Thursday, August 28, 2014

Strangelovian Obamacare Schadenfreude

August 26, 2014 Democrats won't be mounting a big political offensive around the Affordable Care Act any time soon, but they're beginning to test the pro-Obamacare waters.

Heading into the 2014 midterms, Republicans continue to hold a clear advantage in the politics of Obamacare. And even if the tide does ultimately shift for the law, it almost certainly won't happen by November. Still, there are signs that Democrats are slowly becoming more confident talking about the health care law, or at least parts of it.

"There is a palpable comfort that didn't exist as recently as six months ago," said Chris Jennings, who worked on health care strategy in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. "I think we're in transition, moving from a defense to an achievement strategy."

If that transition is happening, though, it's still in its very early phases.

Democratic strategists cautioned against reading too much into the trickle of pro-Obamacare messaging some candidates have embraced. The health care law is finding a place in Democrats' campaigns often as a byproduct of some other political need, they said, not because of a broader strategic shift within the party.
Remember How Obamacare Is Supposedly No Longer a Campaign Issue?
Sure you do. Of course, the facts show that Obamacare remains very much a campaign issue–the unsubstantiated claims of Greg Sargent and Paul Krugman notwithstanding–and now, via InstaPundit, we have an indication that if anything, not enough is being made about the deleterious effects of health care “reform”:
Institutions say complying with the Affordable Care Act has caused them to pass on some costs to employees, according to a new survey from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.
Since the act began to take effect, some 20 percent of institutions have made changes to benefits in an effort to control associated costs, the survey says. About the same percentage of colleges are considering making changes, or making further changes, in the year ahead. Of those institutions that have made changes so far, 41 percent have increased employees’ share of premium costs. Some 27 percent have increased out-of-pocket limits, while about one-quarter increased in-network deductibles or dependent coverage costs, or both. Some 20 percent increased employees’ share of prescription drug costs.
No one is actually going to claim that we should be happy with this state of affairs. Right?
Bearing in mind the high percentage of academics who routinely vote for the democrats, my sympathies are , to say the least, limited.

Md. Health Exchange Under Review For Possible Fraud
A Maryland Congressman says subpoenas are being issued in a federal investigation into Maryland’s health exchange. He believes there was fraud in the system that cost taxpayers millions but didn’t work right at the start.

Congressman Andy Harris says there appears to be evidence of fraud. He is Maryland’s only Republican in Congress and has fought Obamacare. But this investigation—if it’s happening—is being conducted by what is supposed to be a non-political government agency. Maryland’s health exchange—the connection to Obamacare here—never worked as easily as the ads promised at launch. It crashed and was filled with technical problems.

The exchange is now being revamped but Harris says there’s a growing federal investigation into the millions of taxpayer dollars already spent on the website.
He says the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General is issuing subpoenas for fraud.
. . .
It’s unclear who is being targeted in any possible investigation, whether the subpoenas are for government workers or contractors. The health exchange and fixes to it are expected to cost taxpayers more than $260 million.
Maryland has a reputation for a certain level of corruption. Not as bad as New York and New Jersey, but more than enough to keep the constituents working for them. Expect contractor wrist to be slapped, but no real reform.

Press finally finds government spending to oppose: Obamacare Lawsuit
Fiscal profligacy has been a conservative concern of near paramount importance since the 110th Congress passed Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailout funding – a development that many believe gave rise to the conservative insurgent movement which later became known as the tea party. Since then, tea party conservatives have been expressing deep concerns about the government spending ranging from the Affordable Care Act, to the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to Defense Department procurement waste, to ballooning entitlement spending and liabilities, to the nation’s nearly $18 trillion in debt. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Furthermore, conservative groups have screamed at the top of their lungs about government waste and fraud, amounting to billions per year in poorly used taxpayer dollars. The Heritage Foundation has a helpful post which itemizes some of the most wasteful government programs, ranging from the $25 billion Washington spends on maintaining vacant federal buildings, to $2.4 billion used to provide the Pentagon with jets they will never use, to $2.6 million the U.S. government applied to a program aimed at “training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.”

Most of these concerns were scoffed at and dismissed by the media when they weren’t ignored outright. Publicizing any of this waste is of little value to the public, the press apparently surmised. But when Republicans get it in their heads to enforce the separation of powers and put a Democratic president in a political bind by compelling him to administer all the provisions of a deeply unpopular law he championed, then all of the sudden the media finds itself incensed by the application of American tax dollars to such a frivolous cause.

“The House of Representatives will pay a law firm $500 an hour to represent them in their lawsuit against President Obama, a move that drew scorn from their Democratic counterparts,”CBS News reported on Tuesday.
Foolish consistency and all.

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