I think that everything that the president said and did was in pursuit to get all Americans health care, so, I think, even though he may have said, if you like your decent insurance, your insurance that works, then you can keep it, I think that people really get that. When — he owned it. He said, look, if you misunderstood what I was trying to say, I’m sorry about that. I think that shows integrity.
Archive for the 'Science' Category
We’re tired of the usual blah-blah today so we’ll just make a couple of comments. This chart at Belmont Club is simply bizarre. There are very odd people abroad in the land. Even more bizarre is this piece in the Daily Mail. Possibly an extended joke along the line of the post-modernist spoofing that goes on in the science world from time to time?
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security:
the Islamic Republic controls all aspects of nuclear science, from A-Z, from the very beginning all the way to uranium enrichment. This is why the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution talked about heroic flexibility. After ten years, we have emerged victorious over the West. They wanted to prevent us from acquiring nuclear technology, but we have reached that point, having sacrificed martyrs, and having persevered on that path, enduring an economic siege. Now we have emerged victorious heroes. It was in our best interest to sign this agreement. The Americans reached the conclusion that it would be futile to continue with their policy of confronting the Islamic Republic – a policy that was leading them nowhere. They wanted to prevent Iran from enriching uranium, but we have attained this technology and we are currently using it…They said that they did not recognize our right to enrich uranium, but at the same time, they say that Iran agreed not to enrich above 5%. This constitutes an official acknowledgement…We consider this to be a great victory for Iran, and the beginning of a new phase for the Islamic Republic. Iran has become an official member of the international club…We have now entered a new stage. We expect good results. The nuclear dossier will be removed from the agenda of the UN Security Council, and they…have acknowledged Iran’s uranium enrichment. In addition, the economic siege on the Islamic Republic will be lifted.
WaPo: “the United States and its partners have already agreed that Iranian enrichment activity will continue indefinitely. In contrast, a long-standing U.S. demand that an underground enrichment facility be closed is not mentioned.” Iran sure thinks it got a pretty good deal. (Is that 5% really 5%?) We’re not quite sure what the US got out of this.
media coverage is shifting fast. It’s still mostly trying for equivalence — each positive story of people being helped matched by a negative story of people hurt. But the stories don’t actually match up at all. Small example: earlier today I found myself trapped in a place with CNN on in the background, showing a fair-and-balanced account of losers and winners. First, the loser: a guy who admits that Obamacare has gotten him a plan cheaper than the insurance he had, but who has found that his current allergist is off-network. Annoying, no doubt; but there are other allergists, and this particular one probably didn’t help the case by saying that he’s thinking of refusing to take Medicare patients, too. And in any case, insurance with restricted networks is hardly something new to Obamacare. Then, the winners: a couple with no insurance at all, because her premium would have been prohibitive and he has a preexisting condition that won’t let him buy any kind of insurance at all — but now both covered, at a very affordable price, by Covered California. I don’t know about you, but these don’t sound to me like equivalent stories. At this rate, the whole horrors-of-Obamacare meme will be gone in weeks
California, eh? Cue Exhibit A.
Iran retains its full capacity to enrich uranium, thus abandoning a decade of Western insistence and Security Council resolutions that Iran stop all uranium-enrichment activities. Allowing Iran to continue enriching, and despite modest (indeed, utterly inadequate) measures to prevent it from increasing its enriched-uranium stockpiles and its overall nuclear infrastructure, lays the predicate for Iran fully enjoying its “right” to enrichment in any “final” agreement. Indeed, the interim agreement itself acknowledges that a “comprehensive solution” will “involve a mutually defined enrichment program.” This is not, as the Obama administration leaked before the deal became public, a “compromise” on Iran’s claimed “right” to enrichment. This is abject surrender by the United States.
