The strategy of pursuing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, named the ‘Death Panel’, was not the most ideal method for dismantling Obamacare. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, recorded by the Goldwater Institute in Arizona, who described the bureaucratic DC advisory group as prompting seniors’ passings. It was a pointless bit of theater. While the Independent Panel Advisory Board, or IPAB, obliges a supermajority vote in Congress to override its choices and that implies less balanced governance, its choices are truly about adjusting a legislature program – Medicare – with all its standards and regulations, and the passing board moniker appeared a pointless bit of dramatization. Medicare is without a doubt a tremendous piece of human services spending; in 2011 it represented around 47% of inpatient clinic expenses while speaking to around 15% of the populace. What’s more, that is the way it was intended to be; giving state backing of the matured. Who gets it, how they get it and how they pay for it has been a long-standing level headed discussion. Should Medicare be improved? The answer is evident however discovering a harmony between giving human services to seniors, and permitting decision and rivalry to apportion social insurance spending is demonstrating practically outlandish.
The claim will be refiled obviously. The lower courts decided that until the IPAB begins settling on choices any suit is untimely. One trusts that the Goldwater Institute, by hopping the firearm, has not hurt their essential case (the suit was part into two sections: one over the IPAB and the other over a patients right to ‘therapeutic independence’ or the privilege to pick not to have Medicare and to not be fined for taking that choice). On the off chance that the aim was to attract thoughtfulness regarding the IPAB, the case has succeeded. On the off chance that the purpose was to diminish the force of a board that is not sufficiently responsible to Congress, the jury, actually, is out until the IPAB begins settling on a few choices. At that point we can hold up until SCOTUS administers on the new claim which will be recorded sooner or later, and we can include another layer of guidelines and regulations to the brush of those as of now in presence.
There is one nefarious consequence of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare to most, that is not mentioned as much as it should be: the damage to eyesight to anyone actually trying to read even a small portion of the act. For example, consider one relatively modest item under the act; reforms to the Medicare payment system. This entails moving from a fee-for-service reimbursement scheme to a bundled-payments reimbursement scheme. While fee-for-service is reasonably self-explanatory, try wrapping your head around the tantalizing concept of a bundled payment reimbursement scheme: the reimbursement of health-care providers on the basis of expected costs for clinically-defined episodes of care. Essentially, it is a middle ground between fee-for-service and lump-sum payments per patient treated. And those clinically defined episodes of care are usually complex and expensive procedures like heart surgery, obviously important in age-based schemes like Medicare.
The concept started in Texas apparently back in the mid 80’s and various projects since that time claim to have saved HMO’s money, did not cost hospitals money, and paid the surgeon and his or her crew, if you will, additional money. The question is, where did the savings come from? Or more precisely, who lost out on some of that cash? Into whose pocket were those systematic inefficiencies going that bundled payments miraculously moved to all the good guys? Did the insurance companies lose out? Between private insurance, HMO’s, PPO’s, specialists and staff, and patients themselves, not to forget attorneys and their litigation, the collection of players – each with their own strategies and often conflicting goals around literally life and death situations – means healthcare’s complexity is overwhelming and continually increasing. Oh, and that additional player not listed just now, the government. Imposing regulations, handing out subsidies to level a playing field that’s really a dense thicket of data, policy and regulations, and opinions.
Behind all this lurks the economic concept of pooling: Based on your predisposition to certain illnesses as well as your age and other health factors, an insurance company may price your risk and associated payments beyond any reasonable capability for you to pay. The opposing concept is moral hazard and the risk that people will take advantage of any subsidies and demand unnecessary treatments. And any trade-off between these two is essentially a political choice, aside from any real inefficiencies that are actually weeded out by, in this case, a bundled payments system. However, there is a third factor and that’s the ever-expanding technologies, including prescription drugs, that are coming on the market. On the market, meaning the billions, or trillions, spent on R&D have to be recouped. Does this factor get gamed as well? Undoubtedly, but making sure all have fair, (not even Obama’s policy advisers are quite going as far as suggesting equal, as of yet at least), access to healthcare still hits the wall of having to pay for the subsidies both to patients and sometimes to providers and others.
