Quote of the Day: Behind the #Obamacare numbers

Posted by: ST on April 1, 2014 at 10:47 am
Obamacare

Obamacare – bad for your health, your wallet, your …

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York breaks down the Obamacare “millions”:

The [LA] Times says the [9.5 million] numbers break down like this: 4.5 million previously uninsured people are now on Medicaid; 3 million previously uninsured young people are now covered because of a provision that allows them to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26; and 2 million previously uninsured people have purchased coverage on the Obamacare exchanges. In all, it is “the largest expansion in health coverage in America in half a century,” according to the Times.

Assume all the numbers are correct, or at least close to correct. By far the largest part of Obamacare’s health coverage expansion has come from a) expanding Medicaid, and b) allowing young people to stay on their parents’ coverage. The part where Democrats essentially blew up the health care markets, imposed the individual mandate, and caused premiums to rise and deductibles to skyrocket? That hasn’t been such a success. If the Times number are correct, all of that — placing new burdens of higher costs and narrower choices on millions of Americans, in addition to setting the stage for coming changes in employer-based coverage — has resulted in two million of the previously uninsured gaining coverage.

The bottom line is that Democrats could have enacted two relatively small changes (small relative to the entirety of Obamacare, that is) in the health care system and achieved most of what Obamacare has achieved so far. Would Republicans have supported such changes back in 2009 and 2010? Who knows? Maybe a few would have — certainly the until-26 change — but the point is in the brief period when Obamacare was enacted, Democrats had about 255 votes in the House and 60 in the Senate. They could do what they wanted, which included pursuing more modest reforms that would have helped millions. Or they could blow things up and impose burdens on millions even as they helped others. Acting on decades of pent-up demand to take control of the health care system, they chose to blow things up. And that is the context for today’s new numbers.

And don’t forget – Obamacare by design is just a stepping stone to single-payer “healthcare coverage.”  Ya heard it here folks. Well, you’ve heard it other places, too. But it’s worth repeating, for good measure.

Memeorandum has more on the (likely highly inflated) numbers you can expect to hear about from Team Obama in the coming days as they attempt to dishonestly paint the first round of enrollment as a smashing success.  Well, sure, if you can count millions losing health care plans they liked as a “success.”  Or millions having to go on part time status or lose their jobs as a result of Obamacare a “success.” Or young people not signing up in the anticipated numbers needed to offset costs a “success.” Etc, etc…

 

Best major league baseball opening day flyover photo ever?

Posted by: ST on March 31, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Wowsers. Talk about incredible!


Now, if that doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies and make you wanna stand up and salute ‘Merica, I don’t know what will. :) **==

To find out how you can own your very own copy of that amazing photo, click here.

In other opening day news, a call was overturned today during the Milwaukee/Braves game using expanded instant replay:

MILWAUKEE — The first call overturned by instant replay in Major League Baseball history occurred Monday in Milwaukee, as Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun’s infield single was changed to an out.

It took just 58 seconds for a decision to be made, as the process seemed to work smoothly. Multiple replays were shown on the scoreboard at Miller Park while crew chief Ted Barrett received word from umpires at the replay command center in New York.

Braun hit a slow roller to Braves third baseman Chris Johnson to start the bottom of the sixth inning. Johnson double clutched to make the play close, and first-base umpire Greg Gibson called Braun safe.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez didn’t waste much time and challenged the play almost immediately. Barrett then signaled Braun was out after removing the headset.

The Brewers won the game 2-0.

Play ball!

Word!
(Image via Khabar.com)

 

Survey shows elderly voters fleeing Democrats

Posted by: Phineas on March 31, 2014 at 4:15 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Fail

This news from Gallup probably has staff of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reaching for a bottle:

U.S seniors — those aged 65 and older — have moved from a reliably Democratic group to a reliably Republican one over the past two decades. From 1992 through 2006, seniors had been solidly Democratic and significantly more Democratic than younger Americans. Over the last seven years, seniors have become less Democratic, and have shown an outright preference for the Republican Party since 2010.

