Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Great Flood of Obamacare Schadenfreude

As I reported yesterday, we were on the verge of being on the receiving end of the first real "winter storm" of the season.  It arrived as predicted, with increasing rain all day yesterday, culminating in hard rain and wind last night.  It's still raining off and on this morning, the rain gauge shows something like 3 inches, so 4 inches total is not outside the realm of possibility.   If the naming convention The Weather Channel tried to ram down meteorologists throats last year still holds, I suppose this was Winter Storm Atlas, although I haven't heard the term used.

EDIT! No, wait, the storm that killed cows in South Dakota was Atlas, this one is Boreas.

Now about that Obamacare schadenfreude deluge, again, I was afraid the happy sad news on Obamacare had peaked, and I might have to give up this thread, but if anything, the flood seems to be gaining momentum

Sara Palin vindicated; there are "Death Panels" in Obamacare: Mark Halperin: Obamacare Contains "Death Panels"
MALZBERG, HOST: A lot of people said you weren’t going to be able to keep your health care, but also they focused on the death panels, which will be coming, call them what you will, rationing, is part of it...

HALPERIN: No, I agree, and that’s going to be a huge issue, and that’s something else on which the president was not fully forthcoming and straightforward.

MALZBERG: So, you believe there will be rationing, a.k.a. death panels?

HALPERIN: It's built into the plan. It's not like a guess or like a judgment. That's going to be part of how costs are controlled.
Is the Embattled IRS the Next Obamacare Nightmare?
...Lurking down the road, however, could be another crisis when the IRS moves center stage in the next year or two to assume responsibility for enforcing 46 new tax-related provisions and tasks associated with Obamacare. Those include imposing new taxes on medical devices and Medicare, overseeing new itemized deductions for medical expenses, and imposing penalties on uninsured Americans who fail to purchase coverage on the new exchanges.

As a result, the agency has struggled to collect the hundreds of billions of dollars a year that the government is owed but not paid, Nina E. Olson, the national taxpayer advocate, said in her annual report to Congress last year.

J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, warned in March testimony that the IRS was being overwhelmed by new responsibilities in areas not traditionally associated with the tax-collection agency. The IRS will be obliged to create numerous new computer programs to handle the added workload, although the agency has had mixed success in the past in creating software to implement changes in the tax law.
We know how well the government does a planning, procuring and implementing large software projects, don't we.  More opportunities for graft, and rewarding friends,

Speaking of software debacles.  RIGGING THE FUTURE: Obamacare Creates 50 New State Databases With No Function Beyond Gathering Potential Voter Information, Real or Fraudulent
Since the passage of Obamacare, all fifty state Medicaid agencies have been forced to create a new standalone database that contains nothing besides the contact information of Medicaid applicants who used

Some of these new databases mail out voter registration forms automatically. You cannot refuse them.

No worthwhile verification occurs before the forms are mailed. Apply for Medicaid and the form will be mailed to you, be you a verifiable citizen or Ayman al-Zawahiri on a computer in Pakistan.

Further, these new databases are accessible by groups like Organizing for Action, the reconstituted ACORN, and malevolent figures like Chris Tarango.

And no reasonable purpose exists for creating the databases besides making them available to the aforementioned Democratic activists.
But we are supposed to trust that they will not be put to partisan use, right.

Just a reminder, if you like your plan you can keep it (read the fine print):

The Supreme Court will take another bite of the Obamacare apple and decide whether the "Fluke" mandate ("free" contraception for all, over religious objections) is legal:
President Barack Obama's health care law is headed for a new Supreme Court showdown over companies' religious objections to the law's birth-control mandate.

Amid the troubled rollout of the health law, and 17 months after the justices upheld it, the Obama administration is defending a provision that requires most employers that offer health insurance to their workers to provide a range of preventive health benefits, including contraception.

Roughly 40 for-profit companies have sued, arguing they should not be forced to cover some or all forms of birth control because doing so would violate their religious beliefs.

Both sides want the justices to settle an issue that has divided lower courts. The high court could announce its decision whether to take up the topic as early as Tuesday, following its closed-door meeting.

Arguments probably would take place in late March with a decision expected in late June.
Not a matter I have great interest in except opposing the growth of government rules and mandates into all personal choices.

Now for some real schadenfreude: Democrats Fear Obamacare Will Cost Them The Senate
One top Democratic pollster: "If there's nothing you want to fix, there's something wrong with you."
"There's only so much muddying up you can do on an issue as important as this," said Tom Bowen, former political adviser to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "People elected politicians who disagree with them as long as they know where they stand. You have to have some flexibility, but trying to sort of shade who you are—that doesn't inspire a lot of confidence."

For Democrats, the politics of the health care law are creating a death spiral of their own. For the White House to protect its signature initiative, it needs to maintain a Democratic Senate majority past 2015. But to do so, Majority Leader Harry Reid needs to insulate vulnerable battleground-state Democrats, who are all too eager to propose their own fixes to the law that may be politically satisfying, but could undermine the fundamentals of the law.
Caught between the rock and the hard place, eh?  Good.

