Government Archives

Defending ObamaCare With Anecdotes

You’ve no doubt heard them yourself. I’ve heard them quite a bit; on social media, on blogs, and even in TV commercials. I’m talking about people with their own personal stories about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, has helped them personally.

It’s great to hear that people are able to get coverage for things that they either couldn’t get covered for before, or for less money. Who wouldn’t be in favor of that, and be glad for these people? It feels good hearing how people have benefited from this government program.

And that’s what those, especially on social media, are trying to say with their success story; this is a good thing, because it worked for me. Then I have to ask, what do we make of this story?

William Rivers Pitt, is the senior editor and lead columnist at the leftwing web site TruthOut. He has his own story which he posted at the Democratic Underground website, a forum for the far Left. (Have we figured out where this guy’s politics lie on the spectrum?) He first extolled the wonders of Obamacare, writing about his experience in getting signed up. System goes down in the middle of the session. No problem. Call the 800 number and finish the process there. “No. Big. Deal. Thanks, Obama.” That’s how he signs off that post.

And then reality set in. In another post later on, he relates his experience, not with signing up for Obamacare, but actually trying to use it.

What I’ve learned after a three-month war with these fiends: the ACA says the insurance companies cannot deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, which is true as far as it goes. But they can deny coverage for the life-saving medications necessary to treat those conditions. The insurance company I signed up with through the ACA exchange just denied coverage of my wife’s multiple sclerosis medication. We’re "covered," to the tune of $700 a month…just not for what she really needs.

He signs off that post quite a bit differently. Later he said he feels like a dupe, and wishes he had a time machine to undo what he’d done. His criticisms get to the point that the DU folks stopped allowing him to comment on his own post.

So then let’s consider this. Does this prove that Obamacare is an abject failure? No. Additionally, good experiences with it don’t prove that it is a success, either. If you contend that one is true, then you have to accept the other, and they come to opposite conclusions. Well then, what does any of this prove, other than that some people are doing better and others doing worse?

The answer is, it proves nothing.

Read the rest of this entry

    I don’t know how much the Vatican’s Chief Justice holds sway in terms of official church policy, or how much his opinion reflects the position of the Catholic church, but I thought I’d pass this along.

    In an interview with Polonia Christiana magazine –and transcribed by Life Site News — Cardinal Raymond Burke said that Obama “promotes anti-life and anti-family policies.”

    “It is true that the policies of the president of the United States have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies,” Burke told the magazine.

    The former archbishop of St. Louis stated that Obama is trying to “restrict” religion.

    “Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions,” Burke said.

    Burke took a swipe against Obama’s Affordable Care Act over the law’s birth control mandate, saying “such policies would have been unimaginable in the United States even 40 years ago.”

    “In a democracy, such a lack of awareness is deadly,” Burke told the magazine. “It leads to the loss of the freedom which a democratic government exists to protect. It is my hope that more and more of my fellow citizens, as they realize what is happening, will insist on electing leaders who respect the truth of the moral law as it is respected in the founding principles of our nation.”

    Since this was transcribed by Life Site News, you know there’s an abortion angle, and there’s just a bit more at the link.

    The freedom of religion vs. freedom of worship is a distinction that I’ve heard elsewhere, and it’s good to hear it given voice by someone at the Vatican. These days, it’s almost like you lose that First Amendment right upon leaving the church building. You don’t, even if you own a business (i.e. Hobby Lobby). This is a serious concern.

      The Delaying Game

      Great line by James Taranto, summarizing the latest ObamaCare delay: "If you like your plan, and your state insurance commissioner likes your plan, and your insurance company likes your plan, you can keep it, possibly until after the next presidential election."

      How blatantly political.

        Since I know there are some folks who deny that ObamaCare is impacting workers’ hours, here’s a NY Times article that notes that even the public sector is feeling the pinch already.

        Cities, counties, public schools and community colleges around the country have limited or reduced the work hours of part-time employees to avoid having to provide them with health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, state and local officials say.

        The cuts to public sector employment, which has failed to rebound since the recession, could serve as a powerful political weapon for Republican critics of the health care law, who claim that it is creating a drain on the economy.

        President Obama has twice delayed enforcement of the health care law’s employer mandate, which would subject larger employers to tax penalties if they do not offer insurance coverage to employees who work at least 30 hours a week, on average. But many public employers have already adopted policies, laws or regulations to make sure workers stay under that threshold.

        Harry Reid recently claimed, ”There’s plenty of horror stories being told [about Obamacare],” Reid said. “All of them are untrue.” Tell that to the workers of this country, Harry.

          Pens and Phones, Then and Now

          A pen and a phone. That’s what President Obama recently said he had which could circumvent Congress on policy topics he wanted to get moving. Conservatives, like me, compared him to a king, giving orders and expecting everyone to jump. The Left took this opportunity to show that the number of executive orders that have been issued by Obama was less than any President in at least the last half-century. True enough, but as is usual, it’s a cherry-picked data point. There is more than one way to dictate.

          Take ObamaCare, please. The number of times Obama has delayed, changed, or outright repealed parts of the law is staggering. If the law has that many problems, fix the law. Instead, he’s doing the very thing he campaigned against when running for President. He said that George Bush had taken too much power into the executive branch.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuCUGXFsEn4

          And now, with his pen and with his phone, he’s changing laws that he has no Constitutional powers to change.

          Lately, he’s been doing the same thing with marijuana laws. John P. Walters, writing at the Weekly Standard, observes:

          First, the administration made a unilateral decision to curtail enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in states where smoked marijuana has been defined as medicine (the only “medicine” that cannot meet modern medical standards). Next, the administration announced it would not enforce the federal law when the states of Colorado and Washington sought to permit the open sale of marijuana.

          Ted Cruz, in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, had more examples:

          When Mr. Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

          None of these are executive orders, but they are just as empowering of the Executive branch, and are, in fact, worse, because you can’t easily count the number of times these power grabs have been done. Executive orders are numbered. Sitting on your hands and not enforcing something goes below the radar of the average American.

          When we say we are a nation of laws, not men, we mean that it is the laws that govern us, not the whims of a particular man or group of men that have no accountability. If you’re a Democrat, would you be fine with this sort of behavior from a Republican? If not, make your voice heard. Because if you don’t, we will once again get the government we deserve. The government only has what power we give it. If you want a king, you’d better be happy with a king from either party.

            "Doc Shock" Occurs As Predicted

            As predicted, that is, by Megan McArdle:

            In December, I predicted that “doc shock” was going to be a major problem for the U.S. health-care overhaul, as people found out that the narrow networks insurers use to keep premiums low often don’t cover the top-notch doctors you’d like to see if you get really sick:

            And indeed, it’s already started, according to the Wall Street Journal:

            Health-care wonks can insist that narrow networks aren’t news, but clearly, these networks are news to the folks in the plans — and now that they know, they aren’t happy.

            Read the whole thing. They’re trying to fix this by passing laws, but that’s been done before with the whole HMO thing years ago. The result was costs continuing to rise.

              A Loose Definition of "Law"

              I mean, if you can make it say whatever you want, if you can change it on a moment’s notice, is it really a law?

              Most employers won’t face a fine next year if they fail to offer workers health insurance, the Obama administration said Monday, in the latest big delay of the health-law rollout.

              The Treasury Department, in regulations outlining the Affordable Care Act, said employers with 50 to 99 full-time workers won’t have to comply with the law’s requirement to provide insurance or pay a fee until 2016. Companies with more workers could avoid some penalties in 2015 if they showed they were offering coverage to at least 70% of full-time workers.

              It’s such a great law, we have to keep delaying it! Well, for big employers. For the small ones and the individual, you’re stuck with it.

              Oh, and why was this done?

              The move came after employers pressured the Obama administration to peel back the law’s insurance requirements. Some firms had trimmed workers’ hours to below 30 hours a week to avoid paying a penalty if they didn’t offer insurance.

              Because the administration saw the effect it was having on the economy, that’s why. It was causing such problems, that it just had to be delayed. Until after the mid-term elections.

                Wal-Mart Out-ObamaCares ObamaCare

                One of the big promises of ObamaCare was that, with a much larger pool of insured people, the cost to the average individual or family would go down. That’s how insurance works, right? You spread out the risk over a bigger population, and the required payouts become less than the premiums taken in. More people, less risk, lower costs.

