Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Obamacare Schadenfreude Before the Storm

A lovely clear, wind free morning here in Slower Maryland, the only problem it that it's only 17 F out. Today is the day before the predicted Winter Storm Pax, which threatens the Other Left Coast with snow, ice, sleet and freezing rain.  According to the models, we're on the coast side of the main band of snow, and are expecting 2-6 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow, with some sleet, unlike other areas further inland and north expecting well over a foot of crystalline global warming.  Cities well to the south, and unequipped for much snow are expecting to be clobbered again, and bread, toilet paper and salt futures have gone through the roof.  We're all set, with food, drink, toilet paper, and a propane generator, in case the power fails.  However, if the power fails long enough, I may lose a day or so of blogging.

We had a storm of Obamacare Schadenfreude yesterday, in the wake of the announcement that the Administration was using it's 27th or something free pass to yet again alter the law by fiat, in this case to extend the mandate on small and mediums sized business.  Let me get my shovel and get to work here:

If Obamacare is so great, why does Obama keep delaying it? 
Per the Washington Post, Obama has once again — and once again unilaterally — delayed a major provision of Obamacare. The law’s employer mandate, already delayed by one year, was to kick in this coming January, requiring employers either to insure those working more than 30 hours per week or else to pay fines. Now this requirement will not apply to businesses with fewer than 100 employees until 2016.
. . .
And here’s the real kicker: If there’s really nothing to worry about here — if, as the White House insists, the stories of hundreds of businesses and state and local governments shaving down hours and shifting people below 30 are just “anecdotal” — then why oh why do we keep delaying this thing until after the next election?
 From Smitty at The Other McCain: What This Economy Needs Is Another Stab In The Heart
The river of lies is gearing up for a Spring flood, according to theWashington Free Beacon:
The Obama administration has yet to finalize 28 additional regulations under Obamacare that could lead to an “avalanche” of regulatory burden on the economy, according to an analysis by the American Action Forum.
A report released Monday by Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at American Action Forum, details the billions in cost and millions in paperwork hours that will result from the pending regulations, including the individual mandate, which has yet to be finalized.

Swing lowwww,
Regulatory chariot,
Coming for to
Liberate me from the tedium of labor. . .Needs some polishing. But that’s what this river of lies is all about, right?

From The Daily Beast via Yahoo News: Obamacare Is Wayne’s World
...the White House and its friends don’t want you to think that it will be the young, fit, and fancy-free who will be the ones most likely to go on welfare—I mean Obamacare. No, instead they want you to believe that those who would work less are 55 year olds who would stay home to care for a sick parent, simultaneously embark on a second or third career, and become Pulitzer Prize-winning writers.
We have seen this movie before, and it’s not about noble-minded middle-aged folks juggling competing responsibilities in the midstream of life. No, it’s actually about healthy young people lacking college degrees turning off and dropping out sooner than later.

Don’t take my word for it. Instead, look at what happened in 2005 after Tennessee downsized its Medicaid program and dropped 170,000 adults it was not required to cover.

According to Craig Garthwaite, a health economist at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, those who were bounced from TennCare and reentered the workforce tended to be “able-bodied” adults regardless of family status, without college degrees, but with higher incomes than the average Medicaid recipient. Oh, and they were “far more likely to be white” and under 65.
The reference to Wayne's World no doubt refers to the fact that Nancy Pelosi et al are touting Obamacare as "freeing" people to pursue their dreams, the way Wayne and Garth were free to pursue their Public TV show "Waynes World."

Obamacare delay, instant ridicule
Except for the die-hard Obama spinners, there was widespread recognition that this is another Hail Mary as the clock runs down to the November elections. (“Many across the ideological spectrum viewed them as an effort by the White House to defuse another health-care controversy before the fall midterm elections.”) The administration managed to annoy many employers and even “consumer advocates, usually reliable White House allies.” The administration’s decision to again delay the employer mandate provoked the expected reaction from Obamacare critics...
Long list of ridicule follows.  Even (some) liberal democrats are worn out by the job of defending the administration: Why I'm Getting Sick of Defending Obamacare.
It's getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.

For the second time in a year, certain businesses were given more time before being forced to offer health insurance to most of their full-time workers. Employers with 50 to 99 workers were given until 2016 to comply, two years longer than required by law. During a yearlong grace period, larger companies will be required to insure fewer employees than spelled out in the law.

Not coincidentally, the delays punt implementation beyond congressional elections in November, which raises the first problem with defending Obamacare: The White House has politicized its signature policy.

The win-at-all-cost mentality helped create a culture in which a partisan-line vote was deemed sufficient for passing transcendent legislation. It spurred advisers to develop a dishonest talking point—"If you like your health plan, you'll be able to keep your health plan." And political expediency led Obama to repeat the line, over and over and over again, when he knew, or should have known, it was false. . .
Well then, stop defending it!

Bobby Jindal, a likely Republican candidate for  President: Obamacare Is Anything But Compassionate
The verdict is in, and it’s not good: Obamacare is rippling through the U.S. economy with vast implications for American prosperity. On Friday, we learned that the Obama economy has hit stall speed, with a paltry 113,000 jobs added in January.

Two days earlier, we learned the president’s health care law is discouraging Americans from working, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The report makes for bracing reading. The law will reduce the labor supply by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers, the CBO says — up from an estimated 800,000 just three years ago.

