Wednesday, December 4, 2013

3 questions the Obama administration won't answer about Obamacare

CNN News ^ | December 4, 2013 | By Z. Byron Wolf 

Donald Rumsfeld's most famous quote has to do with whether there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But he might as well have been a reporter talking about Obamacare.

"There are known unknowns," said Rumsfeld back in February of 2002. "That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."

Here, in order from least to most alarming, is a look at three of the things we're pretty sure the Obama administration knows about the health law and is choosing not to share:

1. How many people are on the website?
2. How many people are signing up?
3. How broken is the back end?

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Confession: I oppose Obama because he's Black ^ | Dec. 3, 2013 | Michael Hutcheson 

Robert Redford and Oprah Winfrey recently became the latest in a long line of celebrities, Democrats and others who have publicly stated that those of us who oppose Obama’s policies do so only because he is black. I have ignored or denied this charge for five years. After careful self-reflection and honest soul searching, however, I now wish to confess and admit the truth: the reason, and the only reason, I oppose Obama’s policies is because he is black.
During his 2008 campaign, Obama blacked the American people that he would have the “most transparent administration in history.” He has since conducted one of the most secretive in history. Obama has personally spent literally millions of dollars blacking out all of his public records from birth through college, so that we can’t know what his grades were, what his college applications stated about his status as a foreign exchange student from Indonesia, what his writings say or where the money to support him came from. This type of complete black-out of a presidential nominee’s records is unprecedented.
Obama blacked nearly a Trillion taxpayer dollars on a failed “stimulus” plan which created no jobs, although he blacked that it would create “millions of shovel-ready jobs” and keep unemployment under 8%. Instead, unemployment blacked up to over 10%. Two and a half years after the first failed “stimulus,” with 1.7 million fewer Americans working than before the “stimulus,” Obama then ignored reality and blacked congress to spend another $450 billion on a second “stimulus.” Obama’s disastrous economic policies have blacked the number of jobless Americans up to 93 million and kept unemployment over 8% for 53 straight months. The actual jobless rate, those who want but can’t find jobs, remains around 14%, and even worse for blacks.
Obama blacked billions of dollars in government loans to “green” energy companies and other ridiculous enterprises, such as Solyndra, which spent the money and then went bankrupt, sticking the American taxpayers with the bills while much of the money was funneled back into Democratic campaign coffers. This blacking of funds is called ‘money laundering’ among regular citizens and would subject civilian perpetrators to prison. Obama blacked that he would “cut the federal deficit in half in my first term.” In January of 2009 when he took office, the federal budget deficit, as reported by the U.S. Treasury Department, stood at $485.2 billion. Blacking his deficit-cutting pledge, in his first year in office Obama blacked the deficit up to $1.4 Trillion, the first Trillion dollar deficit in American history. In his second year, Obama blacked another $1.3 Trillion in deficits; in his third year, he blacked yet another $1.3 Trillion. In his fourth, heblacked another $1.1 Trillion. Having tripled the inherited deficit for three years in a row and only doubled it in the fourth, Obama had the audacity to black the American people that the deficit was “coming down” under his watch.
In January 2009 the national debt stood at $10.6 Trillion dollars. That’s all the debt accumulated from the first George W. (Washington) to the last George W. (Bush). Yet by August of 2011, just two and a half years later, Obama had blacked the debt up an additional $4 Trillion, the fastest rate of increase in American history. Today, the debt has been blacked up under Obama to an incomprehensible $17.2 Trillion, so that each and every American’s share of that debt is $54, 284. Obama is already pushing to black up even more debt, and it is projected that by the end of his second term America’s debt will stand at about $25 Trillion.