But even worse better,  The New Republic thinks the Obamacare is a threat to liberalism itself:
There’s a term of art that the Obama White House uses to describe its neurotic supporters who instantly race to the worst-case scenario: They are known as “bed-wetters.” Two months into the dysfunctional life of, however, that seems a perfectly appropriate physiological reaction.

Liberalism has spent the better part of the past century attempting to prove that it could competently and responsibly extend the state into new reaches of American life. With the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the administration has badly injured that cause, confirming the worst slurs against the federal government. It has stifled bad news and fudged promises; it has failed to translate complex mechanisms of policy into plain English; it can’t even launch a damn website. What’s more, nobody responsible for the debacle has lost a job or suffered a demotion. Over time, the Affordable Care Act’s technical difficulties can be repaired. Reversing the initial impressions of government ineptitude won’t be so easy.
Nope, it won't.  And that's a good thing. Hoopity-Doo and Much Ado, Obamacare Snafu Puts Dems Down Two
From Democrats +8 to GOP +2 in CNN's latest poll. The Real Clear Average of all recent polls has the GOP up by +1, a seven-point swing in two weeks.

From the CNN poll:
Democrats a month ago held a 50%-42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates.
But the Democratic lead has disappeared. A new CNN/ORC poll indicates the GOP now holds a 49%-47% edge.
The Obamacare "Winners" and "Losers" seem to be realizing who, exactly, is who:
"It looks like the biggest shifts toward the Republicans came among white voters, higher-income Americans, and people who live in rural areas, while Democrats have gained strength in the past month among some of their natural constituencies, such as non-white voters and lower-income Americans," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"If those patterns persist into 2014, it may indicate that Obamacare is popular among those who it was designed to help the most, but unpopular among the larger group of voters who are personally less concerned about health insurance and health care," Holland said.
And since we've already seen that people were overwhelming happy with their healthcare prior to Obamacare, the independents in the middle that control US politics to a great extent have now found a reason to expel the democrats, at least we can hope.  But, as they say, don't get too cocky yet, kid.

Why voters are finished believing Obama's health care promises
...For years, GOP warnings about Obamacare were about something that had not yet arrived. People had not experienced Obamacare, did not have friends who had experienced it and didn't fully understand what it was. Many tuned out the Republican alarms.

Now that has changed. Millions of Americans are unhappy with what they have experienced under Obamacare — canceled policies, higher premiums and sky-high deductibles. They are also much more likely to believe predictions of future problems. They've seen what has already happened and now know it can get worse.

So how can it get worse? So far, Obamacare has upended the individual market for health insurance, which covers about 10 million people. The next step, according to the respected health care analyst Robert Laszewski, will likely come in the small-employer market, meaning businesses with anywhere between two and 50 employees. That covers about 45 million people.

"Obamacare is impacting the small-group insurance market in many of the same ways as the individual health insurance market," Laszewski writes. Under Obamacare, the small employers who offer their workers health coverage will be "required to comply with the same essential benefit mandates, age rating changes, and pre-existing condition reforms the individual market faces. That means essentially all small group policies cannot continue as they are — they have to be discontinued."
One of the selling points that it was supposed to "bend the cost curve" and make health care in the United States cheaper.  Turns out (of course) that it's just another lie:
In his 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama promised that his health-care reform plan would save a typical family $2,500 in annual premiums by the end of his first term. This was Mr. Cutler's prediction, and it was based on projected rapid returns from larger federal investments in health-information technology, new reinsurance subsidies for high-cost workers, and savings on administrative costs for health insurance.
...CMS actuaries find that any positive effects of the ObamaCare delivery system experiments on the cost of health care "remain highly speculative." When they compare their September 2013 projections with earlier estimates in April 2010, these actuaries find that the law would increase national health spending higher than previously expected by an additional $27 billion in 2019 alone.
And in the future? According to health-care actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, health-care spending will begin spiraling upward again starting next year, as the Affordable Care Act takes full effect. It will reach $5 trillion in 2022, or 20% of GDP, or $14,664 per capita. By 2022, ObamaCare alone is projected to increase cumulative health spending by roughly $621 billion, according to CMS.
All that chaos and it's going to cost more.  Such a deal!

Who Will Treat Those New Medicaid Patients From the Obamacare Exchanges?
When it announced the underwhelming Obamacare enrollment figures (PDF) to-date on November 13, the department of Health and Human Services said that 106,185 people had "selected a Marketplace Plan," but that 396,261 persons had been "determined or assessed eligible for Medicaid/CHIP" (Children's Health Insurance Program).

That's a problem. A 2012 survey (PDF) by Jackson Healthcare, a medical staffing company, found that, while 64 percent of physicians nationally are taking new Medicaid patients, "A majority of physicians across many specialties said they could no longer afford to accept new Medicaid patients due to declining reimbursements. States where physicians were least likely to accept new Medicaid patients were New Jersey, California and Florida."

