Friday, February 28, 2014

Obamacare Schadenfreude - Figures Don't Lie, but Liars Figure

Another clear, cold morning here in Slower Maryland.  It looks like our next "extreme" normal winter weather event is scheduled for Monday, with possible rain, snow, and the most dreaded "icy mix," from the storm currently giving California some relief from it's historic drought. Until then, we seem to be in the clear, with rising temperatures and mostly sunny skies.

The fallout of Harry Reid's accusation that all the anti-obamacare anecdotes, facts and figures being brought out are lies constructed by the plans enemies, paid for by the the evil "unamerican" Koch brothers (who are American-born non-felons, unlike, say, George Soros) continues to reverberate:

ObamaCare’s headaches: Are all of these untrue, too?
This came from NPR, so is this a lie, Senator? Julie Boonstra’s life means nothing to Reid.Sheila Lawless’ time will mean even less. But it should mean something to us:
Sheila Lawless is the office manager at a small rheumatology practice in Wichita Falls, Texas, about two hours outside of Dallas. She makes sure everything in the office runs smoothly – scheduling patients, collecting payments, keeping the lights on. Recently she added another duty–incorporating the trickle of patients with insurance plans purchased on the new Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Open enrollment doesn’t end until March 31, but people who have already bought Obamacare plans are beginning to use them. “We had a spattering in January—maybe once a week. But I think we’re averaging two to three a day now,” says Lawless.
That doesn’t sound like many new customers, but it’s presented a major challenge: verifying that these patients have insurance. Each exchange patient has required the practice to spend an hour or more on the phone with the insurance company. “We’ve been on hold for an hour, an hour and 20, an hour and 45, been disconnected, have to call back again and repeat the process,” she explains. Those sorts of hold times add up fast.
In the past, offices have been able to make sure patients are insured quickly, by using an online verification system. But for exchange patients, practices also have to call the insurer to make sure the patient has paid his premium. If he hasn’t, the insurance company can refuse to pay the doctor for the visit, or come back later and recoup a payment it made.
So NPR has joined the ranks of the evil unamerican liars?  We're winning! I guess Harry figured that no one would question his assertion.

Guy Benson just lays it out:  Harry Reid: Liar
Allahpundit described my reaction to Harry Reid’s latest broadsides against truth and decency rather accurately, writing that I was “virtually shaking with rage and disbelief that this tool could say this with a straight face.” I eventually channeled that anger — and it was genuine anger — into a rapid fire Twitter fact-check of the US Senate’s dishonorable leader. Reid asserted that “all of” the personal accounts from people who have been harmed by Obamacare “are untrue.” In short, this known liar unironically and casually smeared millions of Americans, including a number of cancer patients, as liars for daring to notice that Democrats’ unpopular healthcare law was actively hurting them. With a tip of the hat to our Twitchy cousins for compiling these tweets into a single post, here is a small slice of what the second most powerful Democrat in America sneers at as “untrue” fabrications of the Koch brothers. Cancer patients whose plans they liked and depended on were canceled under Obamacare, violating the president’s promise and throwing their lives into turmoil:
See them all...

Closer to home, Maryland stands to waste a mere $30 million (with an "m") due to a mistake in the nearly non-functional Obamacare website:
The cost to taxpayers of flaws in Maryland’s online health insurance exchange is coming into focus, with officials estimating at least $30.5 million in unnecessary Medicaid spending and conceding that they have no idea how much it will take to get a system that works.

The state has paid $65.4 million to the contractor hired to build the system and fired this week because of the protracted problems. Costs are likely to keep rising as Maryland figures out how to fix or replace the system.
Up in the District, the powers-that-be have decided that sex changes "gender reassignment surgery" should be covered under Obamacare:
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Thursday announced that the city will recognize gender dysphoria as a medical condition, forcing insurance companies to cover treatments such as gender-reassignment surgery for transgender people.

The coverage extends to all D.C. residents with group or individual health insurance — including the roughly one-third of city residents receiving Medicaid benefits — whose doctors diagnose the condition and for whom treatment is deemed medically necessary.

“This action places the District at the forefront of advancing the rights of transgender individuals,” Mr. Gray said at his ceremonial office at City Hall. The District joins California, Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon and Vermont in requiring the coverage, which the federal government will not be made to offer to its employees.

Transgender activists applauded the move, saying it guarantees coverage for treatments such as gender reassignment surgery that can cost tens of thousands of dollars and which have been denied by insurance companies that deemed the procedures cosmetic.

“This isn’t about who’s paying for things. This is about whether or not it’s medical care and who gets to decide that,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Nobody in America wants their health care decisions made by the insurance companies.”
Yes, dearie, this is so about who's paying for things.  If it weren't about whose paying for things, transgendered people who felt strongly enough to want surgery to alter their body would be willing to pay for it out of their pocket.  This way, they can have someone else pay for the surgery, and if it gets botched, or they just end up not liking the sex they change to (no one ever claimed transgendered people were the clearest thinkers), they can just have it changed back on the tax payers other policy holder's dime.

