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.

Nov
07
2014
3

King v. Burwell is *not* a major constitutional challenge to Obamacare.

Which is why the plaintiffs might win.

Background here (via here): the short version is that the Supreme Court has decided to hear arguments on King v. Burwell (which is effectively the same as Halbig v. Burwell).  For those who don’t remember, the underlying issue is whether Obamacare actually gives the President the ability to provide subsidies to people who use state-sponsored Obamacare exchanges AND the federally-provided one, or whether the law only permits subsidies for users of the state exchanges.  The administration’s defenders, apologists, and sycophants have been arguing that it’s all due to a typo or a technicality… and in the face of some compelling counter-arguments (and not a few amused head-shakes), including some inadvertent coutner-arguments from those who helped create the legislation in the first place.

Anyway, regarding the actual scope of the case; this is a very important point that was made by Philip Klein.  Assuming the court found for plaintiffs:

…Instead, [the Supreme Court would] merely be ruling that the administration wasn’t following Obamacare as written.

[snip]

The case now before the court is not making a constitutional claim that Congress doesn’t have the power to pass federal exchange subsidies, but merely that the statute they wrote did not authorize such subsidies

…And the remedy for that claim is very simple. If it truly was the intent of Congress to give the administration the power to provide Obamacare subsidies even in states that did not set up a healthcare exchange, then the Court can simply send the matter back to Congress and have them add whatever authorizations Congress desires to the law. There! Problem solved.

(more…)

Sep
30
2014
--

Pruitt v. Burwell gets decided against government, starting up the #Obamacare subsidy rodeo again.

Here is the state of play:

Today’s ruling was in Pruitt v. Burwell, a case brought by Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt.

These cases saw two appellate-court rulings on the same day, July 22. In Halbig v. Burwella three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered the administration to stop. (The full D.C. Circuit has agreed to review the case en banc on December 17, a move that automatically vacates the panel ruling. In King v. Burwell, the Fourth Circuit implausibly gave the IRS the thumbs-up. (The plaintiffs have appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court.) A fourth case, Indiana v. IRS, brought by Indiana attorney general Greg Zoeller, goes to oral arguments in federal district court on October 9.

Today, federal judge Ronald A. White issued a ruling in Pruitt that sided with Halbig against King, and eviscerated the arguments made by the (more senior) judges who sided with the government in those cases.

(more…)

Aug
27
2014
--

Rep. Andy Harris (R, Maryland): oh, yeah, the feds are doing subpoenas over Maryland #Obamacare exchange.

I should note that I have no personal knowledge that this is going on

A Maryland Congressman says subpoenas are being issued in a federal investigation into Maryland’s health exchange. He believes there was fraud in the system that cost taxpayers millions but didn’t work right at the start.

[snip]

Congressman Andy Harris says there appears to be evidence of fraud. He is Maryland’s only Republican in Congress and has fought Obamacare. But this investigation—if it’s happening—is being conducted by what is supposed to be a non-political government agency.

(more…)

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