Our earliest political memory is of January 20, 1961, though we don’t recall if the TV was a Muntz or a Silvertone. We also recall when the Reverend Mother at St. Anthony’s School interrupted our seventh grade class to pray for the President. (Most every word in that last sentence is probably illegal in our current progressive America.) The upbeat 1950′s with its fins and jets and promise ended that day, though the goal of that period managed to survive the sixties. HT: GW
Archive for the 'Republicans' Category
Reading this WRM piece is saddening. 50 years after I have a Dream and the left is more consumed than ever by the colors that are on your palette. 50 years after the murder of JFK and the young writer at the NYT deconstructs Dallas along the same lines. Very rich and successful people think like this. What a sad and superficial way to live.
This system requires coordination of over 288 policy options (an average of eight insurers are competing for business in 36 states), each with three or more levels of coverage, while simultaneously calculating beneficiary income, tax credit eligibility, subsidy levels, deductibles, not to mention protecting applicant privacy, insuring web security, and managing a host of other data points…Democratic supporters in Congress took on the task of creating a set of information technologies that has to interconnect with the I.R.S.; the Departments of Labor, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security; the Social Security Administration; state governments; insurers; employers; hospitals; and practitioners in the private sector…
it’s extremely difficult to manage these things even in the best of times. That’s mostly because you have so many different interfaces with so many different assumptions controlling how the individual systems operate. And they’re rarely built with enough flexibility to be used by lots of other systems. If you take a look at the IRS systems, the Department of Homeland Security systems, or any of the other ones we’re talking about, they were never created to be connected to something like HealthCare.gov…
In some states, insurance companies operating through new health care state exchanges are excluding key hospitals from coverage. In New Hampshire…there is one provider, Anthem Blue Cross, and it has excluded 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals from participation in the company’s coverage…Some of these plans exclude coverage at children’s hospitals as well, which means some parents with sick children will have to change their source of care. This too is not what was promised…
“The Affordable Care Act was ingeniously designed to deliver benefits to Democratic constituencies and impose costs on Republican ones,” Frum wrote. “The big surprise in the ACA rollout is that this design is going awry. It’s not only plutocrats and one-percenters who will find themselves worse off; not only the comparatively affluent retirees enrolled in Medicare Plus programs.” These liabilities are becoming apparent in comments from regular voters.
Jennifer Harris, a self-employed lawyer in Fullerton, Calif., was notified that Health Net Inc. has cancelled her $98-a-month policy, and the cheapest plan she can find…cost $238 a month. In a comment sure to warm the heart of Republican strategists looking for issues to divide the struggling middle class from the poor, Harris told the Los Angeles Times, “It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else.” In the same L.A. Times story, Deborah Cavallaro, a real estate agent in Westchester, Calif. who faces a 65 percent increase in health coverage costs, said: “All we’ve been hearing the last three years is if you like your policy you can keep it.” “I’m infuriated because I was lied to,” Cavallaro added.
And still there’s this: “One of the problems we’ve had is one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure and — and that makes, I think, the — the kind of iterative process of fixing glitches as they come up and finetuning the law more challenging.” Okay then.
BTW, we left out things about the Edsall piece that Taranto comments on. Ugh.
In the first month alone, we’ve seen more than 100 million Americans already successfully enroll in the new insurance plans. You’ve got a million Americans who’ve completed an application for themselves or their families. And that represents about a million-and-a-half people. And of those million-and-a-half people, you’ve already got a whole bunch of folks who have successfully signed up to get coverage, and you’ve got almost 400,000 folks who could gain access to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. So effectively, in a month, we’ve already got half a million Americans who will likely have the security of health care – for the first time, in some cases, in their lives – as soon as January 1
Like Jessica Sanford? No wonder he sounds so discombobulated.
There’s this. And then again, there’s this. One of these views is inaccurate. Which do you think it is? More: “who but a bunch of chuckleheads could have imagined you could rearrange the nation’s entire healthcare economy by putting up a single website? Only a politician who has never accomplished anything in the private sector.”