And that means asking how much bang for the buck is Obamacare producing? The CBO projects that over the next decade, Obamacare will increase insurance coverage by a net of around 27 million patients. The cost is projected to be around $ 2 trillion in total for the same time period. That’s slightly more than $74,000 per added patient over a decade. That’s a 2015 Ford F series truck plus a slightly used Toyota Corolla. Or a very nice downpayment on most homes between California and New York City. A not insubstantial amount. Is it worth it? For some, clearly yes. For others, it’s a further invasion of big government in their lives, whether they actually are forced to enter the scheme or merely have to pay for it through their taxes. And remember, we’re talking about a government office estimate. It could be better, or it could be a whole lot worse in 2025.
Will Florida matter as much in 2016 as it did in 2000? We seem to be getting a preview in the bare-knuckles, too-close-to-call race for governor. Incumbent Rick Scott and Democratic challenger Charlie Crist are at it, and it will only get nastier between now and November. That won’t be such a bad thing in fact because one of the central focal points in the mud slinging is Obamacare. Rick Scott built one of the largest healthcare companies in the world, Columbia HCA, and was then forced to resign after a payments scandal with respect to medicare and medicaid that resulted in charges being laid and a $600 million fine being paid. This will be dragged across the stage by Crist’s campaign, but the fact remains that Scott was not personally implicated and no charges were laid against him.
Governor Scott, on the other side, is launching attacks on Obamacare and the flexible – from Republican to Independent to Democrat to staunch Obama ally – Crist’s support for the Affordable Care Act. His attack is based on the fact that Crist’s support for Obamacare is not about liberal principles on the part of the former governor, but rather convenience. He gets the full support of the White House in return for being an unqualified supporter of Obamacare. Whatever party, whatever policy it takes, Charlie Crist wants back in the governor’s office. And Crist seems to be aiming for South Florida’s undecided voters rather than just focus on Central Florida.
That means working on turnout among Democratic voters in South Florida. Does that sound familiar? The primaries that both contenders easily won indicate that voter turnout among Republicans was higher. Not a good sign for Crist’s campaign and hence his focus on South Florida. That means not only talking about Obamacare but also railing about immigration – Rick Scott’s stance on immigration that is. In fact, after winning four years ago with a hard-line stance, Scott has softened on the issue, supporting reduced college tuition for younger illegal immigrants, the so-called dreamers. Crist is also focusing on South Florida because Obama has managed to win there – barely, but win he did – for two consecutive elections, And those staffers that plotted those victories are now available for Crist’s campaign. Tampa, as always, is still key and if Crist can do well there then his chances against Scott improve. Scot will keep hammering with negative ads to ensure Democratic or Independents do not turnout in increased numbers. With Libertarian Adrian Wyllie as a wild card, the election for governor in the sunshine state will be very hard to call. If Crist wins, it will not be what he stands for, but because Democrats are scared that Florida will go the other way in 2016. So they are willing to suspend judgement on who Charlie Crist really is, and vote for the former Republican.
Rates are going up for Obamacare. What a surprise. The Affordable Care Act has as its goals, increasing coverage, reducing costs, improving affordability, and increasing the quality of healthcare. This is an absurd mixture of conflicting goals; but you can’t say that because it’s health care. Even under the – somewhat – more efficient system of private insurance, these goals imply trade-offs. There is no way around this fact in the real world. No amount of intelligent organization – leaving aside the fact that the ACA is less of an improvement and more of an added layer of bureaucratic complexity – can erase this trade-off. How can you possibly increase the quality of healthcare for millions of Americans and not pay for it? How can you increase coverage for patients who either couldn’t afford or were seen as high risk by insurers and not have rate increases to cover at least some of the added cost?