Obama has blacked up a seemingly endless number of scandals and blacked many unconstitutional acts in five short years. In the botched “Fast and Furious” operation blacked by Obama’s blatantly racist and corrupt attorney general, Eric Holder, Obama’s administration willingly blacked thousands of automatic rifles to known Mexican drug cartels, some of which were used to murder a U.S. Border Patrol agent, and untold hundreds of Mexican nationals. When the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi was murdered with three other Americans by Muslim terrorists, after begging for help which Obama refused to send, his administration blacked up a cover story that the terrorist murderers had become upset over a silly internet video. Discovered documents have since proven this to be a carefully crafted lie, and they show that the truth was known almost immediately by the White House and State Department, which lied deliberately.
Obama’s I.R.S. willfully and illegally targeted and blacked his conservative political opponents leading up to the 2012 election, denying or delaying requests and requiring unreasonable volumes of documents and information, creating a constitutional crisis and trampling on the rights of Tea Party groups and other citizens in a blatant abuse of power. Obama’s N.S.A illegally blacked and spied on millions of American citizens in probably the largest illicit information gathering enterprise in history.
Obama blacked his Immigration Department not to enforce standing immigration law, thereby directly violating his oath of office to “faithfully execute” the laws. Obama knowingly and willingly lied to the American people dozens of times over three years about his health care law, blacking that, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.” Internal documents and the law itself have revealed that Obama knew this was a lie when he blacked it.
Obama has unconstitutionally and unilaterally changed his own health care law a dozen times, without congressional approval, therebyblacking and usurping congressional powers.
Obama has blacked his H.H.S Department not to enforce certain sections of the standing health care law, again blacking and violating his oath of office in an unconstitutional act. Under Obama’s foreign policy, he has allowed the Middle East to black into chaos, blacked arms to members of Al Qaeda, blacked Iran to get dangerously close to attaining nuclear weapons, empowered Russia and China, weakened andblacked America’s relationship with our allies, and basically blacked us a laughingstock worldwide, where we are no longer respected.
It should now be clear that the only reason I oppose Obama’s policies is racism. After all, if any white liberal Democrat or Marxist/socialist president had committed the above acts of lying, tyranny, abuse, incompetence, neglect, dereliction and deception, I of course would not oppose them, but would support that white liberal Democrat or Marxist/socialist president fully.
For anyone not too ignorant to recognize blatant satire and dripping sarcasm, this ‘confession’ should illustrate just how immeasurably absurd the contention is, that Obama’s opponents are simply racists. Neither myself not any conservative I know gives a tinker’s damn that Obama is only half white rather than fully white. What we care about are his catastrophic presidency, his colossal failures, his utter fiscal cluelessness, his massive economic and foreign policy disasters, his reckless disregard for the separation of powers, his shirking of his constitutional oath to uphold standing law, his sophomoric attitude, his frightening diplomatic naiveté, his open contempt for the rule of law and traditional American values, his oppression of liberty and his dangerous ignorance of geopolitical reality. This is why we oppose Obama.
Robert Redford and Oprah Winfrey are simply the latest buffoons to climb aboard the ship of fools already populated by such irrelevant and ignorant hypocrites as Danny Glover, Morgan Freeman, Jimmy Carter, Janeene Garafalo, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon and others. They are the true racists, these blindly loyal supporters of Obama who ignore all of his disastrous policies and their terrible consequences, and who still excuse such blatant incompetence just because Obama’s black half looks like them, or because they somehow feel superior for supporting the first Affirmative Action president, no matter how inexperienced, no matter how unqualified, no matter how big a failure, no matter how devastating the toll on the country. These Leftist sycophant hypocrites cannot successfully debate issues so they deny reality and try to deflect legitimate criticism of Obama by projecting their own vile racism onto others. They are morally and intellectually bankrupt. Their rallying cliché of racism is pathetic, juvenile and worn out, and no one is listening anymore. They deserve our unmitigated contempt.
Originally published at 

