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Belmont Club

Choosing Never To Choose Again

December 4th, 2013 - 1:19 pm

There was, the president said, no going back on Obamacare.  Despite the “poor execution” of his flagship program ”we’re not going back”, adding that if “I’ve got to fight another three years to make sure this law works, that’s what we’ll do” . David Plouffe, one of the president’s former senior advisers allowed that it might take more than 3 years — till 2017 in fact — before it starts to work really well.

It has to go on.

The Los Angeles Times added that if the insurance companies want to survive it had better work.  ”Since 2010, they have invested billions of dollars to overhaul their businesses, design new insurance plans and physician practices”. If Obama doesn’t survive Obamacare, neither will the companies.

Besides, what were there not to like? Chris Matthews, surveying the wreckage of the health care rollout saw only a diamond in the dust. “I think I would compare it, Andrea, to a brilliant writer, perhaps, with a great theme who turns in a paper with a lot of misspellings or bad handwriting. It’s a bad way to roll out something. With all the great strengths, potentially, of a national health care system along these lines, the way it was rolled out has hurt it.”

Peggy Noonan however, thinks that sometimes a disaster is just a disaster and a fool is just a fool. She argues the train wreck proves Obama is either smart and dishonest or sincere but stupid. He cannot be both.

Mr. Obama’s problem now is that people think he is smart.

They think, as they look at his health-care vows, that either he didn’t know how bad his program was, what dislocations it would cause, what a disturbance it would be to the vast middle class of America . . .

Or he knew, and deliberately misled everyone.

If they thought he wasn’t very bright, they might give him some leeway on that question. But they think he’s really smart.

So they think he knew.

And deliberately misled.

Andy McCarthy has fewer doubts. Of Noonan’s choice he unhestitatingly picks smart and dishonest. He writes, almost in awe, that “fraud can be so brazen it takes people’s breath away … the individual false statements, sneaky omissions, and deceptive practices…”

The incontrovertible record — disclosures by the Obama administration in the Federal Register, representations by the Obama Justice Department in federal court — proves that Obama’s promises were systematically deceitful. The president’s audacity is bracing, and not just because he lies so casually while looking us in the eye. Obama also insults our intelligence. It is one thing to tuck evidence of falsehood into a few paragraphs on page 34,552 of a dusty governmental journal no one may ever look at. It is quite something else to announce it in a legal brief publicly filed in a case of intense interest to millions of Americans aggrieved by Obamacare’s religious-liberty violations. To be so bold is to say, in effect, “The public is too ignorant and disengaged to catch me, and the press is too deep in my pocket to raise alarms.”

Perhaps Obama is a case of the “smart dishonest president” meets the “low information voter”. McCarthy’s prosecutorial instincts must tingle when he learns — he probably knows already — that the Obamacare project spent torrents of money at the last moment to avert the train wreck they claimed they never saw coming. “The torrent of late spending — almost $352 million of $1 billion in awards to the top 10 contractors — indicates the magnitude of the work still to be done as opening day approached”.

They knew the plane wouldn’t fly and still they sold the tickets to the low information passengers. “Step right up folks, step right up.  Free Kool-Aid. This plane goes straight to Socialism after stopping at Jonestown.”

They are not yet done with what McCarthy calls the “scheme”.  The Blaze says “the to-date cost of the glitchy Obamacare website has topped $1 billion, easily surpassing the $394 million originally estimated by the Government Accountability Office.” The racket is still going gangbusters.

But it’s all money out. The ‘fixed’ Obamacare system doesn’t even have a way to accept monies essential to its working. Reuters reports “President Barack Obama’s administration has found a short-term fix to pay insurance companies for plans selected on, the not-yet-complete government website used to shop for insurance required under Obama’s healthcare program.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not yet finished building the part of the website that would transfer billions of dollars in subsidies for plan premiums and cost-sharing payments to insurance companies.