Well you do it by a delicate balancing act that inevitably ends up landing on its backside. The two forces at work here, in economic terms, are pooling and moral hazard. At one end of the spectrum, with a free market solution, insurers are drawn to pooling as the more profitable strategy: lower-risk, healthier patients are accepted while higher risk patients are either not accepted or must pay much higher rates. Moral hazard in this case is very low; patients will not over consume health care services and clog the system. At the other end you have a single payer system that funtions with rationing; you need a hip replacement? WeÂ´ll wait a few years and see if you die first to save on costs. There is little pooling, everyone is in the same state-run boat and have to wait their turn to one day hopefully get the treatment they need. Except government officials of course, who seem to get prompt attention under any system. Moral hazard, the wasteful use of resources because there are no disincentives against wasteful or risky behavior, is very high in this case.
Most health care systems in the developed world are some mixture of these two. That means trade-offs, and managing those trade-offs to produce the result aimed for is no easy matter. In the case of Obamacare, patients are passive recipients. In free market solutions, like those proposed by Dr. Ben Carson, patients can take charge of their health the same way people have learned to do with their retirement savings. It still leaves the problem of catastrophe insurance – a bad accident, a fatal disease – and that is where state subsidies should really focus. But when you launch a boat as big as Obamacare, added decks inevitably get built. The result is titanic, but rather than an iceberg that will sink you in the blink of an eye, what you get is a slowly sinking ship that has to bailed out – both by taxpayers and Obamacare users themselves. Rates are going up? No kidding.
As House Republicans have carefully explained to the press, voters in Virginia are to blame for the lack of a comprehensive alternative plan to Obamacare. With Cantor gone and Kevin McCarthy getting up to speed as the new house majority leader, the best that can be hoped for is some policy principles cobbled together that candidates can campaign around in November. There is a lack of “bandwidth” as David Drucker puts it in the Washington Examiner, meaning, one supposes, that no one McCarthy is hiring as staff will want to touch the issue until some time much later.
I wonder if someone forgot to tell Ben Carson that he lacks bandwidth? There he is touring on his bus without the benefit of a well funded House Majority Leader team of staffers to do all the right polling and tell their boss not to touch the issue. Yes, he is a doctor, but more than that, he has a very clear idea of what health care should look like and is not at all reluctant to articulate it. Turning the question around, would someone like Ben Carson ever make it to House Majority Leader? It is likely the good doctor is not interested in taking that route, and would probably admit that someone like Kevin McCarthy or even Eric Cantor is more suited to the job. It makes you wonder if policy ideas – real ideas on what government should or should not do, and how they should do it – are just not possible late in a mid term election year in the House of Representatives. And mid-summer is late by any election year standard. Unfortunately for that theory, Newt Gingrich and Richard Armey wrote the Contract With America and then introduced it 6 weeks before the 1994 elections, dealing the Clinton Administration it’s first serious electoral defeat. The catalyzing issue? Clinton’s failed 1993 Health Care Reform. Maybe someone on Kevin McCarthy’s staff has a copy of both plans. It would make for useful reading.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence spent over 10 years in the House and had established conservative credentials with many of his policy stances on immigration and family values. The former Tea Party Caucus member now has some conservatives mad over his health care plan for his state that could bring health care to over 450,000 low income uninsured residents. He plans to expand the state’s Healthy Indiana Plan which now covers about 50,000 low income residents. The plan would rely on health care savings plans and patient input according to the governor’s office but what gets conservatives mad is the fact that it will rely on over $16 billion of federal money to pay for its $18 billion cost. Indiana will shell out $1.5 billion. So the question becomes – aside from the balancing act Pence has to play between calling for an end to Obamacare and expanding health care coverage in his own state – do subsidized health savings account promote more efficient use of health care services?
The answer would depend on how Indiana plans to use these so-called health care savings accounts. The essence of a true health savings account is you control how much you save and how much you plan to use now or to set aside for future costs. What strings would be attached in Pence’s plan? When the federal government is contributing about 90& of the costs you can be sure that conditions will be rapidly attached and a whole slew of rules for the benefit of the low income earner will be put into place. Would the governor consider using the health care plans as a way to fund the costs over time – perhaps giving an increasing amount of room for the plans after a certain amount of time – rather than use them as a way to control costs? Or could both approaches work side by side? The answers will tell if Indiana’s plan is an alternative to, or just an extension of, Obamacare.