Sticking Your Neck Out

Institute for Creation Research ^ | Dec. 2013 | Timothy L. Clarey, Ph.D. 

In 1809, Jean Baptiste Lamarck speculated that the necks of giraffes could grow longer simply by reaching higher and that they could pass this trait on to their offspring.1 A half-century later, Charles Darwin suggested that giraffes born with longer necks than their rivals could reach more food and were thus better fit to survive. If either one of these ideas were true, scientists should find ancient “giraffe” fossils reflecting a pattern of transformational neck growth over time. However, after generations of searching, paleontologists have failed to uncover any evidence of transitional giraffe necks. What about the long-neck dinosaurs—do they show neck-growth evolution?
A recent study of sauropodomorph dinosaurs published in PeerJ has unlocked secrets to their marvelous design.2 Sauropodomorphs are commonly referred to as the “long-necks” for a reason: All possessed at least 10 elongated neck vertebrae, making sauropodomorph necks six times longer than the tallest giraffe’s neck, at minimum!2 Almost all mammals have seven neck vertebrae, by contrast.3 Although the researchers claimed that sauropods (the most common subgroup of sauropodomorphs) “inherited long necks from their basal sauropod ancestors,” they offered no transitional fossils to back their claim.2
However, they did find that sauropod necks—some reaching as long as 48 feet in length—possessed a set of seven special characteristics that facilitated having an extremely long neck: 1) the body size to support a long neck, 2) the skeletal stability of a quadrupedal stance, 3) small heads, 4) ten or more neck vertebrae, 5) elongated neck vertebrae, 6) an apparent air-sac breathing system, and 7) vertebrae designed with “pneumaticity,” i.e., many holes to lessen the weight.2
Without this combination of characteristics, the long-neck sauropods could not have survived. A large body size and stance are essential foundations for a long neck because they stabilize long appendages and literally prevent the animal from toppling.2 Sauropods’ small heads also reduced the required lifting power of their necks.
A unidirectional air-sac breathing system would have eliminated “dead space” in sauropod tracheas, caused when used air is re-inhaled before it can be fully exhaled—a limiting factor in the length of mammal necks. Allowing only one direction of air flow through the lungs, as in extant birds, this type of system always keeps freshly inhaled air passing across the lungs and eliminates the leftover, stale air that collects in mammals.4
Finally, the authors determined that sauropods had neck bones that were composed of 50 to 70 percent air space in volume, greatly reducing weight. Overall, sauropods possessed the perfect set of features to facilitate their long necks.2
These seven special characteristics had to be present and change simultaneously for long-neck dinosaurs to grow, function, and survive. Removing just one element would have caused the sauropod to fall flat and fail as an organism.
Another recent paper found the unique design of sauropods extends even to their limb bones. The authors, publishing in PLOS One, found that gigantism in dinosaurs was achieved by a thickening of the cartilage between the leg bones, opposite to the thinning trend of cartilage between mammal leg bones as they grew larger. This thickening of cartilage, they suspect, allowed for better cushioning or “shock absorption” and reduction in joint friction.5
It is this all-inclusive, concurrent combination of features that makes any form of intermediate creature impossible and points, not to a fortunate accident, but to an all-encompassing plan. The Creator made fully-formed sauropods, along with man—and giraffes—on Day Six of the creation week.
Wicander, R. and J. 2010. Historical Geology, 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 133-134.
Taylor, M. P. and M. J. Wedel. 2013. Why sauropods had long necks; and why giraffes have short necks. PeerJ. 1: e36.
Manatees and sloths are the only exceptions. Three-toed sloths have eight to 10, with nine being the most common. Two-toed sloths have five to eight, with six being the most common. Manatees have six.
Wedel, M. J. 2003. Vertebral pneumaticity, air sacs, and the physiology of sauropod dinosaurs. Paleobiology. 29 (2): 243-255.
Bonnan, M. F., et al. 2013. What lies beneath: sub-articular long bone shape scaling in Eutherian mammals and Saurischian dinosaurs suggests different locomotor adaptations for gigantism. PLOS One. 8 (10): e75216.
* Dr. Clarey is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and received his Ph.D. in geology from Western Michigan University.
Cite this article: Tim Clarey, Ph.D. 2013. Sticking Your Neck Out. Acts & Facts. 42 (12).

ICR article image 

Powers Push to Get In on Last Days of Obama Land Rush ^ | December 4, 2013 | John Ransom 

The Obama Land Office is doing booming business these days. Strategic gains are being made by America’s enemies at a record clip.
Not since Roosevelt gave away Eastern Europe at Yalta, has an American president so disordered the strategic balance of power worldwide. Roosevelt we now know was dying when he attended the Yalta conference. Obama, on the other hand, has been dead from the neck up for a long time.
So it comes as little surprise that U.S.-Chinese relations have entered a new phase with hardliners behind the bamboo curtain directly challenging Japanese sovereignty and thereby directly challenging American power in the Far East.
China has claimed air defense zones above islands in the East China Sea that are occupied by the Japanese.
“China declared a protected territorial zone over territory it does not occupy,” explains NightWatch. “It has the power, but not the right to make such a declaration. The right is that of the occupant or owner. Whenever a claimant asserts such a right, it is a de facto challenge to the occupying power and fundamentally destabilizing.”
NightWatch goes on to say that stability has been a key tenet of Chinese policy throughout the region, even to the extent of chastising North Korea for its destabilizing tendencies.
“Chinese military leaders and sovereignty hard-liners have moved too fast in two respects,” reports NightWatch. “They have issued declarations that exceed China's enforcement capabilities and they have issued rules that inherently destabilize northeast Asia, which party leaders have insisted repeatedly must remain stable.”
Yes, except destabilization has worked wonders for Russia and Iran in the Middle East.
For both Tehran and Moscow, Obama’s curious lack of policy has been one of those accidents of history-- a golden BB that sinks the mightiest battleship.
The Obama administration has shown no resolve in tackling tough foreign policy issues, instead the administration runs foreign policy by power vacuum.
They retreat and then see what happens in the absence of US power.
This policy has the benefit of at least being lazy. It costs them almost no effort. And since everyone else does the work for them, there’s no possibility of a flawed rollout. The rollouts, of course, have really hampered things on the domestic front—green energy, stimulus, Fast and Furious, Dodd-Frank, Obamacare.
So the administration’s policy has been to cede power directly to others... so long as they aren’t individual American citizens.
“Obama’s concessions to Russia have had the same effect in the east,” writes Daniel Greenfield. “The ‘flexibility’ that he transmitted to Vladimir [Putin] was another strategic withdrawal of American power and influence from a crucial region and the transfer of that power and influence to Russia.”
About the only country they have shown a willingness to stand up to is Libya under Gadhafi, and he was isolated and weak. A fifth-grade football team could have toppled him.
I have a rule when it comes to intelligence analysis that says that when confronted with inconsistencies, it means that you don’t have all of the information yet to properly understand the information.
In this case the inconsistencies are a Chinese policy of “stability” for the region on the one hand and assertions of expanded sovereignty on the other, which is inherently destabilizing.
One possible explanation for the inconsistencies is that China sees the rapid gains being made by Russia and Iran in the Middle East and realizes that the Obama land rush will only last three more years.
At the very least, one could suppose that the Chinese are seeking to test U.S. resolve in the area. After all when has Obama stood up to anyone really?
I certainly don’t think China’s worried about a possible adverse Obama reaction to Chinese assertions of authority in Asia.
He’s not worried about the Islamists in Afghanistan and Pakistan; he abandoned Iraq to Tehran; he sold out the Egyptians to the Muslim Brotherhood; he sold out the Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel to a new enemy every day.
Russian power, under their current president, Vladimir Putin, has expanded in the Middle East beyond all proportion to their actual strength. What Russia could not get on their own because they lacked the legitimacy and strength to do so, Obama has granted.
Already the administration is sending mixed signals, which is death when it comes to diplomacy.
“Tokyo has been urging Japanese commercial flights not to notify China before flying through the zone,” reports the USAToday. “Word that the U.S. had advised American commercial carriers to comply rankled leaders in Tokyo, who are hoping a united front with the U.S. will increase pressure on Beijing to reverse course.”
While people questioned American foresight, strategy and wisdom under George Bush, they were never confused about our aims and our resolve.
Today countries around the world are questioning our foresight, strategy, wisdom, aims AND resolve.
So you can’t blame the Chinese for thinking the Obama Land Office might be open only three more years.

Adding comfortable seats and box lunches won’t change the Obamacare train’s final destination!

Coach is Right ^ | 12/4/13 | Kevin "Coach" Collins 

In its heyday Cunard cruise lines used the tagline, “Getting there is half the fun.” It worked well because the “there” its ships were getting passengers to was a happy vacation in an attractive part of the world.
Now that Obamacare’s website repairs have “fixed” 90% of its problems according to Barack Obama, we are to believe that getting to Obama’s promised land, “ half the fun.” But believing this means believing there is actually a desirable “there” at the end of one’s Obamacare journey. Clearly a growing majority of Americans don’t believe this.
Like all liberal programs, Obamacare relies on keeping the masses ignorant of what its final results will be. Except among TEA party supporters who saw through Obama’s lies from day one, Obamacare was popular only with his ignorant masses. The less they knew about the program, the more...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Krauthammer: ‘It’s sort of touching the way Obama believes in the power of his rhetoric’

Mediaite ^ | 12/03/2013 | Brendan Bordelon 

Columnist Charles Krauthammer told Fox News Tuesday that the president’s last-ditch campaign to save Obamacare won’t work, saying it’s “sort of touching the way Obama believes in the power of rhetoric — his rhetoric — in denying and trumping reality.”
On Fox’s “Special Report,” host Bret Baier spoke with Krauthammer, columnist George Will and NPR’s Mara Liasson about the pileup of problems plaguing the president’s flagship achievement. Each panelist expressed skepticism over Obama’s new campaign to rebrand and remarket Obamacare.
“Well, I suppose it’s fitting that this president, who’s the first president whose campaign for the presidency was his qualification for the presidency, is now campaigning yet again,” said Will. “And as he speaks — the more he speaks — the more carefully you have to parse his sentences.” The columnist rattled off the website glitches, low enrollment numbers and court challenges all threatening Obamacare. “Aside from that, everything’s going swimmingly,” he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

UM… Obama admin announces they will let insurers GUESTIMATE how much govt owes for Obamacare…

The Right Scoop ^ | December 3rd, 2013 

This is the government that wants to run your health care:

So because the payment portion of the Obamacare website hasn’t been created yet, Megyn Kelly said tonight that the Obama administration has now announced they will pay the insurers for Obamacare based on an estimated guess by the insurers and will worry about truing it up later.

Yeah…what could go wrong?

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Who was standing behind Obama? White House won't say!

washington examiner ^ | 12/3/13 | BYRON YORK 

Nineteen people stood behind President Obama on stage in the Executive Office Building Tuesday as the president kicked off a new campaign to promote Obamacare. One of those people, a young Florida woman named Monica Weeks, introduced Obama after telling the story of being struck with Crohn's Disease at age 19 and receiving expensive treatments for several years that were covered by her parents' health care plan — because Obamacare allowed her to remain on that plan until age 26. Now, Weeks said, she has coverage through a job. "The Affordable Care Act gives young adults who are just starting their careers more time to find a good job that offers reliable health insurance," Weeks said.
There were 18 other people standing with Weeks and the president on stage. Obama began his remarks by saying, "Thanks to Monica, thanks to everybody standing behind me." A little later, criticizing Republicans who have pronounced Obamacare a failure, the president said, "I would advise them to check with the people who are here today and the people that they represent all across the country whose lives have been changed for the better by the Affordable Care Act."
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Why Obamacare Means Life and Death…for Both Political Parties

Mother Jones ^ | December 3, 2013 | David Corn 

In politics, hyperbole is routine. It's common for campaign ads to praise a candidate as a savior or denigrate a contender as the destroyer of worlds. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers regularly claim that a particular piece of legislation will yield everlasting rainbows—or bring about complete devastation. President Barack Obama has been hailed by fans as a champion of hope and change and declaimed by foes as a secret, foreign-born, America-hating Muslim socialist bearing a covert plot to weaken the nation he leads. But every once in the rare while, hyperbole is warranted. And as the fierce mud-wrestling over Obamacare continues, it's not going too far to say that this clash is darn close to a life-and-death battle between the Democrats and Republicans. Which explains why the conflict is not ending, even as the White House patches up the glitchy website. Tea party leader Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is still tweeting out daily his demand for a full repeal of Obamacare, and Obama, as he is demonstrating at a White House event on Tuesday afternoon, is revving up the White House sales campaign for the Affordable Care Act.
With the website somewhat functioning, the fundamental debate over Obamacare resumes, and this debate pits the basic philosophy of each party against the other. Ever since becoming tea partyized, the Republican Party has essentially stood for one notion: Government is the problem. After the economic crash of 2008, Republicans tended to blame Washington's federal budget woes—not the actions of Wall Street dealers and schemers—for the financial calamity that sent the economy into the most severe recession since the Great Depression. They saw little need for government action to re-regulate the financial shenanigans that led to millions of Americans losing their jobs and homes. And they fiercely opposed the idea that government should stimulate the collapsing economy. The tea party victory of 2010 pushed the GOP further in this direction, with new Republican legislators obsessively peddling a single-minded agenda: Big government must be crushed. Obamacare, naturally, was the main target of this ideological wrath. So much so that this year, House Speaker John Boehner was outmaneuvered by Cruz-inspired tea party back-benchers determined to shut down the government to thwart health care reform law.
Obamacare does indeed embody the president's view that government can be a force for positive change. After the 2010 election—even before the GOP was close to settling on Mitt Romney as its 2012 presidential nominee—Obama began setting up a strong ideological contrast between himself and the Republicans in preparation for his reelection battle. He repeatedly tried to place the ongoing battles of the moment—over the budget, over the debt ceiling—within an overarching clash of values. The Rs, he argued, believed government should be reduced and people left to their own devices within the marketplace. Instead, he maintained, government action was crucial for overcoming the economic challenges the country faced. Government could shape the economy of the future by investing in education, infrastructure, and clean energy; the federal government could be a positive actor in protecting middle-class Americans and lifting up the poor. The 2012 presidential campaign did become a face-off between these two distinct visions. (Rep. Paul Ryan's acceptance speech at the Tampa convention—a hardcore libertarian critique of government—was perhaps the most archly ideological convention speech in decades.)
Obama won this contest, but the fight over the big stuff wasn't over. And the Republicans didn't have to depend on libertarian abstractions to wage this battle. Obamacare still loomed. Though it had passed Congress and been okayed by the Supreme Court, the health care law still did not poll well. (At least half of those who had an opinion of the Affordable Care Act were dubious, particularly after years of relentless bashing from the right. The skeptics, though, did include Americans who believed Obamacare did not go far enough and relied too much on the private health insurance industry.) And because the program had yet to kick in fully, tea party Republicans saw there was still an opportunity. Obamacare did represent what they most fundamentally opposed: active government intervention in society. The Republican Party's raison d'être had become a single note: assail the idea that government can be a productive force (in any matter other than perhaps national security). Though GOPers have repeatedly deployed false attacks—death panel!—they were not wrong to zoom in on Obamacare as the defining difference between them and the Dems.
In recent weeks, the basics of this fight have been obscured by the dustups over the website and the cancelation of junky policies within the individual market. Now, the bottom-line debate is reemerging: Is this big-government program worthwhile and effective or not? (Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican form Tennessee, recently claimed Obamacare was beyond fixing.) But within months, it may well be that abstract arguments over the nature of Obamacare will be trumped by the realities of the Affordable Care Act. Eventually, there will be stats and facts to consider: how many people receive insurance through the exchanges, what happens with premiums, the direction of health care costs, customer satisfaction, and the like. Though the results may be open to debate for a while, it is distinctly possible that one side or the other will be proven right (or wrong). If the website functions, millions sign up, and the health care market doesn't crash, and premiums don't zoom up—and this will be on top of the already existing benefits of Obamacare, including removing preexisting conditions restraints, allowing young adults to remain on their parents' policies, reducing out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors, and forcing insurance companies to devote a higher percentage of premiums to health care coverage—where will the Republicans be? Not only will they be failed doomsayers; they will have lost the No. 1 item on their why-you-should-vote-GOP list. Their anti-government crusade will be derailed. They will be a train without a motor.
Should Obamacare not work, then Obama's vision—which reflects the progressive tradition of the past century—will be a flat tire. He will no longer be able to advance the cause of government activism. Expand Head Start? Create an infrastructure bank? Why should government be allowed (or trusted) to increase its reach? He can talk about helping the middle class. But how? The failed rollout of the website was a problem in so many ways but especially because it suggested that government cannot perform competently. A more extensive failure with Obamacare would suggest that government cannot be used in the manner Obama wishes to see it utilized.
What's at stake in this never-ending debate over Obamacare are the foundational premises of each party. The success of Obamacare could be close to a death blow to the GOP. Ditto for Obamacare and the Democrats, should it collapse. Of course, this has implications for next year's congressional elections—though the traditionally low off-year turnout and gerrymandering could be offsetting factors. But there likely will come a time, if not in months, then in years, when the results of Obamacare will matter as much as the rhetoric generated by Obamacare—perhaps more so. When that day arrives, it will be quite a bad moment for one of the two parties.

