#Obamacare: California required the canceling of insurance policies

**Posted by Phineas

"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Pushing back against the growing stories of people losing their individual health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare apologists have taken to scapegoating the insurance companies, even claiming that the cancellations were happening because the companies couldn’t compete, as in this mendacious Talking Points Memo piece.

In California, at least, that just ain’t so:

Specific language in the contracts major health insurers signed with Covered California to participate in the exchange required them to cancel the individual coverage which is at the center of a growing national debate.

Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente, Health Net and Blue Shield of California have confirmed to the San Francisco Business Times that their Covered California contracts, signed in August or September, required the cancellations. Other plans on the exchange are subject to the same contract language.

“All QHPs (of which we are one) had to sign that contract,” said Darrel Ng, a spokesman for Anthem Blue Cross, referring to insurers known as qualified health plans.

And here’s the language in question:

“Contractor agrees that effective no later than December 31, 2013, except as otherwise provided in State Law, it shall terminate or arrange for the termination of all of its non-grandfathered individual health insurance plan contracts or policies which are not compliant with the applicable provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Contractor agrees to promote ways to offer, market and sell or otherwise transition its current members into plans or policies which meet the applicable Affordable Care Act requirements. This obligation applies to all non-grandfathered individual insurance products in force or for sale by Contractor whether or not the individuals covered by such products are eligible for subsidies in the Exchange.”

“Grandfathered” products could avoid this requirement, but, as we’ve seen, Senate Democrats made it very easy for insurance plans to become non-grandfathered and thus illegal.

I’ve often said that the California legislature is the AAA farm team for congressional Democrats; whatever nonsense federal progressives come up with, their junior partners in Sacramento will sign onto it with pathetic enthusiasm in hopes of earning a promotion to the “Big Leagues” in D.C.

I wonder how Edie Sundby will feel when she learns that her state government had a large hand in endangering her treatment for stage-4 cancer?

via Jim Geraghty

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Obamacare: at last, CNN finds someone thrilled with it!

**Posted by Phineas

At long last, we’ve found people genuinely excited by our new, state-run healthcare system: strippers, escorts, dominatrices and other sex-workers!

Only in California, my friends, and only in San Francisco:

A burlesque dancer dressed as a nurse taunts her co-performer with a toy syringe, dangling the medicine seductively in an act that’s meant to reflect the cat-and-mouse game of U.S. healthcare. They shimmy and eventually end up topless.

The risqué performance was part of an Obamacare registration drive last week in San Francisco, dubbed the “Healthy Ho’s Party.”

Organized by “Siouxsie Q,” a Bay Area sex worker, the event was meant to encourage other sex workers to enroll in the new insurance exchanges. It was a rousing success: Nearly 40 men and women attended and almost all of them filed enrollment paperwork.

In the all-cash, off-the-books sex industry, workers can be particularly high risk and insurance is often out of reach. Many sex workers — a broad term that can refer to a number of services, including sexual massage, prostitution, and escort and dominatrix work — consider themselves self-employed entrepreneurs who can’t afford to purchase healthcare. But that could all change with the Affordable Care Act.

The article then continues with the usual pro-Obamacare tale: insurance for “Siouxsie” and her partner was too big a chunk of their income, plus, given the risks of their “professions,” coverage was more expensive or often unobtainable altogether. With guaranteed coverage and publicly funded subsidies, plans become affordable. Yay!

Well, not so fast. First, as the article notes, subsidies kick in for incomes under $46,000. Many of these women have “regular jobs” — the sex trade is extra income. The article strongly implies that this latter income isn’t being reported. So, there’s a strong possibility of one degree or another of fraud here. But, hey, Obama doesn’t care; they’re not verifying income, anyway.

Second, before jumping with joy, these ladies and gentlemen would be well-advised to check into co-pays, deductibles, and just who is included in their new network, since all of these are already being recognized as problems. (And, to be clear, Obamacare critics have been warning of this for years.) It’s not for nothing that one person described the low-cost plans as “garbage.”

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Finally, I need to deal with one truly egregious statement that’s indicative of much that’s wrong these days:

“I really do think access to healthcare should be a human right, and I’ve been so brainwashed to think it’s such a privilege,” a sex worker and activist known as “Maxine Holloway” said.

Sorry, Maxine, but healthcare is neither a right nor a privilege: it is a commodity, the fruits of the labor of other people (doctors who have to pay to attend medical school, companies that make the medical instruments, &c.) that is traded for the fruits of still other people’s labor — the money they earn.