In exchange for superficial concessions, Iran achieved three critical breakthroughs. First, it bought time to continue all aspects of its nuclear-weapons program the agreement does not cover (centrifuge manufacturing and testing; weaponization research and fabrication; and its entire ballistic missile program). Indeed, given that the interim agreement contemplates periodic renewals, Iran may have gained all of the time it needs to achieve weaponization not of simply a handful of nuclear weapons, but of dozens or more. Second, Iran has gained legitimacy. This central banker of international terrorism and flagrant nuclear proliferator is once again part of the international club.
Benjamin Netanyahu: “What was reached last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement, it is a historic mistake. Today the world became a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world made a significant step in obtaining the most dangerous weapons in the world. I want to clarify that Israel will not let Iran develop nuclear military capability.”
Stepping back, we’re puzzled by this entire situation. North Korea and Pakistan have nukes. How is it that Iran does not have some sort of bomb already? Iran loudly announced its enrichment capabilities seven years ago. That’s a long time, and how does the west know that Iran has only 440 of the 550 pounds of enriched uranium it needs for a bomb? The Manhattan Project was 70 years ago. Iran has now bought another six months and some cash in its current deal. Is six months really a meaningful time frame?
It is a Fabian plan to move an unwilling nation, rooted in free enterprise, into Washington-controlled, fully socialized medicine. As its tentacles spread over time, the scheme (a) pushes all Americans into government markets (a metastasizing blend of Medicare, Medicaid, and “exchanges” run by state and federal agencies); (b) dictates the content of the “private” insurance product; (c) sets the price; (d) micromanages the patient access, business practices, and fees of doctors; and (e) rations medical care. Concurrently, the scheme purposely sows a financing crisis into the system, designed to explode after Leviathan has so enveloped health care, and so decimated the private medical sector, that a British- or Canadian-style “free” system — formerly unthinkable for the United States — becomes the inexorable solution. Once you grasp that this is the scheme, the imperative to lull the public with lies makes sense.
McCarthy may be right, but we suggest there is a real probability of a more disturbing scenario, that on some level the One really believes his BS about the planet healing and the ocean’s rise halting. According to this logic, the website would work well enough to pass muster; the success stories would be much more plentiful than the sob stories. Yeah, it wouldn’t be perfect, and some of the assurances were overblown, but, hey, it works well enough. Pity none of them know a thing about business.
It’s daft to believe such things, but these are the same faculty lounge people who are managing to unite the Arab states and Israel in their opposition to destabilizing US policies. They don’t know that they believe in the sheerest fantasy and nonsense until the failures are spectacular, which is why they were so ill-prepared for the disastrous ACA rollout. Arrogance, incompetence and delusional thinking are a formula for something really bad to happen. Cross your fingers.
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
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.
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.
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.
It wasn’t sufficient to say people who like their plans will be able to keep it, which is narrowly untrue.
the number of people facing cancellations, 51 percent of the employer-based market plus 53.5 percent of the non-group market (the middle of the administration’s range) amounts to 93 million Americans.
And so the rhetoric is now getting a little choppy:
if you had one of these substandard plans before the Affordable Care Act became law and you really liked that plan, you’re able to keep it. That’s what I said when I was running for office. That was part of the promise we made. But ever since the law was passed, if insurers decided to downgrade or cancel these substandard plans, what we said under the law is you’ve got to replace them with quality, comprehensive coverage — because that, too, was a central premise of the Affordable Care Act from the very beginning.
Most of the policyholders dumped this month no longer had their grandfathered plans. Their current plans were cancelled because they don’t provide the “10 essential benefits.” Essential, that is, according to the experts. Fifty-year old couples must pay for maternity care. And straight arrows must pay for substance-abuse treatment…
Sec. 1251(a)(1) of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) says that no one can be required to give up a plan in effect on March 23, 2010, when the law was passed. Those plans are “grandfathered.” But following that guarantee is a list of costly requirements that made it difficult for insurers to keep offering your plan…Union plans were “grandfathered” with none of those fine print tricks and exceptions [Sec. 1251(d)].
The law also left open the possibility that the president could impose additional requirements on grandfathered plans (except union plans). Two months after the ACA was passed, the IRS, Department of Labor, and Department of Health and Human Services — all reporting to the president — churned out hundreds of additional rules to make it even harder for grandfathered plans to survive.
The rule makers knew they were turning the president’s promise into a flim flam. They estimated that up to 69% of individual plans and 89% of small group plans would be cancelled by the end of 2013 as a result of their rules. (Federal Register, June 14, 2010)…
Seniors in Medicare Advantage plans are getting a similar run around when they ask about why their doctors are being axed. United Healthcare cut thousands of cardiologists and other specialists from Advantage plans in the New York metro area and Connecticut during October. So much for the promise that grandma can keep her doctor. That was a lie from day one. Cuts to Medicare pay for over half the president’s health law.
WSJ: “Notice his disdain for those who buy high-deductible policies to protect themselves only from unexpected and unmanageable health-care costs. They are too cheap or too dumb.” That’s you. They don’t like you and they don’t care what you think. They won.
We have a couple of older iPhones that have broken. So as a creature of habit we traveled to the AT&T store to upgrade, even though the Samsung products are said to be better and even though…….well, AT&T. You’d think that upgrading from one standard product to the same standard product, just newer, would be simple. It wasn’t. The Sherman Oaks store manager was cheery and competent and so was the sales associate helping us. Yet it took an hour to go through an automated process that required plenty of human intervention. There are all sorts of color and memory options, a new plan called Next that’s kind of clever, and other bells and whistles. Oh yes, and did we mention that the store had precisely zero iPhones? Never mind, it will be delivered to Casa Dinocrat in two days. Competent job by AT&T, the erstwhile phone monopoly — “we don’t care, we don’t have to, we’re the phone company.”
The enormous complexity of switching from one standard product to another should have been a warning to the unicorn riders in Washington, dealing with something far more extensive and complex, with a back-end that might even have some Fortran or Basic in it. It wasn’t and people are paying a terrible price for the arrogance and incompetence of their betters. They can’t even keep their equipment running, let alone having it communicate in a secure environment (imagine the fun the Chinese and Russian hacking operations are having!). Speaking of the phone company and the government, this Lily Tomlin video from Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In is a laughing matter no more, since the government has now taken over where the phone company left off.
If you are a regular visitor to these pages, you know there is a name that has not passed our lips in several years. It has a magic quality, and has driven otherwise sober observers and historians such as VDH mad, or close to it. Now there is an egregious, and predictable, iceberg of reality dead ahead, appropriately enough, with the progenitor’s name attached. Here’s our question: we understood this nonsense was sold on a pack of lies to get the teeny boppers and other targeted voter groups swooning. Nice speeches, yadda yadda. But now reality bites, and a course change is indicated. And yet the rhetoric is more happy talk. What’s wrong with these people — this seems like a poor tactical choice. And what’s wrong with this guy, the spokesman, who, when confronted with nasty reality, still seems to dream of unicorns and ice cream? How can he get up in the morning and look in the mirror?
An author in the 1940′s:
Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news — things which on their own merits would get the big headlines — being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that “it wouldn’t do” to mention that particular fact. So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralized, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is “not done” to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was “not done” to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.
Bit by bit we’re losing the Enlightenment. But we’ve been in such situations before. The generation that wakes up and discovers that they’ve largely been taught rubbish will not look kindly on the current generation of thought leaders. HT: CF
There are many likely effects of climate change: positive and negative, economic and ecological, humanitarian and financial. And if you aggregate them all, the overall effect is positive today — and likely to stay positive until around 2080. That was the conclusion of Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University after he reviewed 14 different studies of the effects of future climate trends.
To be precise, Prof Tol calculated that climate change would be beneficial up to 2.2˚C of warming from 2009 (when he wrote his paper). This means approximately 3˚C from pre-industrial levels, since about 0.8˚C of warming has happened in the last 150 years. The latest estimates of climate sensitivity suggest that such temperatures may not be reached till the end of the century — if at all. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose reports define the consensis, is sticking to older assumptions, however, which would mean net benefits till about 2080. Either way, it’s a long way off.