In 1992, 53% of senior citizens, on average, identified as Democrats or said they were independents but leaned Democratic, while 39% identified as Republicans or leaned Republican, resulting in a 14-percentage-point Democratic advantage in seniors’ party affiliation. Last year, 48% of seniors identified as or leaned Republican, and 45% Democratic, a three-point Republican advantage.

It’s a truism of American politics that older, retired voters tend to turn out for elections more than other demographic groups. In a midterm election, such a self-motivated group can have an outsized influence because other groups often aren’t as enthusiastic to vote when the election lacks the drama of a presidential race.

The Democrats remember what happened in the last midterm election, which was a slaughter for them at both the federal and state levels. Without the Obama of 2008 or even 2012 at the top of their ticket (1), that eager-to-vote “senior bloc” could again make a serious difference.

Gallup goes into a long analysis of the influence ethnic factors might have on the elderly shifting toward Republicans (they tend to be more White as a group), and it’s an interesting read. But, I’ll offer another explanation which I, without doing any polling, think plays a much larger roll:

People don’t like being lied to.

That’s what Obama and the Democratic Party did when they promised a) if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor; b) if you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan; and c) we won’t touch Medicare.

Lie. Lie. Lie.

That last is especially galling to seniors, because the Medicare Advantage program is very popular and Obamacare just guts it. Perhaps there’s a general unhappiness among the elderly with the administration and the direction of the nation (I’d be surprised if there weren’t), but the cuts to Medicare and the interference in the doctor-patient relationship is very immediate, very personal and very probably frightening for many of these people. They’ve been lied to, they’ve been played for suckers, and no one I know likes that feeling, or the persons who made them feel that way.

And that’s why this poll has to have Harry Reid retreating to his Happy Place, because it looks very much like payback for those lies is coming soon.

via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt

Footnote:
(1) They’re probably grateful the Obama of 2014 isn’t, either.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

 

Russia on the march: 10 reasons Putin is likely to invade eastern Ukraine

Posted by: Phineas on March 30, 2014 at 8:21 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"I won"

“Can’t touch this.”

There’s a good article by Michael Weiss giving a list of reasons why Russia’s Vladimir Putin is probably going to make a move soon to take over Ukraine’s largely ethnic-Russian eastern regions. It’s well-worth reading; Weiss covers the realities of power, political considerations, and Russian military movements (1). He also brings up a motive that’s psychological, but I think it fits. Let’s see what you think:

2. Putin enjoys embarrassing the United States, and especially its current commander-in-chief.

On Feb. 28, Obama warned that “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine” — before high-tailing it to a Democratic National Committee cocktail party at the Washington Hilton. The next day, the world awoke to a Russian invasion of Crimea. “Rarely has a threat from a U.S. president been dismissed as quickly — and comprehensively — as Obama’s warning on Friday night,” the Washington Post’s Scott Wilson reported. And let’s look at the laundry list of American desires and warnings the Kremlin has brushed aside: Russia has dramatically increased its arms transfers to Syria since the chemical disarmament deal was struck last fall. It continues to host fugitive NSA spy Edward Snowden. And during the midst of the Maidan protests, Russia’s own spies intercepted a phone call between a top U.S. State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, then leaked the contents of it to Kremlin-controlled media. Moreover, neither Putin nor his inner circle seem terribly aggravated by the current suite of U.S. or EU sanctions or the blockbuster admission by the Treasury Department that Putin — now a staunch patriotic proponent of the “de-offshoreization” of the Russian economy – personally controls assets in Swiss oil commodities giant Gunvor.

While I would never argue that psychological motives are paramount –Putin’s too much of a power realist to fool himself with petty self-gratifications– I’m sure they’re there. Vladimir Putin is an ex-KGB officer, trained to be brutal when necessary. His goals are those of every Russian ruler since the Mongols were driven out: seeking the security of Russia by dominating the states around her and keeping powerful foes at a distance. In America, he sees a nation in short-term decline, creating an opportunity for him to advance those goals. In Obama, he sees a weak, out of his depth, would-be academic beta-male whom he, Vladimir Putin, almost a caricature of the alpha-male, can intimidate to seize that opportunity.

In short, Putin sees Obama as his [you fill in the word] and loves showing that to the world.

You can bet he plans to enjoy that feeling again, soon.

Footnote:
(1) They’re deploying field hospitals. That’s a significant sign it itself.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

 

Weekend Open Thread

Posted by: ST on March 29, 2014 at 11:52 am

I’m out to for a girls day with my sisters and mom to celebrate one of my sisters turning the big 5-0. Hope y’all have a beautiful weekend, and while you’re at it – enjoy some March Madness basketball.

Cheers!

Keep calm weekend

 

Maryland #Obamacare Fail: State exchange site to be ditched for new system

Posted by: ST on March 29, 2014 at 10:22 am
Technical difficulties

The epic Obamacare fail continues.

Team Obama, struggling to up their enrollment numbers, can’t be happy at all about this. Via Fox News:

With just days to go before open enrollment ends on March 31, Maryland officials are reportedly planning to abandon its glitch-ridden ObamaCare website and replace the health exchange with technology from Connecticut’s marketplace.

The Washington Post reported late Friday that the board of the Maryland exchange will vote on changing the system that has cost at least $125.5 million at a meeting on Tuesday, the day after the end of the first enrollment period under ObamaCare.

Maryland residents will still be able to use the exchange as it is being replaced with technology from the Connecticut exchange, Access Health CT, officials told The Post. The state is expected to tap consulting firm Deloitte for the overhaul.

Maryland’s online health exchange has been bedeviled by computer problems that have made it difficult for people to enroll in private health care plans since its debut Oct. 1. Although improvements have been made, computer problems remain.

Maryland and Connecticut are among several states that have built their own health exchanges. So far, the state says 49,293 Maryland residents have enrolled in private health plans as of last week, far short of the state’s original goal of 150,000 enrollments.

O’Malley told reporters on Friday to expect an announcement on the future of the exchange next week, The Post reported.

“We still have stuck applications. We still wrestle with it every day,” O’Malley said. “The clock was ticking, and we have been changing the flat tires on this rolling car for the last five, going on six months now. And it has gotten better with every new fix applied to it, [but it is] still not working as it was supposed to work.”

A report by Maryland analysts last month found that the state’s defective health care exchange could cost the state $30.5 million because the state is unable to determine whether people remain eligible for Medicaid due to problems with the exchange. The 31-page report also said “there is significant uncertainty about the way forward” with future information technology spending that will be needed.

Last month, Maryland’s health exchange board voted to fire the state’s prime information technology contractor, Noridian Healthcare Solutions.

Wow. The fail runs deep with the Maryland site design/IT crew – not to mention, well, you know with the law itself and the liberal politicos who advocated for it and ultimately helped craft it and eventually shove it down the throats of the American people. But that goes without saying, of course.

And as to that 6 million “enrollment figure” pulled out of the collective a** of the White House earlier this week, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) was right on the money in seriously questioning it:

Higher enrollment numbers have not impressed Republicans, who plan more votes to repeal or change parts of the law. They also quickly noted that not everyone who signs up has paid their premiums: Insurers estimate that about 15 to 20 percent haven’t paid yet, so they aren’t fully enrolled, although the number is in flux.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), speaking before the White House released the updated numbers, predicted that the final enrollment figures would become a Washington parlor game, especially since many people hadn’t paid.

“Being enrolled doesn’t mean it works, you have to collect money,” he said. He also questioned how many of the people signing up had done so because they had little choice after their old plan was cancelled.

“Canceling millions of policies, then bragging when they sign up for another one is a little odd, don’t you think?,” tweeted Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Yeah, and exactly how many people who weren’t able to get insurance prior to Obamacare signed up on the exchanges and actually got on a plan other than Medicaid? I mean, isn’t that what the law was supposedly created for? Surprisingly, the media didn’t think to ask any such questions of their own about the the administration’s numbers. Go figure!  ;)

 

#HSR: Jerry Brown’s high-speed choo-choo not so high-speed

Posted by: Phineas on March 28, 2014 at 7:50 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Boondoggle

Boondoggle

Via The American Interest, the LA Times reports that California’s high-speed rail project may not be able to meet its promised travel times — shocker!