“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” — something the administration knew was untrue — would almost certainly be a textbook case of deceptive advertising, punishable under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practice in or affecting commerce.” This includes a “representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer,” such that the consumer would be “likely to have chosen differently but for the deception”…
a recent CBS News investigation found that HealthCare.gov contains a pricing feature that tends to “dramatically underestimate” the cost of insurance. The website’s “shop and browse” feature divides users into two broad age categories: “49 or under” and “50 or older.” Price estimates for the first age group are based on what a 27-year-old could expect to pay, whereas as the latter group’s price estimates are based on what a 50-year-old would pay, a practice that inevitably produces wildly misleading results for individuals significantly older than the base age. In some cases, actual premiums are nearly double the projected amount. In the words of one industry expert, the feature is “incredibly misleading for people that are trying to get a sense of what they’re paying.”
The FTC requires companies to provide essentially every possible form of information about a given product up front, prior to the point of purchase. Private companies engaged in HealthCare.gov’s kind of behavior would face severe consequences…
Perhaps the most significant grievance the FTC, the CFPB, and, potentially, the Department of Justice (DOJ) would have with a private corporation following HealthCare.gov’s practices would be its apparent disregard for the security of sensitive personal information shared by users. The website, which has been targeted by a series of attempted cyber attacks, initially contained a serious flaw that left user accounts and personal information vulnerable to hackers…
According to an internal memo at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the administration had “only partly completed” a full assessment of the website’s security features ahead of the October 1 launch of the exchanges. The potential lack of security was determined to be “a risk that must be accepted” in order to meet that deadline…
if any of these companies had done this, they would almost certainly have faced serious legal action under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits endangering consumers by “failing to maintain security for sensitive consumer information.” The FTC has pursued such action on 32 occasions since May 2011.
Let’s see. You can keep your plan and your doctor and everything you’ve got now, and it’s all going to be $2500 cheaper, while tens of millions of your neighbors get oodles of new, free stuff! Just how stupid and gullible do you have to be to believe such an obvious fraud and con job?
We blame the press, which is just now beginning to question their messiah. Were they innumerate all these years, or were they complicit in the fraud? Or had they become so out of touch that they believed you can fool (most) all of the people all of the time?
Scotty Reston in the NYT 50 years ago next week:
The irony of the President’s death is that his short Administration was devoted almost entirely to various attempts to curb this very streak of violence in the American character. When the historians get around to assessing his three years in office, it is very likely that they will be impressed with just this: his efforts to restrain those who wanted to be more violent in the cold war overseas and those who wanted to be more violent in the racial war at home. He was in Texas today trying to pacify the violent politics of that state. He was in Florida last week trying to pacify the’ businessmen and appealing to them to believe that he was not “anti-business.” And from the beginning to the end of his Administration, he was trying to damp down the violence of the extremists on the Right.
WSJ: “The JFK assassination was an event in the Cold War, but it was interpreted by America’s liberal leadership as an event in the civil-rights crusade.” There are many statements from the media and politicians similar to Reston’s in the WSJ piece. In some ways the JFK assassination was a Fort Sumter moment in the media’s war on the South.
The year before the Kennedy assassination was the Cuban missile crisis. Even as that got resolved, the US did not know that Castro still had a large number of tactical nuclear weapons given to him by the USSR. The Russians grew increasingly uncomfortable with Castro’s judgment, and decided to remove those weapons also. Oddly enough, they informed Castro of this decision on November 22, 1962.
This fix, that fix. Too much analysis. Phooey! If you nothing about business, and business really isn’t all that difficult to understand, your latest tinkering with your insane Rube Goldberg contraption is only going to propagate more complex errors. Jonah Goldberg notes in the middle of this piece that the fantasists weren’t just in the WH. Thomas Lifson explains towards the end of this piece that it’s not only the basics of supply, demand and profit that elude the fantasists, but the concept of management itself. ‘Nuff said.
On the other hand, Paul Rahe’s piece was worth both reading and writing.