You can’t help but come away energized after listening to Ben Carson. Energized, not necessarily empowered. His clear and convincing proposal to provide an alternative to Obama’s healthcare plan starts with Health Care Savings Accounts, HSA’s, and makes us realize that the viewer can control his or her medical care to a much greater extent than many think possible. By providing that crucial supplement to a High-Deductible Health Plan, or HDHP, an HSA gives the taxpayer control. Not big government, not big insurance. How much to set side, how and where to spend it: you decide that. You take it from job to job and you roll over any unused amounts at year end. Yes, health is unpredictable and serious illness can be very costly. That’s why HDHP plans exist to essentially provide catastrophic insurance and there are still government and other options to cover any expenses left over. We have accepted the change from defined benefit to defined contributions when it comes to pension plans. And despite a financial crisis and a long recession, that process continues. The problem of making an informed choice applies both in pension plans and HSA’s and likely overwhelms many. But ask yourself; do you want an insurance bureaucrat or government employee limiting your choices or do you want to educate yourself about the options and make a reasonably informed choice? That is taking charge, and that is energizing.
But not necessarily empowering. Where does the term empowering come from? It seems to have its birth in social activism of a century ago, and that means the hard left in most cases. The term was coined in a book by Barbara H (not Barbara Probst Solomon) Solomon, Black Empowerment, published in 1976. In other words, the term empowerment comes from various applications of marxist liberation theory and how it was applied to gender and race and sexual orientation and other groups by left wing radicals trying to find their place in the 70’s. The term appears here to stay as it is adopted in a wider variety of settings, among corporate stakeholders, to use one example. Dr. Ben Carson does not need reminding of any of this; he will surely use the term empowerment. When he does, it means something very different from radical sociologists trying to gain converts. Few of us can match the talents of a brilliant mind like his. But we can share his faith that each of us can work towards solving the challenges in our lives. Reading up a little on his site, SaveOurHealthcare.org is one good one way to start. Dr. Ben Carson, take back empowerment! For all of us.
The first case of MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, has arrived in the U.S.;more specifically, a clinic in the Chicago Area where a health care worker has been hospitalized after a trip to Saudi Arabia. Officials won’t release too many details about the man, but an invited expert on FOX described him as a doctor who had travelled to the peninsula with the express purpose of treating MERS patients. Dr. Ian Lipkiin, a Columbia University MERS expert, stated that it was impossible to isolate the virus over in Saudi Arabia “given the interconnectedness of our world.” So far the virus, which may come from camels or bats, has killed over 100 of the 400 or so patients who have become infected. That’s a very high rate of fatalities, around 30%. The good news is that it appears not to be easily transmitted from patient to patient, requiring close contact, although it does seem to be airborne.
Does Dr. Lipkin know the Indiana man who is in isolation in a clinic in that state? The community of doctors who are experts in the disease and/or have treated MERS patients cannot be a very large one; not yet at least. Is the spread of a new virus always inevitable as Dr. Lipkin suggests? Or is something else at play? Do experts in a pathology have a right to go to the source of a new disease to study it asap despite the fact that they may become transmitters themselves? How does society, or more precisely any given nation, respond to such new viruses? On the one hand, we want to gather as much information as possible on the disease, and who better than a health care professional, usually a doctor, to undertake such a tricky task? The data they may gather and relay to places like the CDC can and usually does save lives, sometimes many lives. But do we have to passively assume that any new disease that emerges anywhere on the planet will end up in the U.S. and there is little one can do? It seems that on occasion scientific curiosity, both noble and useful, conflicts with public health. In the case of our anonymous health care worker, it may have been wise to have required him to undergo a period of isolation before allowing him back in order to ensure that he hadn’t picked up the virus. Better to have such a requirement in the early stages before it becomes logistically impossible and a constraint on people’s freedoms.
