes the way that they talk about him. I mention this, not because Charles Krauthammer has ever been shy about knocking a Democrat, but because he is increasingly losing his status as a voice in the wilderness in that regard. Expect more people to be this casually dismissive in the future:
Well, isn’t that cozy.
Background: this is from a 2009 judgement by the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals on an appeal by tech firm Accenture alleging a most traditional conflict of interest in a job bid process (a process that Accenture lost, and a firm called ACS won): “According to Appellant, [then-Chief Information Officer for the Maryland Department of Human Resources] Ms. [Isabel] FitzGerald is married to a Mr. Paul FitzGerald who Accenture claims “is a Principal at the firm Deloitte, LLP, and ACS identified Deloitte as a subcontractor for ACS on this procurement.”” Turns out that the appeals court didn’t buy that argument. OK.
Now let us fast forward to 2014. The existing Maryland state exchange is collapsing, and the state is desperate to salvage what they can from the wreck: “…the board overseeing Maryland’s health exchange voted unanimously Tuesday to ask federal officials for their approval — and $40 million to $50 million more in funding — to hire Deloitte Consulting to replicate its work on the exchange in Connecticut.” And, yes, Mr. Fitzgerald is still at Deloitte. And where is Mrs. Fitzgerald? Still the MD DHR CIO?
Or, as Erick Erickson put it: the Democrats are conceding that they’re going to lose the Senate.
Can’t say that I have a much more complex opinion than It’s about time. The woman was horrible at her job. I just wish that she had been more of a patriot and resigned in 2009, instead of staying to fight for Obamacare.
Why Danielle Kimberly’s quality of life has been degraded:
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.
Why things will not get better for Ms. Kimberly:
I remain grateful for the Affordable Care Act…
No, no, NO. Also: why is she grateful for Obamacare? It hasn’t done a single thing for her! And it won’t, because the Democrats don’t have to do anything for her! She’ll thank them anyway! If she wants them to do something for her, then she should start saying things like I’m voting for the other guy in the next election. They’ll listen to that, ya, you betcha. (more…)
I hope Nancy Pelosi stays House Minority Leader until the day she dies: “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., brushed off former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ prediction that Obamacare’s twice-delayed employer mandate will never take effect by suggesting he is being paid to talk down the law that he touted as it moved through Congress.”
…I mean, don’t get me wrong: I got no particular love or respect for Robert Gibbs. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to hear that he’s a trained seal for whoever cuts the checks. But I imagine that a Venn diagram would show considerable overlap between Robert Gibbs’ Customers and People Who Give Money to Democrats: I find it odd that Nancy Pelosi apparently wants to make that area smaller. Odd, but highly amusing.
Via… somebody on Twitter, sorry.
Why? Oh, the usual reason: the federal government swooped in and slapped a bunch of extra requirements on an existing state-run program, thus automatically invalidating the current policies. As is typical in these cases, the parties involved were not able to work out how to get around the problem – kids don’t give money to Democrats, so there was of course no Obamacare exemption given in return – and so 1,800 kids have lost their coverage and the parents now have to scramble to keep their children insured. Oh, and a special wrinkle: this program was for people who made too much money for Medicaid, but were still having trouble buying policies on their own. That means that there’s going to be no subsidies for them, in this brave new healthcare world that has been inflicted upon us by the Democratic party.
But hey, remember: no child of a federal Democratic official was harmed by this policy – and New Jersey will probably not vote for the Republican candidate in 2016 – so from Barack Obama’s point of view there’s actually no problem. Guess those parents shouldn’t have deluded themselves into thinking that they were real, huh? (more…)