Nothing you pay money for is an inherent, natural right. To declare health care a “right” everyone is entitled to, you have to take from someone else, if need be by force, their property, whether it is their time and labor, or the products they produce. Force them to sell something for less than what it is worth or to provide it “free,” and you are effectively stealing from them, even enslaving them. For the government to demand that taxpayers pay far more than they need to for insurance in order to subsidize your medical procedures is no different than a medieval lord taking a farmer’s grain crop and giving it to his favorites.

Look at it from another point of view: assume that one day sex is declared a human right, and that you, as a sex-worker are required to provide it at less than what you think your services are worth, which is analogous to what happens to a doctor under Medicare. (1) Would you be happy with that, Maxine? Would you think it right? Or would you feel oppressed and used?

Put it this way: What the government gives you, it can easily take. Or force you to provide.

PS: For the record, I have nothing against the “sex trade,” as long as all participants are adults engaging in it of their own free will. I suppose this is one place where the “libertarian” part of my self-description as a “conservative with libertarian leanings” comes into play — individualism, liberty of contract, free enterprise and entrepreneurialism, &c. Or, put another way, within broad bounds, it’s none of government’s (or my) business. In fact, I suspect that Siouxsie and Maxine and their friends are far more honest about what they do than the Obama and his team have ever been about their intentions. Given my choice of people to hang around with…

via ST

Footnote:
(1) This is a mistaken analogy on my part, for practices aren’t required to take Medicare and Medicaid patients. Doing so is voluntary on their part, much like pro bono work by attorneys. For a Democrat proposal that would change this, though, see this…

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Obamacare’s doctored coverage: destroying the private insurance market

**Posted by Phineas

"Quack medicine"

“Quack medicine”

I linked this in my last post, but it really deserves top-level billing of its own as a picture-perfect example of how Obamacare harms, not helps, the middle classes.

Redondo Beach resident Steve Duschene has bought his own insurance on the individual market for several years now and has had to deal with the problems of rising costs, often by cutting back on coverage he’d otherwise like to keep. So, he decided to try buying a policy on Covered California, our state exchange.

What he found was, to say the least, upsetting:

I have visited the state exchange, CoveredCA.com, and what I found is not encouraging. In fact, it’s frightening, with few policy choices, higher monthly premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs.

(…)

Relieved to see Anthem, which has provided my family’s health insurance policies for nearly 10 years, I was stunned by the $900 monthly premium, not to mention higher out-of pocket costs. Like our current plan, Anthem’s Obamacare policy would cover three doctor visits per person per year, but with a 35 percent increase in the monthly premium.

The sticker shock did not end at the premium. Our doctor office co-payment would double from $30 under our current policy to $60 under the Obamacare policy, and in the event of a trip to an emergency room, our co-pay would triple from $100 to $300. Our current policy includes no co-pay for an urgent care visit; Obamacare would hit us for a co-pay of $120.

Duschene then notes the dilemma of the individual policy buyer:

Under Obamacare, however, there appears to be no alternative to significantly higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. If we want insurance, we will have no choice but to shop through the exchange.

But he’s also careful to note  the alternative, which is to not carry insurance, but buy it only at need, knowing that one cannot be refused. He correctly calls this, as I have in other posts on other facets of Obamacare, a “perverse incentive.” And his closing reveals that this isn’t a bug, but a feature:

Back in January, the Anthem representative could not predict Obamacare prices, but now we know. And the more we learn about the Affordable Care Act, the less affordable it becomes. It’s open season on individual health insurance consumers.

Per Congresswoman “Red” Jan Schakowski and President Barack Obama, that’s the whole point: the destruction of the private insurance market.

You can bet there are a lot more stories like Steve Duschene’s. It’s in the plan.

via Stuart Stevens

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Californians discover that -gasp!- Obama lied about their insurance costs

**Posted by Phineas

"Suckers."

“Suckers.”

The San Jose Mercury News ran an article a couple of days ago about “winners and losers” under Obamacare in the Bay Area, including individual buyers of health insurance who were shocked when faced with economic reality: when the government mandates higher costs on businesses, they will then pass those costs along to consumers.

And as some Obamacare supporters found, reality bites — their wallets:

But people with no pre-existing conditions like [Cindy] Vinson, a 60-year-old retired teacher, and [Tom] Waschura, a 52-year-old self-employed engineer, are making up the difference.

“I was laughing at Boehner — until the mail came today,”

Waschura said, referring to House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading the Republican charge to defund Obamacare.
“I really don’t like the Republican tactics, but at least now I can understand why they are so pissed about this. When you take $10,000 out of my family’s pocket each year, that’s otherwise disposable income or retirement savings that will not be going into our local economy.”

Both Vinson and Waschura have adjusted gross incomes greater than four times the federal poverty level — the cutoff for a tax credit. And while both said they anticipated their rates would go up, they didn’t realize they would rise so much.

“Of course, I want people to have health care,” Vinson said. “I just didn’t realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.”

It must be nice to live in their imaginary world, where government can wave its magic wand and and create wonderful new entitlements that are always paid for by The Other Guy. But, in the world we all live in, when Waschura whines about what amounts to a seizure of ten grand of his disposable income to pay for other people’s insurance, I want to scream “THAT’S WHAT WE’VE BEEN COMPLAINING ABOUT, YOU MORON!” Obamacare is not about health care; it is a gigantic wealth transfer program, and the “transfer from” part includes the middle class. Everything Obama and his comrades on the Left do is about wealth redistribution.

Do read the rest of the article. In fairness, it points out “winners” under the ACA, too. What it doesn’t do is mention how those winners, such as those with previously existing conditions, “win” by relying on the government to force those younger and healthier to buy more (and more expensive) insurance than they really need. And you need several of those losers for each beneficiary.

Again, wealth transfer is the key.

Meanwhile, to those ACA-supporters now finding out just how badly shafted they are by this bill, give me some time. It will take me a while to generate any sympathy.

via Uncommentari

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#NewTone Watch: communications lessons from an expert, Allan Brauer (D). Updated, Brauer apologizes. Update 2, Brauer resigns

**Posted by Phineas

This was an interesting morning on Twitter. After the House voted to pass a continuing resolution that funds the government but provides no money for Obamacare, conservative journalist Amanda Carpenter wrote the following:

Reasonable people can of course disagree on the merits of this move and post their thoughts on Twitter in reply. Which is what Allan Brauer did:

See? That’s a professional handles disagreement on sensitive issues. In fact, Brauer is a Democratic Party official, the Communications Chair for the Democratic Party of Sacramento. So you can bet he knows the fine art of messaging and marketing. In fact, the tag line on his blog reads:

“It matters how you say it!”

Indeed, Allan. Indeed.

Here are some more examples of a professional Democratic communications expert’s concern for a civil tone in politics:

…and…

Actually, yes, Allan. You are.

I’m sure there’s more, including at least one example of the way not to respond to him, but Sacramento County Democratic Party Communications Chair Allan Brauer has blocked me, so I can’t see them.

Darn. I guess I’ll just never be popular with tolerant progressives who wish death on children.

PS: The Chair of the Democratic Party in Sacramento County is Kerri Asbury. If you have a Twitter account, you might want to let her know well her comms guy is doing his job. Politely, of course.

UPDATE: Brauer has apologized, and Amanda Carpenter has accepted:

However, the California Democratic Party doesn’t quite seem to get it:

Sigh. Shouldn’t be surprised. This is the state party of Bob Filner, after all.

UPDATE 2: Brauer resigns:

The Democratic Party of Sacramento County (DPSC) Friday called for and accepted the resignation of its volunteer communications chair following of series of personal twitter comments directed at GOP staff after Republicans voted to defund President Obama’s health care law.

DPSC chair Kerri Asbury said the personal twitter comments made by Communications Committee chair Allan Brauer were “appalling and inexcusable.” She accepted his resignation Friday, and issued the following statement:

“The comments by our volunteer communications chair are appalling and inexcusable. No matter what our political disagreements may be, wishing harm is never an acceptable response during heated public debate or any other time. Mr. Brauer has apologized for his comments and expressed his remorse.”

via Legal Insurrection

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Questions for @RepSpeier (D-CA 14) about Bob “Filthy” Filner #WarOnWomen

**Posted by Phineas

Dear Representative Jackie Speier,

In an article excerpted today in the California Political Review, you are quoted as saying Bob Filner should resign as Mayor of San Diego:

“In [Filner’s] case, I think he was abusing his power, and I find it disgusting that he would hit on sexual assault victims in the military or veterans, I should say,” Speier said.

You’ve served as part of the California delegation to the House and as a member of the Democratic caucus there since since 2008. Filner was in the House from 1993-2012, also as a member of the Democratic caucus. So you overlapped for four years. It’s been widely reported that Bob Filner was harassing women during his time in the House. Indeed, that’s where he got the nickname “Filthy,” as well as a few others. The former head of the California Democratic Party flew to Washington to speak to Bob about his “issue.” There’s no way this stayed secret from the caucus leadership and, given the number of women complaining about Filner’s behavior in the House, it’s difficult to believe you didn’t know.

And so some questions come to mind:

When did you first hear of Bob Filner’s disgusting behavior in the House? Why did you not complain about it then? Why did you not demand his resignation or expulsion? Since you had to have known about it then, why are you only denouncing it now? Are you concerned your caucus leadership was apparently engaged in a cover up of a sexual predator who preyed on veterans? Were you part of that cover up? Will you denounce Nancy Pelosi’s involvement in a cover up and her effective enabling of Bob Filner’s abuse of women?

And, if you truly didn’t know what was going on, if you didn’t notice what so many women were complaining about and you weren’t “read in” by your caucus leadership, are you concerned about what that says about your job performance and place in the caucus and the California delegation?

Will you resign for your failure as a feminist to protect the women of the House?

Kind Regards,

–A California Voter

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

(Video) Hello, I’m from California. Please nuke my state, now.

**Posted by Phineas

"Even the monkey is embarrassed"

“Even the monkey is embarrassed”

A noted 9-11 Truther circulates a petition to help Obama streamline government by eliminating the Bill of Rights… and people sign it!

The Blaze describes the man with the mission:

Well, to put it plainly, he’s … interesting.

A noted 9/11 truther and Illuminati enthusiast, Dice has been featured in documentaries including Invisible Empire, The 9/11 Chronicles, and has been featured on the History Channel’s Decoded, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, and the Sundance Channel’s Love/Lust: Secret Societies.

So, your garden-variety activist… if it happens to be a garden in Venice  or San Francisco.

As the writer notes, some people will sign anything to get rid of the petition taker, or because they think the idea is so outrageous, it would be funny to sign.  But… eliminate the Bill of Rights? Dude, put down the bong and back away.

It may surprise you, but there are times when my faith in the Golden State is shaken. At least a bit. smiley headbang wall

via birthday boy William Teach

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

New #IRS scandal? Agency sued over stealing 60 million medical records — Updated

**Posted by Phineas

We’re in the best of hands:

The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.

According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data.

“This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents,” the complaint reads. “No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search. IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records,” it continued.

You know, we may just be a lowly state, and they may be a mighty federal agency, but it would take only a few angry superior court judges to make life miserable for the regional IRS office…

Meanwhile, what are we up to? Five scandals in the last two weeks? Six? Am I bid seven?

via Drew M.

UPDATE: Lawyer Gabriel Malor is “calling BS” on the Healthcare IT News story, describing the suit as “vague” and “lurid.” See his tweets beginning at 3/15/13 at 10:12 AM.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Shock and surprise: Diane Feinstein’s husband’s company lands big high-speed rail contract

**Posted by Phineas

"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Because, at nearly $35,000,000 per mile, they surely had to be the cheapest:

Out of the entire universe of those who could have won the first phase construction contract for California’s high speed rail boondoggle, who would stand out as the last person who would win it if there were no political patronage.

Put another way, who is the most likely person to win it if there is political patronage?

Both questions have the same answer: Richard Blum, the husband of California senator Diane Feinstein.

So, who won the contract? Blum, of course, as the principle owner of Tutor Perini, the lead firm in the three-firm consortium selected by the California High Speed Rail Authority.

Yes, Diane, it really does look that bad to us little people.

The group lead by Tutor Perini bid $985,000,000 to build the initial 29-mile stretch, roughly from Fresno to Madera, which doesn’t include the costs for electrification and land purchase. And, as Laer points out at Crazifornia, they started with this section because it’s the cheapest. (I can’t wait to see what the bids are to lay track through the mountain passes…)

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the principle owner of the company is husband to a powerful United States senator, who happens to be from the state building said rail system. I mean, it’s not as if there have been any allegations of self-dealing before.

I’m about as shocked as Louis was in Casablanca:

via Katy Grimes

UPDATE 01/30/2014: It appears Blum divested himself of Tutor-Perini stock in 2005, calling into question much of the Crazifornia article. The rail deal still stinks like a fish left out in the sun, however.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Quote of the Day: Doing business in Texas vs. California edition

**Posted by Phineas

An observation on why Texas might have more appeal to business owners, from John Harrington, owner of Shield Tactical, who recently relocated his company from Orange County, California, to Austin:

In Texas, he said, “it’s an iota of bureaucracy.” In California, “it’s like before you put up your range you have to be worried about whether the noise level is going to bother the 10-headed duckmouse.”

That made me laugh, but it’s also so very true. One company found the regulatory environment here so burdensome, it wrote California a “Dear John” letter.

Oh, and if you think “duckmouse” was a joke, consider that Sacramento would rather let Central Valley farms die of thirst than fight the EPA over a two-inch bait fish.

BTW, the first linked article is a good one on how Texas is working to encourage firearms manufacturers to move to Texas from states that are imposing more and more restrictions. Smart man, that Governor Perry.

via Moe Lane and Rick Wilson

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)