In Maryland, the rollout of Obamacare has people rolling up their sleeves and swinging, verbally, at each other. Both people in this case happen to be Democrats, contenders for Governor in the state’s Democratic primary at the end of June. Apparently the rollout was way less than smooth in Maryland where they decided to replace the technology with that used in Connecticut. Douglas Ganser, the state’s Attorney General, derided his opponent, the state’s Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, as not having had a “real job” and presumably not being up to the task of running Maryland and its troubled rollout of Obamacare. The fact that the Lt. Gov. is an attorney wasn’t what got Ganser all fussy and in a fingerpointing mood; Anthony Brown is also an Iraq veteran who, despite serving his country in a war zone, has never had an honest job according to the Attorney General who attacked Brown’s ads where his service is mentioned.
Veteran’s groups are not impressed; Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org called on Ganser to “stop smearing those of us who served in Iraq as not having had a ‘real job'”. Behind the indefensible attack by Ganser is a desperation to prove that he can successfully manage the botched rollout, which the Lt. Gov. was in part responsable for, and prove to his state that Douglas Ganser is the one to bring them Obamacare. Rather than think about changing the act itself, we have ugly smear tactics by the Attorney General. Doing so, he can then win the primary, win the vote, and tinker with Obamacare once safely in office. Having served the country in a warzone, often performing highly complex tasks in an environment that goes way beyond stress, however, is not an asset apparently. Not when wrestling with botched rollouts in Maryland.
Friday morning, embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced she would step down from her post. In response President Obama lauded her accomplishments and claimed due to her work with the ACA, she’s earned the right to retire. Hmm, in the private sector she would’ve been canned months ago.
True Sebelius has done some beneficial things in the healthcare field but her tenure as HHS Secretary will be remembered for one thing, the botched rollout of the ACA. Now she did lead up the roll out of the ACA and oversaw it so one can say the blame for its numerous problems can be placed squarely on her shoulders. I for one disagree to a point on that. The blame should be shared by those subordinates who failed to fulfill their duties, her for failing to run a tighter ship, and the President for failing to further reign in what is the hallmark of his administration.
Sebelius is credited with helping to rectify the problems initially encountered with Healthcare.gov but the problems initially faced should never have been of the magnitude they were. It is unfathomable how the ACA, a sweeping government program that is costing so much and effects so many can be so poorly implemented. I’m not even talking about the actual substance of the ACA which is another story, instead the actual public unveiling. If the government can’t even effectively unveil a series of websites and state exchanges for a program of such great importance and set to cost trillions, imagine how haphazard lesser programs are handled.
And then to hear the President go on about how he will miss her advice and friendship. Oh really. From summer 2010 to two months after the rollout of the ACA, November 2013, the two failed to meet even once for a one-on-one discussion according to the White House calendar. Now I understand when leaders place faith in people and leave them to their own devices. The problem though is this is not just some government program, it’s the Presidents hallmark law. Where was the interest? Furthermore, the President waits until two months after its initial roll out to have a personal meeting. Yes communication was had through different mediums but in all honesty, this required the down to earth discussions that can only be had, through one-on-one meetings.
Rightfully so, much blame has been and will continue to be placed on Sibelius for the disastrous roll out of the ACA. But remember one thing, just as much blame should be placed on her superior, the President for allowing this to happen. Instead of doing the right thing and listening to his advisors, he chose to keep her on so as to not have the Administration appear to be in the midst of a civil war. My memory of this debacle will not be of the mistakes of Sibelius but of the lack of leadership.
Crafting and home decor giant Hobby Lobby is a national chain that promotes family values and actually follows through with them. Now the company stands at the feet of the Supreme Court, battling an Obamacare mandate that requires coverage for all forms of contraceptives to employees.
This case quickly shot to the forefront of the contraceptive coverage battle, not only because Hobby Lobby is a massive retail chain employing 13,000 people, but also because the Christian company’s complaint is so reasonable. It will cover most forms of contraceptives, but does not want to cover IUDs and morning-after pills, which it considers methods of early abortion. It’s not a question of slippery slope (as rabid pro-choice supporters fear), since those are clearly methods of post-conception birth control.
