The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Kimberley Strassel summarizes the events of the past week when she writes:
After 16 long days of vowing to Republicans that they would not cave in any way, shape or form on ObamaCare, Democrats spent their first post-shutdown week caving in every way, shape and form. With the GOP's antics now over, the only story now is the unrivaled disaster that is the president's health-care law.

Hundreds of thousands of health-insurance policies canceled. Companies dumping coverage and cutting employees' hours. Premiums skyrocketing. And a website that reprises the experience of a Commodore 64. As recently as May, Democratic consultants were advising members of Congress that their best ObamaCare strategy for 2014 was to "own" the law. Ms. Shaheen has now publicly advised the consultants where they can file that memo.
In 2009, those of us who opposed the ACA warned that any attempt at imposing a hyper-partisan healthcare law would result in a bill that was deeply flawed. After all, Obamacare was designed by left-wing ideologues with little or no understanding or experience in the complexities of healthcare in America, and implemented as a hyper-complex piece of legislation (2000+ pages of legislation and thousands more of regulation) that was nothing more than another hidden redistributive tax on the middle class. It was a magnet for very bad unintended consequences. The consequences that Strassel summarizes are only the beginning.

Obamacare's website (more on that in a moment) will be cobbled together and will eventually "work." Half a billion dollars in taxpayer money will have been thrown away, but in the eyes of this administration, that's small potatoes. The "greater good" must be served. The irony is that once the website works, Obama and his supporters cannot rest easy. Their problems (and sadly, ours) will have just begun.

The media, of course, is focused on the Obamacare website—a study in the incompetence of big government. The entire project is an exemplar of what NOT to do when a large IT project is initiated—overly complex requirements, a poorly specified system, poor project management, incompetent technology, a continuing stream of irrational changes driven not by the requirements but by venal political considerations imposed by an administration that believes its own fantasy ideology, and laughably incomplete testing. The work violates every software engineering principle the industry has adopted over the past four decades.

But a website focus is not where the media should be. It's the law itself that is problematic—no ... that's too soft a characterization. The law is a monstrosity. It's overly complex, overly statist, overly intrusive, and worst of all—it will destroy healthcare as we know it in this country. It will lead to shortages, delays in treatment, poor coverage, no coverage, breathtaking waste, and worse, less effective medical care.

Once the website works, middle class families who make a decent living will begin to understand that their premiums will rise—in some cases substantially. Their deductibles will skyrocket, and their choice of doctors will narrow. They might even loose their corporate health plans or be shifted to part-time work. It's already beginning to happen.

If the media hampsters were doing their job (they are not), they'd report that the increase in health insurance premiums is a hidden tax, designed to pay for the "subsidies" that Obama and his supporters just love to tout. Those subsidies will reduce the cost of healthcare for low wage earners, but at a significant cost to most of the middle class—you remember, the folks that Barack Obama professes to care sooo much about. Once the middle class begins to get uneasy, the Democrats will do what they always do—mollify their base by using a something-for-nothing philosophy. They'll reduce the premiums and deductibles for "working people." But how? You should know the answer. They'll accomplish this by borrowing, thereby increasing our already frightening debt to nightmarish levels.

The Obamacare website is a harbinger of things to come. It exemplifies incompetence and thoughtlessness, partisanship and a lack of clear economic thinking. But it's only the beginning of very bad things that will follow—unless Obamacare is replaced by a sensible, simple, market-driven approach that eliminates big government's thumb on our medical system.

Update I (10/28/13):

The Los Angeles Times is one of the Obama Administration's trained media hamsters. Its "news" stories consistently spin positive on this president and his policies with a blind partisan vigor that should be embarrassing for any legitimate journalist. And yet here's what the LAT says about Obamacare:
Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don't like what they see.

These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.

Although recent criticism of the healthcare law has focused on website glitches and early enrollment snags, experts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama's signature legislation.

"This is when the actual sticker shock comes into play for people," said Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. "There are winners and losers under the Affordable Care Act."
The losers? That's easy—hardworking, moderately successful middle-class people. So much for Obama's defense of the middle class. The winners? Anyone who benefits from Barack Obama's continuing efforts to redistribute income in the United States.

Update -II (10/28/13)

CBS News, still another of the Obama administration's trained media hamsters, has been mugged by reality. They report:
For many, their introduction to the Affordable Care Act has been negative: a broken website, and now cancellation notices from insurance companies followed by sticker shock over higher prices for the new plans. It's directly at odds with repeated assurances from the president, who has said "if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you."

But people across the country are finding out they're losing their existing insurance plans under Obamacare because requirements in the law, such as prenatal and prescription drug coverage, mean their old plans aren't comprehensive enough.

In California, Kaiser Permanente terminated policies for 160,000 people. In Florida, at least 300,000 people are losing coverage.

That includes 56-year-old Dianne Barrette. Last month, she received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield informing her as of January 2014, she would lose her current plan. Barrette pays $54 a month. The new plan she's being offered would run $591 a month -- 10 times more than what she currently pays.

Barrette said, "What I have right now is what I am happy with and I just want to know why I can't keep what I have. Why do I have to be forced into something else?"
That's a really good question, particularly because Barack Obama "promised" that wouldn't be the case.

Update III (10/29/13)

After five long years of silence, it looks as if Obama's media hamsters are beginning to try to get off their rotating wheels. NBC News, among the president's most ardent protectors, posts the following:
Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

Yet President Obama, who had promised in 2009, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,” was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”
Every president and every administration stretches the truth for political purposes. But Barack Obama and his administration have exhibited a level of arrogant mendaciousness that is deeply troubling. He and his closest advisers lie with such ease and such frequency that any pronouncement they make is suspect. Now we learn that the president knew, early on, that Obamacare would cause folks to lose their insurance. I can only wonder what other lies—about the many, many Watergate-level scandals that plague this administration, are hiding just beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered.