sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, June 7, 2013

Covered California -- for Dummies

This is a primer for Covered California and for California's implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

Would anybody reading this be surprised to learn that the implementation program in California has been based on faulty data? My readers are too smart, given the track record of 'progressives' to cherry-pick data and hold it up as fact, but I don't think that the general population gets it. Progressive people usually come up with ideas to save the world with somebody other than them paying for it, and then when it doesn't work, they have to explain why their brilliant scheme didn't work. The poster child for this would be President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society.

Covered California = Obamacare  (overseen for compliance by the Internal Revenue Service)

Insurance companies in California really love Obamacare. If you look at their stock prices, they are on the way up. Really, they're higher than ever before. Why is this? They're about to make a LOT of money. 

Riddle me this: When has a government mandate ever made anything less expensive? Government isn't in that business.

In order for insurance companies to peddle the goods to Covered California, they have offered loss-leaders, which means that the entry rate into this new insurance scheme is artificially low. They will not take profits in the first year. That situation will not last. Covered California has distorted the data that they use to demonstrate that the public is going to receive better care for far less money under Obamacare. Even though the promise of Obamacare is that all pre-existing illness will be covered by nationalized health insurance, it turns out that "some" pre-existing illness is covered... make of that what you will.

How did they pull this off? In order to keep the Obamacare insurance rates low, California selected second and third tier hospitals, which will offer their sub-standard services to people who pay for Obamacare. Doctors who accept Obamacare will be those doctors who can't make it any other way. Don't trust me on this. Ask a doctor.
(Commerterama Politics) Forbes examined California’s claims and found them to be fraudulent. It turns out that California was comparing individual plans to business plans when it said the rates would go up only about 2%. Forbes did the math and found that if you are a single, non-smoking 25-year-old male, you will pay a minimum of $184 a month for a catastrophic plan. The same plan is currently available for $92. That’s a 100% increase. 
If you’re 40, then you aren’t allowed to buy a catastrophic plan anymore, so you will pay $261 for a plan you can currently get for $121... a 116% increase. So much for 2%.  Forcible Upgrades: In addition to the exchanges, Obamacare includes various mandates on insurers outside the exchanges. This will result in millions of cancellation notices being issued because most policies don’t fit the mandates. The people receiving these noticed will then be offered new policies, which Team Obama claims will offer more benefits (true) but won’t increase costs (false) and even if it does, you should be thankful because you’re getting more benefits now. Right... we should be thankful for being forced to accept something we don’t want and paying more for it. 
Benjamin Franklin wrote, "Democracy is two wolves 
and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty 
is a well armed lamb contesting the vote." 

Andrew Price looked into his crystal ball - which is the same one that I gaze into, and this is what he saw:

Event 1: People get notices that their policies have been cancelled and their new rates are 25% higher. Liberals deny it and blame greedy insurers.

Event 2: A BUNCH of businesses dump their plans and tell their employees to go buy from the Glorious People’s Exchanges! Liberals deny it and blame greedy insurers.

Event 3: Signup day happens and people are shocked to discover that they can’t get the rates advertised. Most actually pay double. Liberals deny it.

Event 4: We hear that there’s no money to pay the subsidies, so poor people will need to be seen on credit. Liberals deny it and blame greedy Republicans.

Event 5: We start getting reports that young people refused to sign up. Liberals deny it but accuse young people of lacking patriotism.

Event 6: We get reports of hospitals turning away Obamacare patients, who now can’t find doctors. Liberals deny it but blame greedy doctors.

Event 7: The 2015 rates come out and they are double the 2014 rates. Liberals blame greedy insurers!

Event 8: We hear that the IRS took in a lot less in fines than expected as people refused to pay them. Liberals blame the rich and the unpatriotic.

Event 9: The exchange system is folded into Medicaid and quietly vanishes. Liberals talk about the need for someone to finally tackle the issue of healthcare since “no one ever has tried before” and they lament the 65 million uninsured.

And

By 2015, businesses have completely restructured to face the "affordable healthcare system". It's well underway now. Those who are able, will hire fewer than fifty people, cut hours to less than 30 and won't offer healthcare plans anymore. The now part-time workers can go into the market and pay a premium price for substandard healthcare. 

This won't impact everyone, but it will impact a SIGNIFICANT number of people. Usually those people will be the ones who can least afford to have their full time job turned into a part time job.