In fact, last week, the Courier-Post, a south New Jersey paper, reported that Medicaid patients in that state may be signed up for medical care, but they're having serious problems finding providers:..
How long before the left starts calling for the conscription of Drs. in to the "War on Health?TM"

From more tips for talking to your crazy uncle about Obamacare (assuming your uncle in a moonbat liberal, of course):
“That would be great. Except that I’m going to be washing dishes and cleaning up for a bit. How about you go into the guest room and use the computer in there to sign me up. As soon as you’re done, you can have some pie.”

The key is to get them to make a commitment not to come out until they’ve finished signing you up. Remember their conversation tip — Ask them to make a plan, and commit to it. Ask them to commit to finishing the sign-up before they come out of the room.

Since nobody can actually sign up for Obamacare, they’ll be busily trying to operate the web site for the duration of your visit. And the beauty of the disaster zone that is the Obamacare website is that whether you plan to visit for hours or days, the crazy family member will be out of your hair. For added giggles with the sane portion of the family, be sure to follow the last tip — Don’t forget to follow up: “Have you signed up yet?”

Every time you pass the room, knock on the door loudly and ask them that exact question. Once your crazy uncle is holed-up with a laptop in the guest bedroom, you and your more tolerable relatives can enjoy the rest of the holiday in peace.
Democrats, of course, are busy turning over stones in hoping of finding an Obamacare success story or two to highlight:
Acknowledging the pressure from that political fallout, Democrats are making a concerted effort to find people and places the law is working for in an effort to counter GOP attacks. Top Senate Democrats began asking rank-and-file senators this week to use the Thanksgiving recess to identify constituents benefiting from the law, in hopes of exploiting those examples when the Senate reconvenes in two weeks.

The political blowback from the troubled launch of the federal Web site has been especially concerning to Senate Democrats, who have been divided on how to deal with the implementation missteps. ...

As a counter, Democratic senators are being asked to use social media — especially the Twitter call-out #GotCovered — new “Got Covered Today” sections of their Web sites and specialized e-mail addresses to highlight people who “had a positive experience” enrolling for new health plans.

Any new success stories “will provide us with the ammunition we need to rebut Republican claims that the law isn’t working,” the memo said.
And if you can't find 'em, maybe you can buy them: ‘Non-partisan’ group paid $1 million to produce positive Obamacare stories
Families USA (FUSA) — an organization that describes itself as a “national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans” — was given a $1.1 million grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on October 4, 2013, to gather “success stories” of Americans dealing with Obamacare and distribute them to the media who often refer to them as an “independent” group. This is part of a greater upcoming effort to bolster the perception of the lowly health care law.
However, the organization is a far cry from “non-partisan” and is extremely close to the Obama Administration and Enroll America – the group leading the efforts to sign people up for Obamacare.

Philippe Villers, the president of Families USA,  serves as the Secretary and Treasurer of Board of a little-known group called the Herndon Alliance. The Herndon Alliance originated in Herndon, VA in 2005 and produced research the left used to sell the overhaul of the United States health care system and counteract opposition as the president was making a push for Obamacare.  As Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon noted, they are credited with crafting President Obama’s, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” message, and are even backed with money from George Soros’ Open Society Institute.
Just one last shot, for the Star Trek crowd:  So the Left Wants Our Help in Getting Them Out of the Mutara Nebula?
Stop for a minute and think about all of the times you’ve had to ask for help in your life. Maybe you messed up and got into a tight spot. Maybe something bad happened to you that was completely beyond your control. Things got bad enough that you had to ask for help – how did you approach it? Did you insist that you had done nothing wrong and that the actions and ideas that got into trouble were any less than brilliant? Did you continue by throwing vile insults at the person you’re reaching out to and continuously telling them if they don’t fix your mess that they had no part then they somehow would become responsible for your bad decisions? You probably wouldn’t, and neither would I. You would think that after having their belief system so thoroughly clowned by reality that the left in this country would be somewhat repentant and humbled? I would too, but that just hasn’t been the case. Not only do any leftists show no regret over Obamacare, but I think they actually managed to get more arrogant than ever. There’s no need to recap every misdeed the left has committed in the passage of and implementation of Obamacare. And now they are genuinely sincere in their belief that it’s up to the conservatives to fix their mess and attach their names to the stink coming off of this abomination that so beautifully embodies leftist thought.

Why the Mutara Nebula reference in the title of this post? The movie “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” featured a final battle of Kirk vs. Khan. Kirk led his damaged Enterprise to flee into a Nebula, where interference caused by the Nebula would even the odds of their duel in space...
Just like in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” with a starship at his disposal (both houses of Congress) and Project Genesis (the presidency) under his control Khan still would not heed the warnings of his helmsman (The American people) who urged Khan not to chase the Enterprise into the Nebula (force through Obamacare) that would render their sensors and shields (the mainstream media) useless…

“No sir, you have Genesis! You have whatever yo-”

“FULL POWER! Damn you!”

If we’re able to get Obamacare repealed before it’s able to fully metastasize in our health care system that law may turn out to be Obama’s Mutara Nebula. And as we’ve come to learn about our president, “He’s intelligent but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking.”

Well, that's enough for today, or maybe enough for forever, who knows? However, I promise to take tomorrow off for some real Thanksgiving.

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