It is part of a long technical to-do list that has so far focused on fixing the errors and lag times in the part of the website used by consumers. …

Health plans will estimate how much they are owed, and submit that estimate to the government. Once the system is built, the government and insurers can reconcile the payments made with the plan data to “true up” payments, he said.

This system of bill now, invoice later can also be viewed as a bribe whether intentional or simply accidental. The lovely looseness extends to the IRS. The Associated Press quotes a Treasury official who said “the IRS’ existing fraud detection system may not be capable of identifying (Affordable Care Act) refund fraud or schemes prior to the issuance of tax return refunds”.

The question you have to answer to get a refund is: who sent you? But Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel advised the public not to worry since they wouldn’t see a dime in refunds anyway. That would all go to the insurance companies.

Most of the credits will be paid directly to health insurance companies, with taxpayers seeing the benefit in reduced premiums. Other taxpayers, however, can claim the credits on their federal tax returns, starting with 2014 returns. …

Under the health care law, the IRS is in charge of verifying eligibility for the tax credit and calculating the amount. Taxpayers, however, will have to be careful when they apply for the credits. If taxpayers’ incomes increase while they are receiving the credit, and they get a larger credit than they are entitled to, they may have to repay some or all of the credit when they file their federal tax returns. …

“The Obamacare premium subsidies are a fraudster’s dream come true,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. “The very nature of these credits — pay first, verify a person’s income later — will lead to potentially hundreds of billions of dollars of improper payments.”

But so what? That’s just another problem, another fault, another security hole, another non-function. How can any of that invalidate the Masterpiece that Chris Matthews sees beneath the pile of rubble? It can’t because it’s too late to go back now. Too late for anything except to go on to the bitter end.  As an HHS promotional video ironically says,

Ain’t about the, uh,

cha-ching cha-ching.

Ain’t about the, yeah,

bla-bling bla-bling.

Affordable Care Act.

Don’t worry ’bout the price tag

Ka-ching, ka-choom. Bada-bing, bada-boom.

Obamacare is now offically a zombie, able to shrug off bullets, ignore knives and remain unflinching in the face of blows that would stagger any undead creature. David Corn at Mother Jones has the most likely explanation for the sheer desperation with which the Obamacare is being advanced: “Obamacare Means life and death for both political parties”. Ironically only the Democrats seem to act like they are fighting for their lives. Despite their outward confidence, it is they who are acting like everything was on the line.

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.

Corn captures the issue perfectly. What is on the line is not power over the Left. It is the Left’s power over us. Obamacare is only incidentally about health care. It is really about who gets to tell you how to live; what to pay, who to pay it to. It is really about whether the Democratic Party — and its left wing — get the permanent majority they’ve lusted after forever. They want to control us, whereas we perversely, want to control us.

For Obama it’s now or never. Perhaps McCarthy is right. Whoever would want such a thing so intensely can be up to no good.

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Top Rated Comments   
As many of the conservative "talking heads" have already pointed out in the media, I can't see any Democrat "win" in Obamacare, no matter what, no matter when.

The "poor" have always been able to access Medicaid, and Obamacare Bronze is almost certainly a step down from Medicaid support. The Middle Class have mostly been able to avail themselves of the opportunity to access Health Insurance, via employer or individual plans, and at the very least, genuinely low-priced catastrophic coverage (i.e. < $150 a month for most, and < $300 for all, up until 2009). There was a 1996 HIPAA act in place that enabled most people with prior conditions to continue group health insurance for less than $600 a month per individual (my guestimate), prior to 2009.

Now, for people like myself and my wife, our coverage costs have risen approximately 4x for coverage that leaves us with HMO like coverage, albeit with 2x or 3x higher deductibles and out of pocket limits. Our cost have "only" risen 3x higher for gutter coverage that includes $50 prescriptions and and 4x or 5x higher deductibles and out of pocket limits.