It gets worse. ..
. . .
Obama has defended his health care law by stating, “We are a compassionate nation”— implying that the millions who oppose it are not. That’s as wrong as it is insulting. A law that gives Americans with low income additional incentives not to work and prioritizes able-bodied adults ahead of persons with disabilities demonstrates a fundamentally flawed definition of “compassion.”
Krauthammer on Obamacare employer mandate delay: “This is stuff you do in a banana republic”

According to Ace, one new part of the Preznit's newly amended plan requires employers to certify that they are thinking the right thoughts: HHS' Latest Tweak To Obamacare Requires That Employers Certify That They Are Not Making Economic Decisions Because Of Obama's Craptastic Healthcare Law
Thought police.
Treasury officials said Monday that businesses will be told to "certify" that they are not shedding full-time workers simply to avoid the mandate. Officials said employers will be told to sign a "self-attestation" on their tax forms affirming this, under penalty of perjury.
Although Treasury and HHS insist that employers are not reducing full-time workers because of Obamacare's obvious and perverse incentives, the beleaguered agencies have decided to require employers to certify that they aren't taking perfectly sensible decisions to preserve and protect their businesses.

This is mindless, arbitrary, and unlawful and I would love for someone at Treasury to point me to the statute that allows them to demand these certifications. I suspect that such a statute does not exist (if nothing else, we would have heard about it before now), and that it would violate the U.S. Constitution for IRS to punish a company for declining to make such a certification.
Now, for a bit of humor, let's imagine if Romney had won the election and was making similar "adjustments" to the law by fiat: Democrats, Media Slam President Romney Over Health Care Law Changes
“This is an utter disgrace,” griped Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.). “This law was passed through Congress, signed by the previous president, and upheld by the Supreme Court.”

Schumer’s colleague, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, described the Romney administration’s behavior as “the nuclear option.” “This abuse of executive discretion is beyond the pale,” Reid fumed. “I’m a lawyer, I know.” (For more information on the American system of government please take a look at Ezra Klein’s comprehensive explanatory primer, “Our Constitution in Exile: Why Everything President Romney Does Is Illegal,” over at VoxProg. Alternatively, consult Greg Sargent’s excellent Washington Post column, “Article I: A Love Story,” published January 20, 2013.)

Others went further. “It’s. The. Law,” animated Democratic spokesman Debbie Wasserman Schultz told reporters at a hastily assembled press conference in Miami, barking out each monosyllable and pounding her fist on her desk. “The terrorist, anarchist, hostage-taking neo-Confederates in the Republican party tried for years to delay this in the legislature and now, simply because they have a Senate they dislike, they are trying to do so with the executive branch. It’s a disgrace to the memory of our Founding Persons and it will not stand.”
Sadly, it's probably an understatement.  Now back to the regular reports of how well badly the implementation is going...

Some Doctors Surprised To Be On Covered California Provider List
Independent physicians across California say they can’t afford to participate in Covered California’s insurance plans because the reimbursement rates are too low, and they say they don’t have the clout doctors with larger medical groups have to negotiate higher rates. They also warn that could mean a shortage of doctors in areas largely served by independent physicians.

Dr. Marie President is one of those doctors unhappy with reimbursement rates. The Redwood City internist said she was surprised to even find herself on a provider list published on the Covered California site. “We were astonished because we hadn’t signed anything yet,” President told KPIX 5.

Additionally, she says the reimbursement rates offered under the state’s plan aren’t realistic. Taking patients under those circumstances isn’t practical, President said. “We can’t, or we’ll be out of business.”
California, always a leader in stupid progressive policies, is clearly anticipating drafting doctors.

Gym memberships add Obamacare tax
Some people who are members of the health club Planet Fitness are finding their membership costs have gone up because of the Affordable Health Care Act.

A sign posted at a Falls Church, Va. location says "Holders of Black Card memberships will be required to pay a tax on these memberships Starting January 1, 2014 as required by the implementation of provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act. This is not a change in your membership fee but rather a tax required by the government."Ashley Pratte, who works for the Young America's Foundation, took the photo. She wrote that when she asked a Planet Fitness employee about the sign, they confirmed that it was a five-cent-per-month tax related to the ability to tan under the membership.

The reason these accounts are forced to charge the new tax is because they include the option for members to tan at the clubs. Obamacare has a tax on tanning salons. It doesn't matter if the member uses or does not use the tanning facilities.
How soon before they tax the sun? To celebrate the Beatle's invasion of America 50 years ago, a musical interlude:

And in a final bit of irony, shuts down for "Youth Enrollment Day"
As of mid-January, only about 24 percent of the system’s signups through 2013 were from the coveted 18-to-34 year old age group, and if the administration is going to convince the kids to do their bidding, they’re quickly running out of time as the March 31st deadline approaches.

That’s why they’ve put together a super-targeted nationwide event this weekend to really kick the awareness campaign into high gear, via YAF’s Ashley Pratte at Red Alert Politics:
Feb. 15 is also National Youth Enrollment Day, where the administration is promoting more than 200 nationwide events where young people can get covered. Groups such as United Way, Young Invincibles, Get Covered America and the American Cancer Society are partnering to promote enrollment through different events.
As Red Alert Politics also points out, however, the big youth event seems to rather… er…oddly timed, via The Hill: will be out of service for two and a half days beginning on Feb. 15 — the last day people can sign up to obtain coverage that begins on March 1.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services announced in a blog post on Monday that the ObamaCare website would be lacking some enrollment functionalities so the Social Security Administration can conduct its annual systems maintenance activities.

The site will be out of order from 3 p.m. on Feb. 15 until 5 a.m. on Tuesday — a period that coincides with the long holiday weekend.
Did you ever get the feeling that the government is getting so big the left hand doesn't know what the other left hand is doing?

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