Can't Stop the Music

Administrations absolutely swamped by scandal have a defense unavailable to more competent administrations: dense pack.  “Dense pack” is a term used to describe a strategy proposed during the Cold War to deploy American ICBMs so close together that Soviet missiles trying to target them would run into each other in a process called ‘fratricide’.  The Obama administration’s primary defense against any scandal taking root is that it must inevitably be displaced next week by a new one. So nothing lasts. All anyone can do is Move On.


The Financial Times actually believes that a Veteran’s Administration scandal may taint president Obama in a way that Benghazi, IRS, the AP wiretapping scandal, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Libya, NSA, Ukraine and Obamacare could not. In an article filled with outrage the writer thinks, this time it sticks.  Why should it?  Dense pack is alive and well.

For example, most people have lost track of Obamacare. Last word from the Media is that the debate over the program “is over”. Only crazy people talk about it now, like Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times who complains that unless Republicans save them the adminstration will be crushed over the uproar over employer mandates.

Already, many employers are cutting healthcare benefits and blaming Obamacare, even though the provisions that affect them won’t be activated for another year or more. Removing a provision that limits this impulse may be risky for employee health.

These effects would be proper topics for legislative study and careful action. We don’t live in a world where that takes place. If only the critics of Obamacare could shed their wild-eyed claims about the law and turn to fixing what needs to be fixed. If only.

That’s Hiltzik’s way of saying “save us from ourselves”. But the plea is delivered with a tone of confidence, as if by helping the Democrats kill the employer mandate which is rushing at them like a freight train, you will be doing yourself a favor.  Obamacare is a cemetery littered with skeletons. There was the brouhaha over whether you can keep your doctor. You want a doctor? California is considering a bill that would allow illegal aliens to practice medicine.


Now if you don’t want to be treated by an illegal alien doctor, there’s always the “physician assistant”. Forbes writes:

Though a physician shortage appears inevitable as more Americans get health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, new research indicates new primary care models using nurse practitioners and physician assistants could “eliminate” the scarcity of primary-care doctors.

Like the president said, “the debate is over”.

It’s official now. Your Obamacare premium is going to go up by about 9% this year. Ezra Klein admits it and, unable to deny it, gives six pitiful reasons why the program that calls itself the “Affordable Care Act” and promised to “bend the cost curve” is raising prices.

  1. Insurance premiums went up every year before Obamacare. They’re likely to go up afterwards, too.
  2. Some rates will go up a little. Some will go up a lot. A handful might go down.
  3. Every state will be different
  4. What matters the most: who insurers expected to sign up in 2014
  5. The rates for 2015 involve a lot of guesswork
  6. These are only opening bids

Eight million new enrollees are in, 75% of whom had insurance to begin with and are buying to replace the plan which if they liked they couldn’t keep. Only 80% have paid their bills. Four state healthcare exchanges have given up the ghost having utterly collapsed and are turning over everything to, but only after burning through half a billion dollars in Federal grants. Incoming HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell says she wants the money back.


She wants it back probably because she’ll need the money herself. The Federal Exchange has not built its backend yet. In fact Amy Goldstein and Sandhya Somashekhar of the Washington Post say it’s handing out money uncontrollably, like a broken ATM machine.

The government may be paying incorrect subsidies to more than 1 million Americans for their health plans in the new federal insurance marketplace and has been unable so far to fix the errors, according to internal documents and three people familiar with the situation.

The problem means that potentially hundreds of thousands of people are receiving bigger subsidies than they deserve. They are part of a large group of Americans who listed incomes on their insurance applications that differ significantly — either too low or too high — from those on file with the Internal Revenue Service, documents show. …

the federal computer system at the heart of the insurance marketplace cannot match this proof with the application because that capability has yet to be built, according to the three individuals.

Like a cash machine that has no idea how much a customer actually has in its account, the Federal government is handing out tax money in subsidies to people who declared a lower income on their Obamacare application than on their tax return.  And the Obamacare site is powerless to detect it.


The inability to make certain the government is paying correct subsidies is a legacy of computer troubles that crippled last fall’s launch of and the initial months of the first sign-up period for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Federal officials and contractors raced to correct most of the technical problems hindering consumers’ ability to choose a health plan. But behind the scenes, important aspects of the Web site remain defective — or simply unfinished.

All those broken State Health sites running for shelter to are going to migrate that data into a bucket without a bottom. But if you’ve never heard of these problems, don’t blame yourself, since there isn’t time after reading up on the Veteran’s Administration scandal, Benghazi, IRS, the AP wiretapping scandal, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Libya, NSA, Ukraine to even care about the Obamacare backend.

You’re swamped, the victim of information fratricide. There isn’t time in the day to keep up with the disasters, glitches, ommissions that pile on like a blizzard. Beaucoup harm and Boko Haram are merging into the same dizzying word. While the Veteran’s Scandal reveals an almost unbelievable heartlessness, corruption and incompetence in the heart of the administration.  the FT is wrong in thinking it will have legs. Nothing has legs because the only question is, what outrage comes next?


You can’t stop the music, nobody can stop the music.
Take the heat from flame, try not feeling pain,
Though you try in vain it’s much easier.
No, you can’t stop the music, nobody can stop the music.
Change the master plan, take the hope from man
’cause that’s easier to do.

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Lincoln and His Generals
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