Archive for Health Care

Jobbed and Jobless

Jane Austen’s novel of bad manners on the state of Americans under the burdens of ObamaCare:

On Thursday the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported the results of a special business survey on the Affordable Care Act and its influence on employment, compensation and benefits. Liberals claim ObamaCare is of little consequence to jobs, but the Philly Fed went to the source and asked employers qualitative questions about how they are responding in practice.

The bank reports that 78.8% of businesses in the district have made no change to the number of workers they employ as the specific result of ObamaCare and 3% are hiring more. More troubling, 18.2% are cutting jobs and employees. Some 18% shifted the composition of their workforce to a higher proportion of part-time labor. And 88.2% of the roughly half of businesses that modified their health plans as a result of ObamaCare passed along the costs through increasing the employee contribution to premiums, an effective cut in wages.

Those results are consistent with a New York Fed survey, also out this week, that asked “How, if at all, are you changing (or have you changed) any of the following because of the effects that the ACA is having on your business?” For “number of workers you employ,” 21% of Empire State manufacturers and 16.9% of service firms answered “reducing.”

To complete the triptych, an Atlanta Fed poll earlier this month found that 34% of businesses planned to hire more part-time workers than in the past, mostly because of a rise in the relative costs of their full-time colleagues. ObamaCare may be contributing to that surge to the extent the law’s insurance mandates and taxes increase spending on fringe benefits for people who work more than 30 hours.

Somewhere between one-fifth and one-third of employers are cutting hours for their employees. The Left likes to think of itself as fact-based and scientific. But ObamaCare was built on the promise of sugar plums and unicorns. Define full time workers at 30 hours a week, and that’s what you’ll get, an army of 29-hour a week workers without health care. The Soviet Union learned that a command economy doesn’t work. Now we don’t work.

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How Does ObamaCare Intersect With Identity Theft?

4.5 million people had their records stolen in hospital system hack attack

Community Health Systems, which operates 206 hospitals across the United States, announced on Monday that hackers recently broke into its computers and stole data on 4.5 million patients.
Hackers have gained access to their names, Social Security numbers, physical addresses, birthdays and telephone numbers.

Anyone who received treatment from a network-owned hospital in the last five years — or was merely referred there by an outside doctor — is affected
.
The large data breach puts these people at heightened risk of identity fraud. That allows criminals open bank accounts and credit cards on their behalf, take out loans and ruin personal credit history.

The company’s hospitals operate in 28 states but have their most significant presence in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

Community Health Systems (CYH) hired cybersecurity experts at Mandiant to consult on the hack. They have determined the hackers were in China and used high-end, sophisticated malware to launch the attacks sometime in April and June this year.

This has happened over the past five years – what does it have to do with ObamaCare? Well, the answer is that ObamaCare creates bigger networks and hires “navigators”, some of whom have criminal records. The more centralized the system, the more people will be hurt by an attack like this one. Plus, they promised us that this wouldn’t occur, that security was in place to protect us. I doubt it.

- Aggie

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Where Have All the Health Plans Gone?

When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Nearly 400,000 people in Massachusetts will need to reapply for health insurance before the end of the year, and many of them probably do not even know it.

They are people who do not have employer-sponsored health insurance and who instead sought insurance through the state. After the Massachusetts insurance website failed last year, most of them were enrolled in temporary coverage that ends Dec. 31, which is why they must select a new plan.

This is the newest challenge facing the Massachusetts Health Connector…

Hey, President Obama! Oh, sorry sir. I didn’t see that you were putting. I’ll wait.

Ohhh! So close!

Anyway, the Boston Glob offers a helpful hint out of your signature fiasco, ObamaCare. The next cluster[bleep] that reaches from the pages of the newspaper and slaps us across the face, call it a challenge. Lost your doctor? That’s a challenge. Premiums spike, deductibles spiral? That’s a challenge. Cancer spread while no one could figure out whether your plan was valid? That’s a big challenge.

Our regular readers may be wondering who this serious, stone-faced BTL is. Why haven’t I dissolved into fits of giggles? Where are the tears streaming from my eyes, the snot from my nose?

Here ya go:

Connector leaders want to get people to log on and choose a plan, starting Nov. 15.