Regularly scheduled service on California’s bullet train system will not meet anticipated trip times of two hours and 40 minutes between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and are likely to take nearly a half-hour longer, a state Senate committee was told Thursday.

The faster trips were held out to voters in 2008 when they approved $9 billion in borrowing to help pay for the project. Since then, a series of political compromises and planning changes designed to keep the $68-billion line moving ahead have created slower track zones in urban areas.

But Louis Thompson, chairman of the High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group, a state-sanctioned panel of outside experts, testified that “real world engineering issues” will cause schedules for regular service to exceed the target of two hours and 40 minutes. The state might be able to demonstrate a train that could make the trip that fast, but not on scheduled service, he told lawmakers. If public demand for the service supports additional investments, travel times could be improved after the currently planned system is built, he said.

Critics of the project have long disputed whether travel times between the Bay Area and Los Angeles will meet the mark of two hours and 40 minutes. Projected trip times for the bullet train are a point of contention in a court fight that could block the state’s access to the voter-approved bond funds.

So we have huge cost overruns, property seized to make way for the train, and now the revelation that it won’t even be all that “high-speed.” Genius. Future generations of dictionaries will include the California high-speed rail authority’s logo in their definition of “boondoggle.”

The puzzling thing is, neither the bullet train fiasco, the ongoing corruption saga, nor the fact that the state is bleeding jobs and businesses is making a dent in Governor Brown and the Democratic Party’s control over the state. But then it becomes not so puzzling when you think about it. As the author at TAI writes:

While Democrats face some internal wrangling over the project, it’s the state’s total absence of an organized political opposition that helps keep ideas like the high speed train alive. As a BuzzFeed article points out, Brown is not suffering in the polls whatsoever from his beloved project—a boondoggle that a majority of Californians now oppose. Similarly, the Golden State’s status as nation-wide leader in job losses isn’t expected to affect the Democrats’ legislative supermajority. In the last three months, three Democratic state senators have been convicted (1) on federal corruption charges including voter fraud, perjury, bribes in exchange for legislation, and weapons and drug trafficking to pay off campaign debts. That’s a list that would make Boss Tweed blush, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting the Democrats’ dominance in Sacramento.

It’s the job of the opposition to oppose, yet the California Republican Party is limp. As I wrote to friends the other day after the Leland Yee scandal broke:

“Which isn’t to excuse the CRP for being flaccid. Last night, several of us on Twitter were ripping them for being milquetoast in the wake of the Leland Yee scandal (and Wright and Calderon). The Republican Party in California is already a rump; why not make some noise, go on offense, and demand to know why the Democratic Party tolerates corruption in its ranks? Call press conferences, get ads out, get all candidates on the same message. Run on a populist clean government and prosperity platform.  We really have nothing to lose and we might peel off enough voters to make a difference.”

Otherwise, we’re just leaving the state to the people running it into the ground.

Footnote:
(1) Actually, one convicted and two indicted. The error has been pointed out at TAI in the comments section.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

 

What do we have to do to win the culture war?

Posted by: ST on March 28, 2014 at 9:32 am

SMH

I read the below series of tweets from my friend @KemberleeKaye on a disturbing experience she had this morning at a local donut shop in Texas when she went to get breakfast. In a nutshell, a nice elderly lady in the store saw a homeless man sitting nearby and bought him a donut. She walked away and he followed her, asked if she was a Christian. She said yes. He said he refused to take charity from Christians because they “hated homosexuals.” She tried to leave the store and he followed her and threw the donut at her.