                You’d think so. But as it turns out, the insurance offered by one of those eeevil corporations, Wal-Mart, beats the equivalent ObamaCare plan handily. David Todd, an independent insurance agent based in Little Rock, Ark., compared the health plans.

                Todd looked at a 30-year-old woman who could qualify for the government subsidy. “The nonsubsidized premium is $205 a month for this 30-year-old. If they get a subsidy, then the premium is zero. But that person has to come up with $6,300 if something catastrophic happened,” he said.

                The Walmart monthly premium for the same 30-year-old woman would be about $40. Her deductible would be $2,750, minus $250 in cash advance, for a total net deductible of $2,500.

                Todd said some Obamacare exchange family plan deductibles can go as high as $12,000 before benefits kick in.

                This is what the government considers “subsidized”; pay thousands up front and get your money back, depending on when you spent it, over a year from now. OK, but what is the actual coverage like? Very good question. Let’s take a look at some of the particulars.

                Walmart also offers a free preventive health plan that mirrors the Obamacare plan. Its employees can take advantage of a wide range of free exams and counseling, including screenings for colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, chlamydia, diabetes, depression and special counseling for diet and obesity.

                Their children can get more than 20 free preventive services, ranging including screenings for genetic disorders, autism and developmental problems to obesity, lead poisoning exposure and tuberculosis. There are also 12 free vaccinations, and free hearing and vision testing.

                Walmart employees pay as little as $4 for a 30-day supply of generic drugs and only $10 for eye exams through a separate vision plan.

                Oh, and in Chicago, where this comparison was done, Wal-Mart employees have access to about 2 ½ times as many doctors than those with ObamaCare do. What does it say about ObamaCare that doctors and hospitals would rather do business with a private company than with the government?

                Well, it says that we’re going about this all the wrong way.

                  Live By the CBO, Die By the CBO

                  Dana Milbank explains that the Congressional Budget Office issued glowing reports years ago about how ObamaCare was going to save money. The Obama administration trumpeted those findings far and wide. I noted at the time that the system was gamed because the administration knows the rules by which the CBO comes up with estimates, and wrote the bill to get the best looking numbers at the start. It wouldn’t matter that later estimates would be worse; it would have already been sold to the American people.

                  But now, things are looking much worse.

                  The congressional number-crunchers, perhaps the capital’s closest thing to a neutral referee, came out with a new report Tuesday, and it wasn’t pretty for Obamacare. The CBO predicted the law would have a “substantially larger” impact on the labor market than it had previously expected: The law would reduce the workforce in 2021 by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers, well more than the 800,000 originally anticipated. This will inevitably be a drag on economic growth, as more people decide government handouts are more attractive than working more and paying higher taxes.

                  This is grim news for the White House and for Democrats on the ballot in November. This independent arbiter, long embraced by the White House, has validated a core complaint of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) critics: that it will discourage work and become an ungainly entitlement. Disputing Republicans’ charges is much easier than refuting the federal government’s official scorekeepers.

                  The President’s spokesman, Jay Carney, tried to spin it as people who would "spend more time with their family", or perhaps become entrepreneurs. The latter guess is just that; a guess trying to make it sound wonderful. The former is a euphemism for living off the dole because the benefits are better.

                  Carney noted that these were "personal choices", but he conveniently neglects to mention that they are personal choices spurred on by the government. People respond to incentives; that’s why things like tax deductions work the way they do. ObamaCare is pushing people to dependency.

                  The CBO numbers prove it.

                    Escaping Canada (Temporarily)

                    I knew that many Canadians were leaving their borders to come to the US to avoid the long waits they have to endure up there. I just didn’t know how many. Well a free-market think tank, the Frasier Institute, has published the numbers for 2013. Turns out just under 42,000 folks fled the country, at least temporarily, to jump the line and get the timely care they needed. That was down just slightly from the just over 42,000 that came here in 2012.

                    This brings up a question in my mind. With the advent of ObamaCare down here, where will these folks go now? And I guess the next obvious question would be, where will we go?

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