Now Prof Tol has a new paper, published as a chapter in a new book, called How Much have Global Problems Cost the World?, which is edited by Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, and was reviewed by a group of leading economists. In this paper he casts his gaze backwards to the last century. He concludes that climate change did indeed raise human and planetary welfare during the 20th century.
You can choose not to believe the studies Prof Tol has collated. Or you can say the net benefit is small (which it is), you can argue that the benefits have accrued more to rich countries than poor countries (which is true) or you can emphasise that after 2080 climate change would probably do net harm to the world (which may also be true). You can even say you do not trust the models involved (though they have proved more reliable than the temperature models). But what you cannot do is deny that this is the current consensus. If you wish to accept the consensus on temperature models, then you should accept the consensus on economic benefit.
Overall, Prof Tol finds that climate change in the past century improved human welfare. By how much? He calculates by 1.4 per cent of global economic output, rising to 1.5 per cent by 2025.
Eh and Eh, foreign and domestic dysfunction. And finally, a case can be made either way for shutdown. We happen to think it was good theater, the evidence for which is that is the rhetoric of the other side. But reasonable people can differ. This is not reasonable, however. Anyway, none of this matters because the country can’t be saved until it stops its practice of 40-70% of children in its various communities being born to unwed mothers.
We’re tired of this, but you can try Richard Epstein, or Megan McCardle, or the WSJ, or even the NYT. The funniest piece is in Forbes. Perhaps we’ll be proven wrong at some point, but we just don’t think it is structurally possible to have a centralized, secure and reliable e-commerce portal when so many competing agendas are at work in government, and when IT and science change so rapidly.
On E-Day, nearly 3 million Americans flocked to Ford showrooms to see the Edsel. Unfortunately, very few of them bought the Edsel. “They’d go in and look at it and leave,” says Arnold. “We couldn’t even get people to drive it,” says Warnock. “They just didn’t like the car. They just didn’t like the front end.” That weird oval grille soon became a running gag. Wags joked that it looked like a horse collar or a toilet seat. Time magazine said it made the car look like “an Olds sucking a lemon.”
But styling was hardly the worst problem. Oil pans fell off, trunks stuck, paint peeled, doors failed to close and the much-hyped “Teletouch” push-button transmission had a distressing tendency to freeze up. People joked that Edsel stood for “Every day something else leaks”…
After months of sluggish sales, the crack PR team gathered to brainstorm ideas for selling Edsels. They were battered and weary and devoid of ideas until an adman named Walter “Tommy” Thomas blurted out a suggestion. “Let’s give away a pony,” he said. Much to Thomas’s amazement, his idea was not only accepted, it was expanded. The geniuses at Edsel decided to advertise a promotion in which every Edsel dealer would give away a pony. It worked like this: If you agreed to test-drive an Edsel, your name would be entered into a lottery at the dealership, with the winner getting a pony.
Ford bought 1,000 ponies and shipped them to Edsel dealers, who displayed them outside their showrooms. Many parents, egged on by their pony-loving children, traipsed in to take a test drive. Unfortunately, many of the lucky winners declined the ponies, opting instead for the alternative — $200 in cash — and soon dealers were shipping the beasts back to Detroit. Now the Edsel folks were not only stuck with a lot of cars they couldn’t sell, they were also stuck with a lot of ponies they couldn’t give away.
As is hilariously illustrated here, the government is structurally incapable of managing anything with a broad user interface that has rapid science and IT advances. Imagine the world if Amazon, YouTube, iPhone, iPad, Google, Twitter etc, all had to stand in line awaiting approval by long chains of government functionaries to operate and update their systems. Even the Julias may come to understand this. HT: AS
What happens when you put a guy with zero e-commerce experience in charge of the healthcare equivalent of Amazon? You get a disaster that even the NYT is forced to notice. And the spin is made funnier in that it is so divorced from reality. This was entirely predictable of course. The faculty lounge doesn’t care much for the businessman, and they think they know better to boot. We suspect these nincompoops were genuinely surprised by the failure of reality to conform to their airy-fairy dreams.