Fortunately, the government has a solution. Say I've had a "bad year" economically (hey the 15%+ real unemployment rate can even hit us old rich white geezers eventually), then I'll qualify for subsidizes of anywhere up to 70%, meaning that we may only pay $300 a month for near useless Bronze coverage. However, if I have a good year next year and make over $60K a year, then after 60 days my subsidy will vanish, and I'll be back up to $1000 a month for near-useless Bronze insurance. Or, if I'm unlucky, and the government doesn't pick up on the problem until tax time, I'll have to reimburse ALL the subsidies back to the government, therefore paying FULL price for the near useless insurance, retroactively.

No matter what, we get substandard insurance at astronomically higher costs. Folks, we're talking about adding the equivalent of a SECOND FRACKING MORTGAGE here, either in cost up front, or the liability of that mortgage * 12 retroactively at tax time. If I could have afford a SECOND FRACKING MORTGAGE for the last 30 or 40 years, I'd be one of the rich WON's who won life's lottery, and have a half dozen paid for properties with enough residual income to have retired early.

Unfortunately, I've never reached that lofty financial plateau, and I haven't got the extra monthly income to ADD A SECOND FRACKING MORTGAGE just to pay for Obamacare. NOBODY CAN, at least no one in the middle class to upper middle class. I certainly can't afford the $1700 a month that they want for "Platinium" coverage, which isn't comparable to the HMO (not PPO!) coverage we've had for 25 to 35 years.

The Democrats who have implemented this little scheme are utterly divorced from reality. I am no fool, nor anyone special. I'm just a little old middle class guy in his late 50's, about ready to lose everything he's worked for his entire life, due to the mismanagement of the Democrats of everything from national security, to the economy, to health care, to every FRACKING THING they've touched.

In the Democrat play book, America will soon love them for all of this eternally, and hate the GOP forever more. And to think, THEY call conservatives "wing nuts", when they are hooked on SHEER LUNACY!

I think reality will soon bite them pretty hard, but the average American, a whole lot harder.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Found, secret video of the back end "scheme" operations that explains why the Democrats were so desperate to pass Obamacare.
Can you spot Harry Reid?

I will gladly bill you Tuesday for the contract you sign today. BTW, if you make a mistake then you may go to jail. Or was that if I make a mistake then you may go to jail? No matter. Just sign the bottom of this page and we will type in something over your name later.

Anybody who was convicted after being either defended or prosecuted by a lawyer who received a grade from Barack Obama at the University of Chicago Law School should have a case at getting their conviction overturned.

"Choosing Never to Choose Again" Suicide is the saddest sin. If only we can prove we were invaded by an alien army. If we did this to ourselves then there is nothing but shame in it. The single worst thing that ever happened to NYC was not 9-11 by barbaians but the destruction of Pennsylvania Station.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If the ultimate test of Obamacare is voluntary adoption, which should be the case, then we know all we need to know about the product by the fact that nearly every politician, staffer, and decision involved with foisting this upon the American people, have already exempted themselves from the law. In fact, most have government paid for Cadillac benefit plans that the average American could only dream about.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (61)
All Comments   (61)
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
@Kinuachdrach. "...remove the clique by paralyzing the government through occupation of government offices."

Government paralysis, in a more or less free country, can be a feature. As our fed gov continues its overreach, it is coming very close to paralyzing itself. For example, IRS so busy prosecuting political enemies, it is not longer collecting taxes. DOJ on a racial witch hunt no longer enforcing real laws, etc. Folks even abandoning the currency. States become ever more important.

The 'crats are occupying the gov. buildings for us...service to the people ya know.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Marginally on topic -- Michael Yon has been posting info about the widely ignored "soft coup" under way in Thailand.

Apparently, there have been very large public demonstrations, and occupations of government buildings. The source of dissatisfaction is that a clique has taken control through questionably democratic elections, and is now governing against the will of the people. Lots of corruption; media in the government's pocket; etc.

The demonstrators aim to remove the ruling clique by paralyzing the government through occupation of government offices.