Reason Magazine runs down the list of failed state Obamacare websites, including some I hadn't seen before:
The federal government spent more on broken state-run exchanges than it did on its own troubled system. Of the 14 states, plus the District of Columbia, that established their own health insurance coverage under Obamacare, seven remain dysfunctional, disabled, or severely underperforming. Development of those exchanges was funded heavily by the federal government through a series of grants that totaled more than $1.2 billion—almost double the $677 million cost of development for the federal exchange.
for example:
Vermont has always had a problem with Obamacare: The health law isn’t progressive enough. Following the passage of the federal law, state officials said they were pursue a state-based single-payer program under an exemption beginning in 2017. But in the meantime, they would build their own exchange. Like the federal government and several other states, they relied on tech contractor CGI to do the bulk of the work. The state’s exchange failed on launch day, and months later, some functionality, including small business insurance options, remains offline. A February article in Newsweek reported that prior to the failed launch, CGI created a dummy demo site in order to pass inspection, andstate legislators are calling for an investigation.
Total Federal Grants: $165.2 million (a $1 million planning grant, three level one establishment grants of $18 million, $2.2 million, and $42 million, and a second level establishment grant of $102 million for ongoing operations; like Massachusetts, the state also received a share of the joint early innovator grant given to a consortium of New England states.)
Courtesy of Theo's 
So what have they achieved for  $162 million?  28,486 paid sign ups (as of the 25th).  So it cost the Federal government roughly $5,000 bucks each to sign each Vermonter up (setting aside the fact that quite likely a majority of those signing up were people pushed off previous plans due to Obamacare itself?

One benefit of Obamacare that we conservatives have tended to undervalue is the jobs given to people to help others sign up. For example, this convicted Palestinian bomber who was signing up Americans for Obamacare in Illinois:
A terrorist from Jordan briefly worked as an Obamacare navigator in Illinois while authorities remained unaware of her conviction for involvement in a deadly grocery store bombing and two other attacks.

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh was convicted in Israel for her role in several bombings, including the 1969 attack on an upscale Shufersol grocery store, which killed two Hebrew University students who had stopped in to buy groceries for a hiking trip in the Jerusalem hills. Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe were killed by a bomb hidden in a candy box tucked on a shelf, which also injured nine or 10 others, according to a website maintained by the Israeli government to commemorate terror victims.

The Illinois Department of Insurance quietly revoked Odeh’s certification as a Navigator In-Person Counselor on November 24, explaining in a disciplinary report that the decision was “based on an investigation which revealed that she had been convicted in Israel for her role in the bombings of a supermarket and the British Consulate in Jerusalem and failed to reveal the conviction on her application.”
Look, it's a Hockey Stick!  Even the uninsured are beginning to be leery of Obamacare: The Uninsured Are Turning Against Obamacare.
The Obama administration is running into a somewhat surprising roadblock in its final push to get Americans enrolled in Obamacare ahead of the March 31 deadline: The nation's uninsured are increasingly suspicious of the law.

Fifty-six percent of those who identified as uninsured in a new poll conducted in February by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a research institution, had an unfavorable view of the health care reform law, compared to just 22 percent who said they view it favorably. The uninsured now see Obamacare less favorably than they did when the enrollment period began in October. As recently as September, more uninsured approved of the law than disapproved.

HuffPo thinks that's a problem.  Apparently Sen. Kay Hagan (D), N. Carolina thinks it's a problem too:
At least not according to one local news report; Hagan officially filed for reelection earlier this week, and the occasion marked yet another instance of some painfully transparent ObamaCare deflection:
Today we asked her again about the estimated 473,000 residents that faced cancellations when the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, launched last fall and when she knew it might happen. Again Hagan did not answer directly. Instead she said she wanted to clarify something.
“The State of North Carolina under the insurance commissioner along with insurance companies in North Carolina, and if you had a plan, and you liked that plan, you can keep that plan in North Carolina,” Hagan said during an interview from the US Capitol. “And I have sponsored legislation to make that permanent.”
Hagan says in the two years before the ACA launch, insurers sold policies that would not meet minimum standards of the new law. She made a similar comment earlier this week. In response, Blue Cross Blue Shield told the Raleigh News & Observer that’s not true.
Even the Queen of government health care, Hillary Clinton, is trying to avoid the possible fallout of Obamacare's unfavorability as she gets ready to run for Preznit in 2016.
Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton nudged the accelerator in her effort to get past the problems with ObamaCare bedeviling the president and their party. Talking to a gathering of health information specialists in Florida, Clinton sounded more than open to substantial changes to President Obama’s signature law. From Reuters:
“Part of the challenge is to clear away all the smoke and try to figure out what is working and what isn’t,’ Clinton, who served as secretary of state in Obama’s first term, was quoted by CNN as saying. ‘What do we need to do to try to fix this? Because it would be a great tragedy, in my opinion, to take away what has now been provided.’” Clinton previewed her expected talking points for the 2016 campaign, praising Obama’s goals but lamenting his poor execution:
This makes the decision to accept Obama's invitation to run the State Dept. while he destroyed the nation's healthcare system seem brilliant.  It gives her plausible deniability, and allows her to claim to want to fix the problems he created.

Except for four dead in Benghazi.  

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