Hobby Lobby’s ability to maintain its family values in today’s competitive market is nothing short of extraordinary: reasonable hours, clean stores, good wages and still closed on Sundays (the last of which is monumental for a national retail chain). The company’s willingness to negotiate the sweeping mandates of the Affordable Healthcare Act is just as amazing; it only contests the single provision of emergency contraception coverage.
Simply put, Hobby Lobby made a reasonable request in defense of decades of Christian values, but the sweeping arm of Obamacare refuses to take that into account. If Hobby Lobby loses the court case, the private values of this privately-owned company will be pushed aside in generic “reform.”
Hobby Lobby can choose to simply pay the obligatory fine in not providing health care, which would be cheaper than the actual cost, but its concern for employees ends that option. The company wants to provide health care, but it doesn’t want to compromise its values. Hobby Lobby’s owners understand that financially supporting abortion by paying for emergency contraceptives will erode the company’s long-proven values into empty rhetoric, and there’s entirely too much of that today anyway.
Filed Under Healthcare on Dec 12
The American economy is in disarray. There are those that are struggling to put food on the table and those that are working to make ends meet in this holiday season. There are groups out there, though, that are collecting donations and grants to help those around them. From nonprofit organizations to churches to synagogues and more, these groups raise monies and funds to do the best for those around them. In this season of giving, though, one grant is catching the eyes of many around the country as a new group has received an astounding one million dollars to push the ever popular (in jest of course) Obamacare.
A nonpartisan (term used loosely) group has received over one million dollars to help push the President’s Obamacare message. The non-profit organization known as Families USA has asserted in its mission statement that it is partly responsible to achieve the realization of affordable healthcare and, as a result, has received a grant that will help them to achieve their goal. The way in which they are using this money, however, is raising eyebrows. Not just in what its asking for but also in the requests irony. Families USA is using their online page to collect success stories for those who have had a positive experience with Obamacare legislation.
The narrative has been across America from real Americans that premiums are increasing and that overwhelmingly the legislation that is supposed to solve problems is causing economic hardships. Individuals are losing their plans and being replaced with alternatives that are at best the same and at worse much, much more expensive. Yet, Families USA is not standing by their mission. Instead, they are fishing for stories that paint a piece of legislation as positive when it fact it is dismal and causing havoc that is immense. Ironic, yes, and sad when their self-proclaimed organizational could use the money so much more wisely than feigning a picture of reality that simply isn’t there.
Filed Under Healthcare on Dec 9
The Obamacare website is being fixed, according to the same people that said it would function properly. The Administration has set a November 30th deadline for completion of the site and a full-fledged ability to log in and utilize the online venue for healthcare information. The clock is ticking and the pressure is growing to see just whether this is another big flop or possibly a working gateway to viewing increased premiums fully.
The government, however, is feeling the strain of what is to come. Not only are Democrats holding their breath to see if it will work this time, but it appears that the Administration is hoping for a smooth transition without hiccups as well. There solution to this was to encourage their supporters to not visit the site… at least until November 30th. The website which is supposed to be able to register millions of individuals across the country with ease and, ultimately, success is a technical nightmare. Not only are Administration officials and tech wizards worried about the website working without problems, but they are warning that a surge in signup or traffic to the site could crash it once again. With so many problems, it begs the question of what we are thinking trusting this Administration and website with any information we can provide it.
Time will tell whether the full transition into functionality is made and whether or not the page sees problems in the future. The odds are, though, that it will see troubles once again. Of course, no one appears to have to take the blame for the page’s lack of success. Though the President did in a backwards way take some culpability, it some how the Republicans fault that all things go wrong for him…well that, and the fact that the President is African-American…. Or however the narrative goes.
In an unsurprising turn of events, the Obama Administration is having a tough time getting the individuals that they need to sign up for Obamacare. The young millennial generation that seemed to clamor with delight that the President was elected (twice) are failing to follow their faithless leader down the path that he has laid for them. Younger individuals are finding themselves too busy or possibly are becoming wise to the President’s bait and switch and are avoiding the Obamacare sign up all together. This is creating massive amounts of problems for the President and his plan for “affordable” healthcare. The lemmings seem to have decided not to follow his lead.
