Tuesday, December 17, 2013

So So Obamcare Schadenfreude

Ho hum, another cold, gray and rainy day here is slower Maryland.  Only a few items for the schadenfreude list today.  But some of them are pretty big.

This one got skipped a few day ago.  Tom McGuire, a must read blogger, worries about "peak schadenfreude:"   Fortunately, Wombat-Socho reminded me again.
Were you worried that ObamaCare was maxing out as a source of comedy gold? Hmm, not even a little worried? Well, fine, but here is some more Obama-induced hilarity anyway; today's cast of thousands is the creative upper crust of Manhattan, so you know they voted for this:
I'm not worried, just like oil and natural gas, we'll just have to dig deeper, and frack the dirt to find more.

Not to be overshadowed by PolitiFact, Washington Post fact checker names Obama  The biggest Pinocchio of 2013:
In compiling this list, we primarily focused on claims that had earned four Pinocchios during the year. We also tried to focus on issues of broad interest, such as gun control, health care and the size of government. To keep it simple, we have shortened the quotes in the headlines. To read the full column, click on the link embedded in the quote.
  1. “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it.”
  2. “The Capitol Hill janitors just got a pay cut”
  3. “The day after Benghazi happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism.”
A new poll shows that Americans are tired of the Obamacare nightmare, they just want to go back to the bad old days when only 85%  of people were happy with their health care.

Poll: Americans Want to Go Back to Previous Health Care System
The latest Reason-Rupe national telephone poll finds the Affordable Care Act’s troubled launch has made 47 percent of Americans less confident in government’s ability to solve problems. Forty-one percent say the troubles have made no difference and 11 percent say the health care law’s launch has given them more confidence in the government.
. . .
Nearly three out of four Americans, 73 percent, believe members of Congress do not understand health care or how health care laws impact Americans. Just 25 percent think members of Congress understand the consequences of the health care laws they pass.

Seventy percent of Americans oppose making young people pay more for health care to help fund health care for older or less healthy Americans. Six in 10 oppose requiring younger, healthier people to help fund insurance for those with pre-existing conditions. And 57 percent believe lower cost health care plans that provide fewer benefits than required by the Affordable Care Act should be allowed.

Of the 44 percent of respondents who say that they liked the Affordable Care Act when it passed, 41 percent of them like it less now. Of the 52 percent who disliked the law when it was passed, 14 percent like it more now.

When it comes to health care overall, 57 percent of Americans disapprove of the job President Obama is doing, while 38 percent approve.
President Obama promised to unify us; I just don't think he intended to unify us in opposition.

Signups for Obamacare are continuing to lag, and have problems with accuracy:  Connecticut’s Epic Fail
More than 2,400 Connecticut customers who bought health plans on Access Health CT were given incorrect information about their insurance plans, in one case underestimating the maximum out-of-pocket by at least $4,000.

The website for Access Health CT, the state’s new health exchange, had incorrect information online about deductibles and co-insurance impacting all 19 individual health plans from the three insurance companies that offer those plans through the exchange: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut, ConnectiCare, and HealthyCT.
Bloomberg News  thinks that young people might be more inclined to sign up for Obamacare if they were offered free weed.  Yeah, that probably would work:
Caroline Baum, a columnist for Bloomberg, offers suggestions to the Obama administration that are extremely creative, extremely desperate, or a sign Obamacare’s fans are having a collective nervous breakdown:
First, announce and advertise that everyone between the ages of 18 and 34 who enrolls on the health-care exchanges by the end of the year is automatically entered in a lottery. Winners will receive everything from a free iPhone or iPad to a full-year of health-care underwritten by Uncle Sam. Refer a friend and get a discount. Buy one (year), get one free. In states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use — Colorado and Washington — by all means, throw in a bag of cannabis.
Why not make it a vial of crack?  Free healthcare is about as addictive.

House Report: Ill-Trained Obamacare Navigators Encouraging Fraud, Jeopardizing Private Info
Breitbart News has obtained a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report on the Obamacare Navigators that will be released Monday. It has found that Obamacare Navigators have been giving Americans misinformation and, in some cases, actively encouraging enrollees to commit fraud in order to raise their subsidies. To complicate matters further, there is no way for Americans to find out whether their Navigators are properly certified.
The Committee report concluded that "documents call into question the effectiveness of the Navigator program and the Obama administration's ability to safeguard consumer information." HHS’s mismanagement of the Navigator and Assister programs "induces fraudulent behavior and poses real threats to the safety of consumers’ personally identifiable information, such as one's social security number, yearly income, and other sensitive tax information," the report found.

The report also discovered that Obamacare Navigators have "encouraged consumers to commit tax fraud by underreporting income in order to qualify for ObamaCare’s health insurance subsidies." Some have "assisted applicants before completing their 5 to 20 hour online training course, and others took custody of paper applications and mailed them for the applicant, violating the rule that applicants must mail in the application themselves."
Darrell Issa: Obamacare 'Ineptness' Puts Lives at Risk
This is an administration that isn’t just ideologically driven to do things we shouldn’t want done; they also cannot do the things they want to do well. That’s perhaps more dangerous. With $3.8 trillion worth of your tax dollars being spent, if they do the wrong things, and do things that are outside the Constitution, we at least can push back and say they have no authority.