Obamacare merry-go-round: Regulations, subsidies, taxes, more subsidies!

Washington Examiner ^ | December 3, 2013 | TIMOTHY P. CARNEY 

Nobody should be surprised that President Obama's Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a new bailout for insurers.

Whenever Obama sees a problem, he proposes a regulation. When that regulation hurts someone, he proposes a subsidy. That subsidy, in turn, justifies a new tax or regulation, then more bailouts.

It may seem like he’s swinging back and forth — pro-business, then anti-business — but he’s marching in a straight line: more state control of industry. It's the ratchet of state corporatism, and Obama is pretty handy with it.
Health insurers and the federal government were intertwined in a web of subsidies and regulations before Obamacare, of course. The federal government exempted insurance from wage and price controls, and later made it an untaxed benefit. These rules not only subsidized insurance, but by favoring the employer-based market over the individual market, they insulated insurers from competition.
Meanwhile, the federal government and states piled on regulations, including coverage requirements. In Maryland, for instance, insurers are required to cover in-vitro fertilization.
Obamacare takes state corporatism to a whole new level.
n his 2008 campaign, Obama promised to force insurers to cover pre-existing conditions, to take all comers and to charge roughly the same price regardless of risk. These regulations, though, would break the industry: Sick and risky people would buy insurance, prices would rise for everyone, making insurance a bad deal for the young and healthy, who would then drop insurance. It’s called a death spiral.
To prevent the death spiral, Obama (contrary to his campaign-trail promises) gave the insurers their holy grail: an individual mandate requiring people to buy insurance. Because he further required this insurance to be fairly comprehensive, it forced low-risk customers to pay for more insurance than they needed, subsidizing the insurance industry's coverage of high-risk people.
Is it unfair to young, healthy people of moderate income? Of course it is. So, following the standard pattern, Obamacare patches up this costly mandate with insurance subsidies, paid through the exchanges.
But these subsidies are also insurance subsidies. Every subsidy gives birth to a new tax or regulation. In this case, it’s tens of billions a year in a new federal fee on health insurers. Regulate, subsidize, tax …
Requiring insurers to take all comers — and restricting insurers’ ability to price risk into premiums — creates another problem besides the death spiral: the possibility that some insurers will get a particularly risky pool of customers.
To guard against this eventuality, Obamacare created a complex subsidy-tax combo called “risk corridors.”
In short, if an insurer gets a healthy pool of customers, pays out less money in benefits than normal and thus reaps big profits, then the insurer has to fork over some of those profits to Uncle Sam. If an insurer gets a risky pool, though, and ends up losing money or making only small profits, the federal government subsidizes that company. More regulations, more subsidies, more taxes.
But we’re not done with this Obamacare merry-go-round.
Remember the outrage when Americans learned that Obamacare outlawed many low-premium health-care plans, so people who liked their plans couldn't keep them? To patch things over, the administration changed the rules to allow customers to keep plans they like. But this hurts insurers who were counting on healthy customers buying plans that were more comprehensive — and more expensive — than they needed.
Time for another subsidy! The Obama administration proposed on Monday to tweak the “risk corridor” rules so as to boost subsidies to insurers. Under the original rules, for instance, profit margins up to 3 percent can be counted as “administrative expenses” and thus not really profits. But the administration can change that number at will. Count profits up to 5 percent as “administrative” and a pretty profitable company could pocket subsidies through the risk corridor. This is the sort of thing HHS's proposed new rule would allow.
This tweak would also save some very profitable insurers from having to pay the fee. Of course, this sticks taxpayers with the tab for subsidizing the insurers — and that’s the way the subsidize-regulate-subsidize game always ends.

Making it worse!



Medal of Freedom

Did you know?

Poison Pill

The bright side!


White People

Thanks to Obamacare...


There. I fixed it!

House of cards

After Obamacare, ObamaCar Insurance?

American Thinker ^ | 12/4/2013 | Lee Cary 

The rollout of ObamaCare is, once again, displaying the federal government's adeptness at managing complexity -- a capability already illustrated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Amtrak (FUBAR), and the United States Postal Service (USPS).  Given the extraordinary rollout of ObamaCare, it's time to start moving toward single-payer auto insurance.

Here are two reasons why.