Without the pool of younger Americans joining the healthcare exchanges, the problems of increased payments and plans are growing exponentially. The younger, healthier crowd needs to pick up the slack that the President has laid for them and create a program that is less loaded on the elder end and more on the younger generation. Without their help, the President is likely to see his problems continue and the Obamacare exchange issues exacerbated.
What this helps to identify is not just that the Obamacare plan is failing. That we already know. What it is showing is that the President who used the youth to infiltrate the electorate quite effectively, not through voting necessarily but through talk and motivation of other voters, does not have them to count on now. Of course, it could be that they have had a change of heart. The truth is, though, that it appears as if their wallet and their frustration with the website carrying Obamacare information is really at fault. The President, who utilized social media in such an impressive way, is now failing to utilize the medium that he once found so helpful. Interesting and ironic all at the same time.
This just in. At no fault to the politics involved, Obamacare is extended once again because, in a nutshell, they have too many mistakes to “learn from.” The claim is they’re giving more time to insurers to set their rates for 2015, but it’s more like they’re letting Michelle Obama’s Canadian college friend figure out how they’re going to construct a functioning website.
The underlying agenda is the disappointing numbers of applications when the website initially launched. This buys them time to relaunch and hope for a spike in applications. This is a prologue to next year, when employers will have to deal with Obamacare. I imagine more “delays” are inevitable at no fault to the objective GOP.
Public opinion on Obamacare continues to wane, and even those that once had supported the bill are starting to distance themselves from it and the President. Currently, the President’s approval rating has reached an all time low at around thirty five percent according to some polls. Yet, the leader of the free world continues to make the case that what his plan is doing will work and it is Republicans that are to blame for any delays, mix ups, and problems. It is amazing, though, that the rhetoric has changed so much. The President, who once proudly touted the King of Obamacare title, is switching his emphasis. No, not in blaming Republicans as that has remained consistent. Rather, the President is changing the name of his legislation back to its technical name of the Affordable Care Act.
Though an ever increasing oxymoronic title, the Affordable Care Act is less about President Obama and more about sending a message that his legislation is not really about him at all. Rather, the President is attempting to say that the Healthcare Act is about you and how much it can save your family, regardless of its efficacy in this area. The President is proud of his legislation or, to be more specific, he will not be humbled enough to admit that it is a cluster… well you know what. He is going to drive this bus off of the cliff if necessary and then call the Government ambulance to come save him and the people. Maybe not an accident at all.
Maybe, the President and his minions on Capitol Hill wanted this to be a mess. Maybe that’s why he keeps taking the lead and standing somewhat behind it. Though the name has changed, even a mess up of a plan is going to work to the advantage of the leftists as it will have the public clamoring for help… in the form of the government. Single payer system anyone?
The Obama Administration has staked their claim on the importance and need of the Obamacare legislation. Reform the healthcare system, they said. Make it better, they touted. Keep your insurance, the exclaimed. Yet, as many of us warned and others ignored, the large piece of legislation is falling far short of the expectations it was given and even farther away from the perceived feather in the cap that Obama was hoping for.
Negative news of Obamacare’s problems continues to rain down on the Administration. The plan, which was said to be a source of hope for those without insurance as well as those looking to lower their premiums, is not doing any of what it was said to achieve. The majority of those who have signed up and spoken about their experience have said that they are seeing a sharp rise in costs. Further, there are more and more employers dropping their current plans in order to push people toward the Obamacare free exchange. The promise of “if you like it, you can keep it” is not at all representative of reality and, as such, is faltering in achieving the goals that the Obama Administration had wanted. Or maybe they had not wanted reality to be as pleasant as they themselves said.
Further complicating this already bad situation is the lack of technological efficiency of the healthcare.gov website. Kathleen Sebelius, much to her own chagrin, has had to head to Capitol Hill to defend or explain the problems of what was supposed to be the easy way to sign up for the exchange. Only six people, it is being reported, were able to sign up on the website the first day and only thousands more have been able to do so in the month since its inception. So much for creating an easy system Mr. Obama… maybe it’s now time to do the thing that you loathe more than anything else in the world: be humble and apologize. But, I won’t hold my breath.