Yes, obviously the unhinged jerk was extraordinarily rude and disrespectful, and this is just one incident, but I see this attitude a lot – assuming that Christians “hate” gays. And it expands further than that to other social issues, like casual sex, birth control, abortion, and religion. I know there are Christians that give the rest of us a bad name, but I think this belief system has a lot more to do with how the activist left – with help from their liberal allies in the print and online media – have distorted and demagogued the various issues social conservatives have focused on over the years into something they’re not. For example, they paint abortion as being about “women’s health” rather than about the unborn life. Birth control is painted as a “right” and anyone who opposes paying for it on a faith basis is painted is a woman-hating “pig” who wants to “control women.” And on and on.

Honestly, conservatives and Christians haven’t done a very good, effective job at neutralizing the left’s social issues talking points in the context of the culture wars. But you have to keep in mind, too, that some of that has to do not just with how the left routinely portrays us and the issues that are important to us, but it also has to do with the minority of cuckoos on the far right saying the wrong thing and the media completely focusing on them while ignoring those who can much better articulate social/cultural issue positions. So how DO we turn things around and start winning again? Keep in mind I’m not talking about government “solutions” but instead looking for ways we can go about in our daily lives that can reverse the nasty stereotype the left has successfully painted us as. I firmly believe that social issues ARE fiscal issues and that if we don’t reverse the left wing monopoly on them, then we’ll see major socio-economic problems in the future that make the current ones look like a piece of cake to handle by comparison.

Thoughts?

 

#Obamacare navigators helping people sign up at Mexican consulates

Posted by: Phineas on March 27, 2014 at 8:17 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Nah, there’s no potential for fraud, here:

The Obama administration has been helping to facilitate a series of events nationwide at Mexican Consulate offices to enroll people in Obamacare – and a key activist says the efforts are “our responsibility” regardless of citizenship.

“Whether they’re Mexican nationals or whether they’re United States citizens or whether they’re in transition– and if they’re there it is our responsibility within all of America to educate on the Affordable Care Act,” Enroll America Field Organizer Jose Medrano told Breitbart News on Wednesday.

Health Care insurance navigator groups hosted an Obamacare enrollment fair on Tuesday in the Mexican Consulate’s Brownsville office, The Rio Grande Guardian reported last Friday, where Mexican nationals among others were counseled about enrolling in the ACA.

“The Mexican consulate is a very reliable source of information to the Latino community. And therefore when they host their events, yesterday being the health fair, there are several hundred people that show up,” Medrano said.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), undocumented immigrants aren’t supposed to be receiving government-run health benefits or subsidized coverage. However, President Barack Obama told Latinos in early March that the Healthcare.gov website would not be used to find out about an individual’s immigration status.

“None of the information that is provided in order for you to obtain health insurance is in any way transferred to immigration services,” he said.

As the article points out, this isn’t the first time the administration has made use of Mexican consulates to push entitlement programs to Latino communities: in 2012, USDA ran Spanish-language commercials encouraging people to sign up for food stamps.

Back to Obamacare, the extensive use of Mexican consulates, which are a trusted source of information for Mexican communities in the US, and the promise to not forward an applicant’s information to ICE all but guarantees that the American taxpayer will wind up subsidizing health insurance for Mexican nationals who are in the US illegally.

And if some sort of amnesty goes through, guess which party expects (1) to reap the benefits of our state-mandated generosity?

Why, it’s almost as if that’s the plan.

via Fausta

Footnote:
(1) Then again, with all the screw ups and problems experienced with O-care to date, maybe the Democrats’ shouldn’t expect much gratitude.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

 

FAIL: In #NCPOL Dem Mayor scandal, CNN uses pic of GOP Governor

Posted by: ST on March 27, 2014 at 11:28 am

LOL. In the midst of all the national coverage my fair city was receiving last night on the Charlotte Democrat Mayor scandal, there was this (via multiple Twitter sources, including @WilsonShow):

CNN oops

Um, that’s our GOP GOVERNOR, CNN, not Charlotte’s corruptocrat Democrat Mayor. Duh …

Now, Gov. McCrory (R) used to be Charlotte Mayor, but that was several years ago. We’ve had two elected Democrat Mayors since then – Anthony Foxx, who is now Obama’s transportation secretary, and Patrick Cannon, who resigned last night.

I’m sure this wasn’t intentional on CNN’s part. Nope, not at all:-?