Small wonder that the situation in Thailand is getting minimal coverage in the US from the ever-reliable ObamaPress.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah. Who knows? The idea might catch on somewhere else.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I think reality will soon bite them pretty hard, but the average American, a whole lot harder."

If that is what is required to awaken average Americans, then let it happen
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
rwe asks: but where is the bloat, really?

The profession is run like a medieval guild. As you note every move is attended by ceremony and courtiers, each wearing a different colored coat, and mumbling oaths in forgotten or invented languages. Only a guild member in good standing can pull prescription drugs out of his hat, but an illiterate illegal alien can work on your 500 horsepower vehicle to which you trust your life and the lives of everyone you see on the street. Something is out of wack somewhere.

OldSalt, everything you say about the H-1B STEM worker thing is true, including that both parties are working hard to make it even worse. I absolutely refused to consider voting for Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina when they ran for office in California, because they were both huge proponents of *increasing* the import of cheap foreign workers for tech and STEM jobs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You're out of whack if you seriously compare a prescriber (doctor, PA, or nurse-practitioner) to an auto mechanic, illegal or not. What are you thinking?

And RWE3 is correct: a lot of the process and hassle is due to bureaucratic requirements, not medical workers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As I recall my class, we were told that some huge percentage of doctor office visits are just hand-holding. Of the remainder, a huge percentage is take two aspirin and call me in the morning, plus or minus a three hundred dollar antibiotic that probably won't even work anymore. Maybe 1% of GP, excuse me "internist", or modern PCP, office visits require anything more, really, than an LVN. Let's say an NP should handle it fine, as long as they are willing to escalate either in an educated manner, included repeated visits, or in general on the patient's request.

Maybe 1% of that 1% requires a full medical doctor degree.

Anything less, I do indeed equate with a senior mechanic's job.

And when only 1% of your job involves that fancy education you got, one really has to wonder if it will even be there when it is required.

Now, I'm not saying I have a way to make all these problems go away. "This is the best of all possible worlds!" says the optimist. "You're probably right", says the pessimist.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
itellu3times calls the medical profession “bloated.” I’m inclined to agree, but where is the bloat, really?

A couple of times I have had to call around to find someone to do a Federally mandated Private Pilot Physical. Each time I ended up talking to various people for a better part of an hour, people who could not even answer my questions as to whether they could perform the required exam, and who even wanted to talk about irrelevant things such as what insurance I was using. I concluded that there were all kinds of people on the medical payroll who in fact had nothing to do with actually providing medical care.

The “bloat” comes largely from Federally mandated requirements, the existence of Medicaid and Medicare, and the predatory nature of the Federally-permitted legal profession.

By the way, a recent poll shows that 57% of young people don’t want Obamacare and that 52% of young people who actually voted for Obama wish they could take their vote back. Well, pardon my laughter, but it could not happen to a dumber nor more deserving group.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You've got a lawless administration aided and abetted by not only by the media but by a corrupt Attorney General, Justice Department and Senate. Until the Dems no longer control these entities, they can proceed unabated toward the destruction of this country. But they have "laid the law flat," and if and when they lose their stranglehold, they may "have trouble standing upright in the winds that will blow."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
we had reps for 8 years a got housing crises. They couldn't (or wish not to) stop it while controlling both Congress and the WH. Why do you think next time (if they win Senate and hold the house) will be different?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
itellyou3times: "Well, y'know, part of this entire problem is a medical profession that is exceedingly bloated for many reasons..."

Yes, I especially recall a couple of instances where I was trying to find a doctor to do a FAA Private Pilot Physical. I would call around and end up talking to people at medical facilities and who could not answer any of my questions. I would find that I had spent the better part of an hour talking to people who were in the medical profession in terms of being paid but in fact had nothing whatsoever to do with actually providing medical care.

But a major reason for all these rent-seekers are the many government imposed requirements, including legal aspects. Medicare and Medicaid have vastly complicated the whole administrative process for medical care, and the vicious predatory efforts of the legal profession have as well. We are paying for all those unnecessary hangers-on as well as for doctors.

Just heard on FNC that a recent survey shows that 52% of the young people who voted for Obama now wish they could take their vote back. Pardon my laughter, but it could not happen to a dumber bunch of people.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I saw an article link elsewhere on PJ Media that discussed ways to obtain Health Insurance at reasonable rates without having to pay the Obamacare penalty for having a "substandard" policy. Apparently there is a loophole in the law that allows for faith based co-operatives (not insurance companies) to offer these policies. The article also mentions ways to cut costs, via negotiating with the Health Care provider up front and paying cash to reduce out of pocket expenses.

When there is a high enough financial incentive, Americans will find a way to work around government managed boondoggles.

Here is the link.

I am still insured through my employer, but I will keep this workaround in mind a year or so from now when the Employer based Health Insurance system is also gutted.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In the USSR, most of the food produced came from the private plots that farmers were allowed to keep "for their own use" rather than the collective farms.

The Soviet government provided price supports for the market price of grain, in order to encourage its production, while it subsidized the price of bread, to keep the cost to the consumer down.

So the farmers sold their grain and fed their personally owned cows with government subsidized bread.

I would guess that a true socialist would say the USSR collapsed because they inadequately imposed communism.

Chris Matthews would say they had a great idea but got the spelling and punctuation wrong.

Obama would say the USSR agricultural policy ran into "headwinds" and thus got off to a bad start for 80 years.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Yippee! Obama and his Silicon Valley business buddies intend to use all the authority and power of the Federal government to put every over 40 year old IT professional permanently out of work. The Pubbies used to lead this effort, and the Obama Democrats have picked up the mantle and will reap the gravy for doing so. The Oracle world is already owned by Indian nationals and Indian American citizens, from the recruiting, to HR, to training, to new engineers, to senior engineers. This is specifically due to US government policy promoting the outsourcing and insourcing of American IT jobs to companies who make their bucks selling US Visas.

My first contract job in 1992 paid $48 per hour (1099). I earned that job by working 18+ hours a day for 7 years to learn my trade, AFTER buying my college education AND serving my country on active duty with the USN. With over two dozen years of IT experience and over a dozen years Oracle specific experience now, I've seen rates of $45 to $50 per hour flat rate over the past year become common place, if you (as a white American over age 40) can even get the interview. That rate must cover wages, travel expenses, benefits, plus the likelihood of down time due to the nature of the work. It works out to something like $60K a year for a college graduate with senior level, technical experience. Yes, there are higher rates and salaries available (my compensation has been much, much higher), but the point is that there is tremendous down scale pressure on IT wages, and this has been particularly bad since 2008.

3 years ago, I used to send out 6 resumes, get 6 interviews, and on average 5 offers. Today, the rate is about 1 interview from 100 resumes. My qualifications, skills, and references didn't change. The market did. There are 10's of 1000's of foreign nationals working on immigrant VISA's who DO NOT WANT TO GO HOME, no matter what, and will accept nearly any rate to stay in America. Moreover, their companies have vested interest in keeping these low cost, VISA employees on their payroll over American's who expect US scale salaries. They've already paid the sunk costs of the VISA and travel to get the immigrant to America, so these individuals are the first called for the next project.

I don't believe in protectionist policies, but the playing field is not level. American IT professionals are clearly discriminated again within their own nation, by foreign nationals who now run these companies and dictate hiring policies. Obama and Congress (it's a bi-partisan thing) are hanging out signs that in effect say "PLEASE, TAKE THIS MANS JOB, ANYONE, ANYWHERE, JUST BE WILLING TO WORK DIRT CHEAP, and do anything your told to." Kick-backs, bribes, and such are rife. There are huge consulting agencies that are nothing more than body brokers, who add nothing to the IT process, but take 1/2 to 2/3's of the rate paid by IT departments and pay the remainder to the immigrant.