But, when there’s things that they’re supposed to do that they can’t execute on, then hundreds of billions of dollars and human lives could be affected. It’s what’s happening under healthcare. The Affordable Care Act is deeply flawed, but it’s also so badly executed that it’s causing people tremendous problems. Fixing the challenges created for healthcare providers may not be possible. Tens of millions of people may not get quality healthcare over the next year or two, and that means lives could be lost.
But the democrats continue to stall and obfuscate any oversight of Obamacare implemetation: Issa and Cummings Relationship Frays Over Obamacare Documents
The already acrimonious relationship between Republicans and Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reached a fever pitch Friday after the two sides traded several rounds of warring press releases.

Issa, the California Republican and chairman of the panel, broadcast his concerns over the administration’s attempt to block access to HealthCare.gov documents, while Cummings, the ranking Democrat from Maryland, blasted Issa for issuing an “unnecessary and confrontational subpoena” while Cummings was away in South Africa at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

First, on Friday, Cummings sent an eight-page letter to Issa asking him to “abandon” his subpoena for security documents from HealthCare.gov contractor MITRE. Then Issa sent out two press releases — separated by about three hours — dinging the Department of Health and Human Services for requesting that contractors ignore subpoena requests from the committee and praising the decision of the contractors to instead ignore the administration and turn over the documents.
. . .The spat was ignited by an HHS missive to Issa noting they did not trust him to not leak sensitive security documents. HHS also said it had directed the security contractors to not comply with Issa’s subpoena.
What should be secret about the Obamacare implementation?  Only things that embarrass the administration and democrats.

Speaking of Obamacare "secrets" the secret training manual for Obamacare Navigators turned up on line: Confidential Obamacare Navigator training manual uploaded online
“INFORMATION NOT RELEASABLE TO THE PUBLIC UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY LAW: This information has not been publicly disclosed and may be privileged and confidential. It is for internal government use only and must not be disseminated, distributed, or copied to persons not authorized to receive the information. Unauthorized disclosure may result in prosecution to the full extent of the law.”

That is the warning at the bottom of every page of the 217-page confidential Obamacare Navigator training manual sitting online for anyone to come across –and as Watchdog.org reports, that’s exactly what someone did.

Tammy Duffy, a radiation health physicist from New Jersey, was talking with Obamacare Navigators one day and asked a question regarding people who are self-employed, in which they could not provide an answer. She then asked for a copy of the manual, which they would not give her since it’s not meant to be available to the public.

“I asked the nice ladies for a copy and they said I could not have it because it was a government document not for the public. So I thought maybe there is an outline or shorter version that is for the public. I went to Google and typed in ‘healthcare insurance marketplace Navigator SOP,” Duffy said.

Sure enough, a Google search of “Healthcare insurance marketplace Navigator SOP” yields a link back to the “Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator Standard Operating Procedures Manual.” The manual is labeled as “restricted distribution” by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and threatens prosecution to anyone authorized to view it who ultimately disseminates it to unauthorized people — and it’s online for everyone to see.
Meanwhile, the democrats and media (but I repeat) malign any citizen who dares to speak up:

War On Women: Dems Attack And Belittle Female Physician For Testifying About Obamacare
Democrats would like us all to think that when it comes to women they’re our knights in shining armor, riding in to protect us from icky Republicans and conservatives. But if a woman dares to speak the truth about their dreadful policies they whip out their pitchforks faster than you can say “war on women.”
Dr. Patricia McLaughlin, whose ObamaCare woes were first highlighted in The Post, gave a House committee a simple prescription for the defective health care law: “Fix it!”

But Democratic lawmakers pounced on her for relating how she got hit with an ObamaCare “double whammy.”

McLaughlin told the House Oversight Committee, which invited her to testify after reading The Post article, how she had lost the group health plan for her four-person office.

Then, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield dropped her from its provider network, forcing her patients using that insurance to go elsewhere or pay out of pocket, she said.

Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) questioned whether McLaughlin was dumped from the network because her “credentials” weren’t as good as other doctors’.
Given the economics of Obamacare, where high end hospitals and providers are being dropped from plans for cost concerns it's more likely the other way around, Dr. McLaughlin being dropped because her successful practice has a justifiably high cost.

Team Obama thinks that the solution to Obamacare problems making them look stupid is better control over the media:  Worried about looking 'ignorant,' Team Sebelius seeks media help
Concerned that senior leaders, including Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, “can be left ignorant and unaware” of what Congress and the public are saying about them and their policies, officials at the agency in charge of Obamacare are seeking help to track everything the media is writing about the Department of Health and Human Services.

The sprawling department that is supported by a large communications shop is collecting the names of private companies that can produce a customized daily digest of news better and more complete than the one HHS aides currently compile.

The reason, according to HHS, is that there is too much media to monitor and the department’s public affairs office is having trouble meeting deadlines and producing readable summaries. What’s more, like with the website issues plaguing Obamacare, the internal staff has had difficulty getting their news summaries to work on mobile devices.
Because it would be a shame if bureaucrats had to work from their desk.

For our final bit of fun, by way of  "The Other McCain" this comparison between Obamacare and the "One Ring:"  Alabama Tea Party Leader Compares ObamaCare to ‘Lord of the Rings’

Hello. I’m Becky Gerritson. I’ve been asked to explain how Obamacare will affect you all in five minutes. I think I can do it in less than one. Remember Lord of the Rings?

Well, we are all happy hobbits. Washington, DC is Mordor. Barack Obama is Sauron. Kathleen Sebelius is Sarumon. The hideous, despicable army of evil orcs would be the IRS. And the Affordable Care Act is their plan to reorganize the Shire.

That metaphor works for several reasons. I love it because it highlights a certainty that many of us would prefer to ignore: a battle is coming.

As natives of the Shire, we don’t like conflict. We like to work hard. We like to take care of our families. We like our churches. We like our communities. When we see a neighbor struggle, we like to band together and bear each other up.

But outside forces think they know better. They’ve announced their new edict. Very soon, they will commence its enforcement. And now, we are being forced to make a choice: submit or fight.

And what does submission require?

Obamacare may begin with health care, but it’s much more than that — more than your individual policy, more than a government takeover of 1/6th of the American economy.

Try not to focus on the politics of the moment. Forget about your personal relationship with your family doctor. Forget about broken promises. Forget about the technical failures of healthcare.gov. The real nightmare arrives when Obamacare starts to function properly.

Complying with Obamacare means that your tax dollars will directly fund abortions as of January 1st, 2014. It means that religious institutions will have to violate their consciences if they want to keep their doors open.

If the government orders you to kill a baby would you do it? No? Then why would you agree to pay someone else to do it?

What is religious freedom if the government can force you to violate your religious convictions?

Maybe you’re not religious. And maybe you don’t care about abortion. Are you comfortable with the government redefining freedom whenever they change their mind about the “greater good?”

That’s the most troubling aspect of Obamacare.

It’s not just an enormous government welfare program that asks younger Americans to pay for the decisions of an older generation.

Obamacare presents a competing system of values that cannot co-exist with our local values. I like to make my own decisions about my life and family. But if I’m forced to deal with a collective, I would rather trust the strangers in this room than federal bureaucrats. And that is exactly what Obamacare forbids: individual decision-making and communities expressing local values. With Obamacare, the moral decision-making occurs in Washington. We just follow their orders. As such, Obamacare is the keystone to a fundamental transformation of our culture.

If you think I’m being dramatic, I urge you to remember the name Ezekial Emanuel. He’s the chief architect of Obamacare. He’s also the author of the Complete Lives system. That system is his blueprint for how health care dollars should be allocated to benefit the most productive in a society. He says his program will serve the “greatest good.” Emanuel believes that too much money is spent on the elderly. He also believes that children born with serious disabilities and illnesses siphon off more than their share of collective dollars that could be better spent elsewhere. In short, the Complete Lives system would focus health care expenditures to aid the most productive in society (roughly those between 18 and 50) at the expense of the elderly and the infirm.

When it comes to sick kids and grandparents, sometimes difficult decisions must be made. I think those decisions should be made by families. Obamacare will leave the decision to a panel of bureaucrats.

I believe that Obamacare will be deeply destructive — both to American health care and to American culture — but Obamacare is just a vessel. It is not nearly as sinister and threatening as the idea behind it: social justice. Over the last five years, you’ve heard the term “social justice” uttered by President Obama and his czars and czarinas somewhere around 14 billion times. The president can’t complete a sneeze without mentioning it.

As a concept, social justice means that we have an obligation to those less fortunate than us. On the surface, there’s nothing especially new about that. Christians and Jews believe something similar. We know that the poor will always be with us, and it is always our duty to reach out and be charitable.

I urge you not to fall for this. Christianity calls individuals to be generous to the less fortunate. Christianity is concerned with each individual soul. Though social justice cloaks itself in similar language, it asserts that some debt exists between one citizen and another. This is an enormous difference. Recipients of charity are grateful. Those who believe that they have been denied justice are not.

If social justice exists, where are the courts? If a debt exists between citizens, how much is owed? And who owes it? If these questions can’t be answered, then social justice is a fraud, and those who propagate it are promoting violence between citizens.

Obamacare was sold under the banner of social justice. In nearly every speech, President Obama suggests that part of the population has taken more than its fair share. Conversely, he is telling part of the population that they have been robbed. This is a morality fairy tale spun by a man who doesn’t understand the free market or respect American traditions.

I know the Shire, and I know Shire folk. We’re generous and hospitable to those in need. We’re happy to support charitable causes, near and far. But submitting to outsiders is not generosity. It’s surrender. And I won’t play a part in it.

As I said at the beginning, a battle is coming. If you’re interested in joining the resistance, we need your help.

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