The split between lawmakers and the White House reflects the dilemma the president finds himself in as he seeks to follow through on last week’s acknowledgment about his incorrect promise on health care coverage. Hundreds of thousands of people have received cancellation notices from health insurance companies
The interesting thing about this is that it’s a news story, not an editorial. The editorial board used the word misspoke. Imagine the discussions among the editors and reporters to come up with “incorrect promise,” a phrase that apparently has never made it into the Times before. Good fun!
“I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they’ve got,” Clinton said
Of course that’s next to impossible to do, since insurance companies have spent the last three years revising their systems, their underwriting criteria, their pricing, and on and on. BTW, is this a parody or what?
neither the federal insurance exchange nor the federal subsidies paid to insurance companies on behalf of low-income people are “federal health care programs.” The surprise decision, disclosed last week, exempts subsidized health insurance from a law that bans rebates, kickbacks, bribes and certain other financial arrangements in federal health programs, stripping law enforcement of a powerful tool used to fight fraud in other health care programs, like Medicare.
Surprise decision? Apparently the NYT hasn’t been paying attention to the MO of these characters.
Millions of people are facing cancellation letters. Ideally, we could just say, never mind –– let these people simply stay on their current policies. But here’s maybe the biggest irony in this whole mess. The administration may not be ready for the ACA but the insurance industry is. The health insurance companies spent the last many months rolling their old policies off the books and replacing them with the 2014 ACA compliant products…
Cancellation letters have been sent. Their computer systems took months to program in order to be able to send the letters out and set up the terminations on their systems. Even post-ACA, the states regulate the insurance market. The old products are no longer filed for sale and rates are not approved. I suppose it might be possible to get insurance commissioners to waive their requirements but even if they did how could the insurance industry reprogram systems in less than a month that took months to program in the first place, contact the millions impacted, explain their new options (they could still try to get one of the new policies with a subsidy), and get their approval?
The administration told the carriers to be ready on October 1 and they are ready. You just can’t waive a magic wand and put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
And then we need to remember that these cancelled policies –– over 4 million and counting –– are in two distinctly different classes: 1. Policies written since March of 2010 that by statute cannot be grandfathered. The grandfather provisions of the new law apply only to people who had a policy in force on the day the law was passed in 2010. This makes up about half of the policies being cancelled. 2. Policies in force the day the law was passed are the only ones subject to the very narrow administration’s grandfather rules. Any policy, for example, where the consumer chose to raise the plan’s deductible in order to avoid a rate increase –– a very common thing –– from something like $1,000 to $1,500, has lost its grandfather status. That is almost certainly the majority of this class of policies and why so many are being cancelled…
all of the 50% of policies in the first class and most of the policies in the second class likely total about 80% of the existing individual health insurance market that have received, or are going to receive by the end of 2014, cancellation letters.
In 1963 Sukiyaki was a big hit in the US. A couple of years later so was Hogan’s Heroes. These things happened only two decades after the end of WWII. Two bad ideologies had been defeated. Life moved on. We’re now a dozen years after 9-11 and the ideology that led to it is still mostly untouched. Not a good sign. It would be a very strange thing if the US’s fecklessness on Iran produced Sunni-Israeli cooperation that resulted in a change in a vile ideology. Probably impossible, but we’re looking for the pony in there somewhere.
In other news, Pigalle is apparently being ruined “by the banal globalization of hipster good taste, the same pleasant and invisible force that puts kale frittata, steel-cut oats and burrata salad on brunch tables from Stockholm to San Francisco.” Have a pleasant Sunday!
the caller sounded so official that she agreed to meet him the next day at her home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He told her the law meant she would have to update her Medicare card. Ms. Mirzayans, a retired small-business owner, was grateful that the government was taking such interest in her insurance coverage. Over glasses of pomegranate juice last month, Ms. Mirzayans divulged to her visitor crucial Medicare, Social Security and personal information.
Not to worry. Such things affect 5% of Americans at most.