Parting Shot

Yesterday House Oversight Committee Chairman Darryl Issa told CNN's Candy Crowley that interviews with workers in the IRS show targeting of conservative groups was "a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters." I guess that Obamacare/Covered California will work better for registered Democratic Party Voters if this pattern continues.




Special Edition: The Latest Obama Scandal (NSA)

It's not even news when another scandal breaks with the Obama administration. There are so many that it's difficult to keep count. Obama uses the IRS to target and attack his political opponents; Obama's ATF is selling firearms to Mexican Drug Cartels in the hopes that they're used to commit crimes, thus justifying his gun control agenda; Obama's EPA attacks Gibson Guitar because they are Republican Party donors - and leaves their competition (Democratic Party donors) alone; Eric Holder lies to Congress and is held in contempt of Congress; Hillary's cover-her-ass gambit in Benghazi, Libya goes awry and a campaign of lying and obfuscation results. The Justice Department is engaging in witch hunts within the Associated Press, Fox News and CBS (Sharyl Attkisson). Flying armed drones here and there to kill more or less whoever we don't like. (AG Holder did draw the line at US Citizens living inside the US - allegedly). None of that is news if you listen to the mainstream media.

That the New York Times would cover the most recent scandal with a scathing denouncement is shocking.
(New York Times) Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.
Disclosures that the National Security Agency is eves-dropping on ordinary Americans (and who wants to bet that there is a focus on the Republicans?) bothers the New York Times when nothing else would seem to.
NY Times Continued: A senior administration official quoted in The Times online Thursday afternoon about the Verizon order offered the lame observation that the information does not include the name of any caller, as though there would be the slightest difficulty in matching numbers to names. He said the information “has been a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats,” because it allows the government “to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States.”
Please keep in mind, dear readers, that the US Department of Homeland Security considers "Sovereign Individuals", "Patriots" and "Tea Party Members" to be subversives. Secretary Janet Napolitano specifically identified, "retired police officers and returning veterans" as the sort of people that her agency needed to scrutinize carefully. Islamic fundamentalists? Not so much. That would be Islamophobic and the Obama Administration does embrace Islam.

Does anyone want to bet that the targets of the NSA snooping include President Obama's political enemies?
NY Times Continued: On Thursday, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, who introduced the Patriot Act in 2001, said that the National Security Agency overstepped its bounds by obtaining a secret order to collect phone log records from millions of Americans. 
“As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the F.B.I.’s interpretation of this legislation,” he said in a statement. “While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses.” He added: “Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sought to quiet public fears saying that the intrusion into the lives of Americans was necessary, though she has no idea what information has been obtained from millions of Americans or how it is being used.  Dianne, you have no idea how warm and fuzzy that makes me feel.

Is there a Constitution left to govern the land? The answer is yes, there is, but the Obama Administration feels free to disregard it -- and for the most part, their toadies in the mainstream media are happy to follow along, sipping the Kool Aid.
(Fox News) The classified program is code-named PRISM, the Washington Post reported, and has not been disclosed publicly before. Members of Congress who are aware of the program were reportedly bound by oaths of office to keep it confidential. 
According to slides from an internal presentation intended for NSA senior analysts and obtained by the Washington Post, the program accounts for nearly one in seven intelligence reports.

The companies that participate knowingly in the program are Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple, the Washington Post reports.
Declaration of Independence - Revisited

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

How many more scandals will it take (that are generally ignored by the Press)? We need to take back the legislature in 2014 and hold people accountable for what they are doing within the Obama Administration.

Bush vs Obama  (a reminder)
(Malkin) To refresh your memories: If an NSA surveillance program tracks all international communications (or all international communications to al Qaeda hotspots such as Afghanistan), it does not target specific individuals as required by 1801(f)(1). If the communications are intercepted outside the U.S., the NSA program falls outside the definitions in 1801(f)(2) and 1801(f)(4). If the program excludes intentional capture of purely domestic communications, it falls outside the scope of 1801(f)(3). 
Bottom line: a massive surveillance system that intercepts millions or billions of international calls and e-mails may not constitute electronic survellance as defined by FISA, provided that the interception occurs outside the United States and neither specific individuals nor purely domestic calls are targeted 
Under Bush, collection of purely domestic calls by the special collections program was rare or inadvertent — by the New York Times’ own admission. 
And the data mining program exposed in May 2006 (which I linked/referred to at the very top of this blog post) was expressly established “to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity.” 
Under President “War on Terror is over” Obama, massive, blanket collection of data involving purely domestic calls placed by Americans to other Americans is the intended objective, not an accident.