Sunday, February 16, 2014

Obamacare Schadenfreude Between the Clippers

A nice day between the "Alberta Clippers". Sunny and windless but only 28 F. The next one is to be named "Quintas" by the Weather Channel, and should hit us on Tuesday.  Rain or snow?  Can't really tell yet, but it looks like it may start snowy and may end in rain.

Sunday is usually the day between the cold blasts of Obamacare Schadenfreude, and indeed, the selection is meager and lukewarm.

Obamacare Recruiting Illegals In California
In 2009, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) apologized profusely to the White House for shouting, "You lie!" as President Barack Obama told Congress that Obamacare would not cover illegal immigrants. Now it would appear that the White House owes Wilson an apology, as Covered California--the flagship of state Obamacare exchanges--is recruiting illegal ("undocumented") immigrants to sign up for the program, regardless of their eligibility.

The Covered California website includes a special page entitled: "No temas si eres indocumentado/a y quieres inscribir a tu familia en un seguro médico" ("Fear not if you are undocumented and want to enroll your family in health insurance"). The website goes on to explain that information shared with Obamacare cannot be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It does not explicitly warn that illegal aliens are ineligible.

"According to the laws and implementing regulations," the website says, "the information provided by individuals for coverage can not be used for purposes other than ensuring the efficient functioning of the insurance market ( Covered California) or administration of the program, or to verify certain eligibility determinations including verification of the immigration status of these people."
But they don't want to pay for health insurance for illegal immigrants, do they.

Kathleen Parker, one of the house "moderate conservatives" (not even a RINO really) at the Washington Post manages a bit of low dudgeon at the OMB report:
. . . As Nancy Pelosi (hereinafter Fairy Godmother) explained to Jon Stewart, one of the goals of Obamacare was to give people “life, a healthier life, liberty, the pursuit of your own happiness.” Stewart replied, “Really?”

“Yeah, if you want to be a writer, if you want to be a comedian, if you want to be a camera person, if you want to start a business . . .” In an earlier iteration, Pelosi even suggested that Obamacare would allow people to quit their awful jobs to write poetry.

Well, bust my buttons! Why didn’t you say that in the first place?

Not quite poetry, but I think it has potential.

Freeing people not to work has never been a national goal that I can recall, though everyone acknowledges the problem of tying insurance to employment. This is why Republicans have argued, belatedly, for portable insurance.

In the meantime, what the economy needs least is a federal program that prompts lower- and middle-class workers to drop out of the workforce. This is in addition to the many who are losing their jobs involuntarily or having their hours cut by their employers who want to avoid the mandate to buy insurance or the fine for failing to do so. . .
But the media keep trying to push it an lo and behold, they found a couple of Republicans somewhere who support Obamacare:
. . .I’m fighting to repeal Obamacare, right away. It’s bad for our families, and our economy.”

But not all Republicans agree; one is Irene Jacusis of New Port Richey, who was uninsured until now.

“I did not vote for Obama," she said. "But I am so in love with this plan, with this health care plan, what can I do?"

She knows that her party wants to repeal it. "But I don’t think they’re going to," she said. "There are too many people out there who need this and require it.”
She says her husband Ronald died last year from a rare sarcoma because he waited too long to see a doctor after he felt a lump.

"If my husband had gone, if he had insurance at the time, when it was the size of a marble and had gotten an x-ray and taken care of it at stage 1 level, he would be alive today."
But for the rest of us (rhymes with Festivus, holiday of the airing of grievances ). . . Your Hospital Bill Is About to Get a Lot More Expensive
Doctors are fleeing private practices for the security of hospitals, and the exodus will be a disaster for U.S. health care.

On the surface, doctors taking on salaried jobs at hospitals might seem like good news for health care costs. One driver of health care inflation is the “fee for service” model, which gives doctors an incentive to deliver the maximum feasible number of billable services per patient. Salaried positions, on the other hand, are supposed to keep down costs, because you get paid the same no matter how many tests you order.
But it’s not that simple.
. . .
Absorbing private practices is just one more way hospitals can make themselves bigger and more powerful. The market power of hospitals relative to insurers is already one of the most pernicious market imbalances in U.S. health care. This trend will only make it even less balanced. The bigger hospitals get, the more they can jack up their prices—up to 44 percent higher according to one estimate.
And the democrats in reddish states continue to try to avoid being tainted by the skunky odor being given off the the Obamacare roadkill.
As recently as two months ago, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) was standing strong behind her vote to pass Obamacare, saying she would do it all again. Fair enough, I thought… when you’re a politician, sometimes you have to take a principled stand – no matter how wrong headed – and ride that horse till it drops. You might be wrong, but at least you’re consistent, and your supporters will likely appreciate that.

But as Jim Geraghty noted this week, the Senator’s reelection web site is looking a little spartan these days, and has one very notable omission.
For one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents, Senator Mary Landrieu’s campaign site is rather . . . sparse right now.
The opening splash page is an invitation to contribute money — standard on campaign web pages these days — and then . . . three buttons: a link to the Facebook page, a link to the Twitter feed, and the “News & Press Releases” page.
In the 29 items listed on the “News & Press Releases” page, the words “Obamacare,” “Affordable Care Act,” “health care,” and “health” never appear.
“Insurance” gets mentioned six times . . . but only in the context of flood insurance.

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