There is no shortage of qualified American IT professionals, nor qualified college graduates willing and able to work successfully in the field. If anything, IT professionals have steered their kids and college age friends AWAY from Information Technology, because of the 30 year effort by the US government to promote immigrant visas to bring what are essentially, indentured servants, to US shores. The immigrants will work 80 hours and log 40, they'll pay kick backs, and will never, ever switch jobs or projects until they have their green card for permanent US residency (i.e. providing stability, which is probably as important as salary costs to the Silicon Valley tech firms).

The industry America created is being exported and stolen due to the RICO type conspiracy between politicians, bureaucrats, and US software companies to put foreign nationals into American IT jobs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The simple truth is -- in IT you must "move up the value chain" or "move to a protected area". You are absolutely correct that in IT every job that simply requires a few dozen classroom hours (equivalent to an AA degree) and a certificate or two will be filled by low cost immigrants. That is the fact. So what to do?

If you move up the value chain you move into areas that require understanding the business itself. Mostly these are consulting jobs, a few are IT management. If you speak and understand excellent English, have developed your people skills (body language, tone of voice, etc.) and can learn the problems of companies and clearly communicate solutions (verbal presentation, written prescriptions for solutions, diagrams that communicate current systems and roadmaps to the future) you have moved up the value chain. These jobs cannot be filled by immigrants because what I have just described are not skills that can be learned by sitting in a classroom, memorization of facts, and taking tests. Nor do they understand OUR cultures. So they can't do it.

Moving to a protected area means working for a company as an employee or contractor that requires US citizens. These are jobs related directly to national security (loosely defined) such as defense contracting or indirectly related (like nuclear power companies). Foreign nationals are prohibited from such work. This includes positions as low level as system administration for an email system up to actual security clearance required positions.

And THAT is how you survive in IT today in the USA as an American citizen.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Electronics since 1983 and over to Systems Administration and Database Administration in 1996, People always say I make the big bucks and under their breaths think it isn't fair but they didn't do (or want to do) the 2 years specialized electronics training, 6 years of college, year+ Oracle University training and God only knows years worth of months and weeks of special training for everything else (While they were out parting!) all this in evening classes, or weeks away from family at boot camps. And at my age there are very, very few around who get the senior discount like me, lots who barely communicate in understandable English... (I think they keep me around just so Management can understand what’s happening) ;)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The average Democrat Progressive will consider my little rant above to be xenophobic and racist, but I have had many close friends who are (or were) foreign nationals, and my wife is from the Philippines (i.e. smart, beautiful woman, who gave me beautiful, smart, brown skinned babies). I have been working in environments were 95% of the people in the IT shop are foreign nationals since the early 1990's. I'm anything but racist or a xenophobe.

Stating the facts, including your communications problems is not racist; its just factual. I have to laugh about a memory on my first site working with Indian nationals, a lot of the folks were pretty raw, but one on my team spoke impeccable, if British accented English. I went to work with on a problem a developer was having, and after a half hour discussion, I want to my Indian teammate and asked him "Hey, I've really tried but I just can't understand ------; can you speak to him?" He replied, "Hey, I can't understand him either. He speaks a different dialect than I do." Of course, the kids have gotten better with their English skills and training, and I've adapted to their accents and colloquialisms. It works out, but it can be a challenge.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One more thing: There are fewer entry level IT positions in American available, because it is cheaper to hire a foreign national with 5-6 years experience. Silicon Valley exec's complain that America produces too few engineering grads and potential software engineers, but then they refuse to develop American talent thru apprenticeship programs. As I understand it, most of the students in college engineering programs are foreign nationals, again, in America studying on a US VISA, which is easily convertible to a work VISA after they graduate.

It's a self-fulling cycle, where the only casualty are American graduates and American engineering and IT workers. Other than that, every one gets paid off and makes the bucks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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