President Obama is having to admit this week, or at least through surrogates, that he may have had some inkling that millions of Americans would lose their health insurance when Obamacare was enacted. With an austere, almost callous way, Democrats are saying that they recognize that the shift in healthcare mandates, laws, and structures will lead people away from their current care and onto a different system. What is surprising, however, is the unapologetic nature of the President and his Administration for what is essentially lying to the American people. Upon greater reflection, maybe it isn’t surprising at all.
The President has an ego, there is no doubt, and it is not unheard of for a President or powerful politician to carry with them this approach to life. Yet, what is so amazing is the brazen way with which he approaches this ego, demonstrating it at every turn. There is no “I’m sorry for lying” or even an “oh I feel badly.” There is no feigned sincerity or admission of culpability. His ego is his leader and he has no problem falling in lockstep with his own ambitions, regardless of who they may hurt.
Obamacare is a disaster, that is known to most everyone, even the President himself has to know. Yet, it will be enacted and pushed through in the coming years, regardless of whom it hurts. The President doesn’t care if the legislation is right. He cares that he gets what he wants and doesn’t back down. Compromise or even self-reflection is not in the cards for this man and anyone who has even vaguely followed his career will see that. Still, though, it would be nice if for a moment he realized he may have made a mistake and that he needs time to reevaluate the positions he takes. Chances are, though, this will just be another rammed piece of messed up legislation that hurts more than it helps and the President will refrain from caring once again.
The Obama Administration is feeling the heat after failed login attempts, technological glitches, and other problems pertaining to the Obamacare online registration. Individuals from across the country are trying desperately to see if they are going to be able to access healthcare and if so, how much their premiums will go down (or most likely up) once on the exchange. With more and more employers dropping coverage as an unintended (or un-thought of) consequence of the Obamacare plan, it is growing increasingly temperamental in the public. The result: the citizens of the United States are beginning to take more than just the media’s perspective on the issue of Obamacare legislation into their opinion count. They are beginning to realize what many have known for a while now: glitch or no glitch, the system is failing us.
What the delay in healthcare premium information access has done is more than just cost time and frustration on the part of the American people. It has allowed them the time to think about what they are really getting into. More and more Americans of all income levels and all stages of life are being hit hard with higher numbers than they are currently playing. They are realizing that what they are promised is not being delivered and what they had hoped for is a long distance past reality.
That, I believe, is what angers the Obama Administration the most. It is the idea that the Obamacare glitches are not technical only. They are giving American pause and time to think about the numbers and what they are actually being dealt as individuals and families. Struggling to keep food on the table but still seeing higher numbers returned on an application is mind numbing and crushing. That is what the Obama Administration is most concerned about.
With the United States focused on Obamacare and its consistent failures before full implementation even begins, there are many scandals and potential problems that are being pushed to the backburner. Anyone remember Benghazi? One of the scandals and problems that is being avoided and may potentially cause harm to our foreign policy amidst the consistent threat to our domestic sanity is Edward Snowden. Remember him?
Whether it was to stay relevant or a true threat, the young man who has leaked several national security secrets to the media is at it again. Snowden’s father has released a statement that expounded on the potential for more secrets to be pushed into the media spotlight if his son deems so. Though it is Lon Snowden’s belief that Russian and Chinese authorities have no access to this information, he cannot promise that his son will not try to do something hostile with the information in the future.
The problem with the Snowden case is not in his access and providing of confidential materials. Rather, it is in the fact that he has single handedly controlled his own situation from the beginning. This young punk, though you may feel he is doing a service, is not willing to stand up for what he supposedly believes is right. In running away to a foreign country and hiding behind authorities that have no respect for our nation, he has showed the cracks in the national security policy of this administration. Russia is literally giving the middle finger to the United States and is doing so because he truly does not fear us. There is something to be said for fear. It keeps nations on edge and believing that words have impact and threats follow through. The Snowden case highlights that the nation sees America as weakening, not only financially but in their relations with foreign governments. No, we need not be warhawks and we need not be overly aggressive…. But the idea we might be is okay with me.