Fraud is a serious federal felony, usually punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment — with every repetition of a fraudulent communication chargeable as a separate crime. In computing sentences, federal sentencing guidelines factor in such considerations as the dollar value of the fraud, the number of victims, and the degree to which the offender’s treachery breaches any special fiduciary duties he owes…
Justice Department guidelines, set forth in the U.S. Attorneys Manual, recommend prosecution for fraud in situations involving “any scheme which in its nature is directed to defrauding a class of persons, or the general public, with a substantial pattern of conduct”…
For a fraud prosecution to be valid, the fraudulent scheme need not have been successful. Nor is there any requirement that the schemer enrich himself personally. The prosecution must simply prove that some harm to the victim was contemplated by the schemer. If the victim actually was harmed, that is usually the best evidence that harm was what the schemer intended.
To be more illustrative, let’s say our schemer is the president of a health-insurance company, and that it was clearly foreseeable to him that his company’s clients would lose their current insurance plans if the company adopted his proposal of a complex new health-insurance framework…
The concept of fraudulent deception, like the concept of perjury and other forms of actionable false statement, often entails not only affirmative lies — e.g., the general manager who tells a baseball player, “I will not trade you if you sign the contract,” and then proceeds to trade the player after he signs; the concept also commonly involves the omission of material facts (what’s called “material omission”)
McCarthy’s piece has a political slant, but there’s potentially another, if we’re reading him correctly. By the middle of 2010, the CEO’s of publicly traded insurance companies must have known that up to tens of millions of their customers would be canceled by their companies. Arguably, the willful concealment of this information affected the price of their stock. Was their silence about material facts affecting share prices and their own compensation permissible under SEC disclosure rules? We don’t know. Just asking.
I met Secretary Kerry right before he leaves to Geneva. I reminded him that he said that no deal is better than a bad deal. That the deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years. Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and it pays nothing. And this is when Iran is under severe pressure. I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal. But this is a bad deal — a very, very bad deal. It’s the deal of a century for Iran; it’s a very dangerous and bad deal for peace and the international community.
Now perhaps we also know why Saudi Arabia has been so outspoken in its criticism of the administration.
In 1959, the federal government spent $92 billion, of which $40 billion was military spending. President Eisenhower warned of the corruption danger inherent in the military industrial complex with that $40 billion in spending.
The corruption is rampant and it is bi-partisan. James DeLong gives many nasty details about how healthcare policy and lobbying work. Peter Schweizer describes how DC politicians with modest salaries become rich through practices that are legal for them but would get businessmen thrown in jail. That’s the government today.
I have been in this business for 40 years. I know junk health insurance when I see it and I know “Cadillac” health insurance when I see it. Right now I have “Cadillac” health insurance. I can access every provider in the national Blue Cross network––about every doc and hospital in America––without a referral and without higher deductibles and co-pays. I value that given my travels and my belief that who your provider is makes a big difference. Want to go to Mayo? No problem. Want to go to the Cleveland Clinic? No problem. Need to get to Queen’s in Honolulu? No problem.
So, I get this letter from my health plan. It says I can’t keep my current coverage because my plan isn’t good enough under Obamacare rules. It tells me to go to the exchange or their website and pick a new plan before January 1 or I will lose coverage. First, the best I can get in a Blue Cross network plan are HMOs or HMO/Point-of-Service plans. In the core network those plans offer, I would have to go to fewer providers than I can go to now in the MD/DC/VA market. And, the core network has no providers beyond my area. I can go to the broader Blues network but only if I pay another big deductible for out-of-network coverage.
Now, my plan covers about everything. Never had a procedure for either my wife or myself turned down. Wellness benefits are without a deductible. It covers mental health, drugs, maternity, anything I can think of. The new plan would have a deductible $500 higher than the one I now have and a lot more if I go “out-of-network”
More: “Less than 2% of the existing health plans in the individual market today provide all the Essential Health Benefits required under the Affordable Care Act.” More: “A survey of 409 doctors by the Medical Society of the State of New York found that 44 percent weren’t participating in any health plan offered on the state’s exchange.”