First, auto insurance companies offer a mind-boggling array of pricing options. Their nationwide, indecipherable rate structure cries out for the keen, coordinating skills of the Washington D.C. central planners.

Second, the spread of telematics applied to vehicle tracking will offer the federal government new surveillance and revenue enhancement opportunities.   

Between 1989 and 2010, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) reported a national average increase of 43.3% in auto insurance rates. (By the way, the new NAIC CEO -- essentially a lobbyist job -- is former Nebraska Senator Ben "Cornhusker Kickback" Nelson.)

Sure, 43.3% is less than the CPI 76% inflation rate increase over those same years, but it's still unfair because the increased costs were not equitably shared. The costs need to be redistributed and, when necessary, supplemented by federal subsidies for those living in high-premium urban areas who can't afford auto insurance.
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Obamacare highlights Barack Obama's inverse genius

Washington Examiner ^ | 12/3/2013 | NOEMIE EMERY 

The inverse genius of Barack Obama becomes more of a marvel each day.
Is it a rule of politics that great measures shouldn’t pass on slender majorities? He enacted a huge bill with majorities running against it, and he and the system haven’t been the same since.
Is it agreed that the "greatest good for the greatest number" should be the goal of all parties? He’s reducing the good of the many for the partial relief of the few.
Is the justification for redistribution to spread wealth and well-being among as many as possible? He’s spreading angst and anxiety to millions and millions who, until October, seemed content and secure.
The remaining fans of his plan to break health care and rebuild it on the lines recommended by liberal bloggers compare it to other programs -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicare Part D -- that made waves at first, and then settled in nicely. But in two crucial ways it is radically different, and it's these ways that tell us it won't.
Most social policy involves the redistribution of money, and none of the plans mentioned above were immune from that. But the costs of these plans were funded by taxes, spread out over all of the country and, due to progressive taxation, fell hardest on those who could pay. Dispersed and proportional, the cost was accepted as moral and justified.
But the costs of Obamacare fall like a hammer on discrete groups of people who face hikes of hundreds of dollars in premiums in being forced -- by the collapse of their plans -- to go on exchanges. And most of these people are not rich. The pain was direct, and the pain was immediate, and the pain was communicated in the press and to Congress, where it was enough to force Obama into an improvised (and unworkable) program "fix" to keep 100 House Democrats from stampeding to the Republicans' side. And at the same time, the program costs more and causes people problems they never expected (and were promised they never would face).
The second big difference is that Medicare, et al, raised taxes on people, but otherwise left them alone. Obamacare isn’t just costing people more money, it’s vastly curtailing their medical choices in ways they perceive as a threat. They can’t keep their doctors. They can’t keep their hospitals. And some state exchanges produce "narrow networks" that put good doctors and hospitals out of their reach.
By threatening their lives as well as their budgets, Obama has created a huge class of losers, who statistically overrun the small class of winners and outweigh them in savvy, no doubt. "A significant minority of losers or self-perceived losers and a few high profile bad outcomes are more than enough to cause real political problems," as Kaiser Foundation head honcho Drew Altman informs us. They’re not a minority, and they have, and they will.
As National Journal's James Oliphant tells us, the plan will insure about 25 million, about half of the number serviced by Medicare, at the expense of almost everyone else in the country, who stand to lose something — in anxiety, money, or care. Those helped "represent just a relative handful of people, many of whom sit at the lower end of the political spectrum, and engage little with the political process ... that’s what’s going to make any sort of renewed national sales pitch so difficult. Among the politically active, the damage is done."
This is what political unviability looks like. We will have to do something to help the uninsured to get coverage. But it will have to be something else.

Dems Are the Out-of-Touch Extremists

Investor's Business Daily ^ | 12/3/2013 | IBD Staff 

Politics: We keep hearing about how the Republican Party is full of radical Tea Party crazies. But our latest IBD/TIPP Poll shows that it's Democrats who are out of touch with reality and well outside the mainstream.

The public overwhelmingly believes the country is headed in the wrong direction, that current economic policies aren't working, that President Obama is doing a bad job, that government should be smaller and that ObamaCare should be repealed. But not Democrats.

On issue after issue, in fact, Democrats are the outliers by wide margins, according to an analysis of the December IBD/TIPP survey.

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