To reach them, the Connector plans to place 2 million robocalls and knock on 200,000 doors, along with making personal phone calls, sending mail, buying print and broadcast advertisements, and holding community meetings and enrollment fairs.

The campaign is estimated to cost $15 million to $19 million, money the state will seek from the federal government.

Thanks, Buck! How generous of you, Judi! And all the rest of you tax-paying Americans who bankroll “the federal government”. Nineteen million dollars for enrollment fairs! I bet they have some pretty cool rides at enrollment fairs. Can I be a judge at the best pig competition?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

In a document describing the enrollment push, state officials say that one of their main messages to consumers should be to “squarely acknowledge and apologize for last year’s problems,” when a new website developed to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act failed to work properly, leaving thousands of people unable to sign up for insurance.

Maydad Cohen, a special adviser to Governor Deval Patrick, told the board that oversees the Connector Thursday that the state will request an additional $80 million in Medicaid funds to complete rebuilding of the website. That brings to $254 million the cost of the failed Connector project and its rebuilding, with all but $30 million paid by the federal government.

What’s another $19 million on top of the $224 million you’ve already wasted—I mean, spent—on us?

HOHOHOHOHOHO!!!!!

It’s not like it’s really our fault:

The state established the Connector as the cornerstone of its 2006 health care overhaul. But in 2013, the Connector’s website needed to be upgraded to comply with the Affordable Care Act.

The revamped site never worked properly and could not determine whether individuals were eligible for subsidies or MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid health plan for the poor.

See? We had a working plan (sort of), called RomneyCare, until Obama came along and junked it. Then we got stuck with the POS the rest of you have, ObamaCare. You (the federal government) broke it; why shouldn’t you pay to fix it?

Money well spent!

Cohen expressed confidence that when consumers log on they will find a functioning website able to take them from log-on to health plan choice.

“We are much further along than we were last year at this time,” he said after the meeting.

Give us another year, and we’ll have this thing doing backflips!

HEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!!!!! Anyone have a tissue?

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ObamaCare: Define Best, Define Worst

One of the terrific things about being a liberal is that you get to define the terms, and those terms are flexible:

The liberal attraction to making government the sole source of health-care insurance has not abated even as the deficiencies in ObamaCare, a halfway move toward the single-payer model, have become increasingly evident. The question is whether growing signs of single-payer trouble overseas will be enough to discourage this country’s flirtation with socialized medicine.

The Obama administration showed its hand long ago with the nomination of Tom Daschle, an advocate for Britain’s socialized National Health Service, as secretary of Health and Human Services in 2009. (Mr. Daschle withdrew amid criticism for nonpayment of taxes.) The White House installed another outspoken NHS fan, Donald Berwick, as an interim appointee (2010-11) to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

This summer, the Commonwealth Fund—a private foundation focused on health care that is a favorite of progressive policy types—issued a report ranking the NHS as the best medical system among those in 11 of the world’s most advanced nations, including Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden. Coming in last: U.S. health care.

So what makes Britain best and the US worst? Beats me..

Yet the Commonwealth rankings are contradicted by objective data about access and medical-care quality in peer-reviewed academic journals. For instance, Americans diagnosed with heart disease receive treatment with medications significantly more frequently than patients in Western Europe, according to Kenneth Thorpe in Health Affairs in 2007. In Lancet Oncology in that same year, Arduino Verdecchia published data demonstrating that American cancer patients have survival rates for all major cancers better than those in Western Europe and far better than in the U.K.

Personal anecdote: I have a dear friend who came down with an aggressive breast cancer in her 30s. I happened to be in Europe at the time, and read some research that indicated that if she had been a citizen of the UK and reliant on the NHS, her survival rate would have been about 44%. Germany: 63%. US: 88%. This was in the 90s. She’s still with us.

Similar examples concerning the deadliest and most significant diseases abound in medical journals. One may ask why the Commonwealth Fund’s health-care rankings published in June don’t reflect that reality. Theanswer lies in the report’s methodology, which relied heavily on subjective surveys about “perceptions and experiences of patients and physicians.”

Yet even as the single-payer system remains the ideal for many on the left, it’s worth examining how Britain’s NHS, established in 1948, is faring. The answer: badly. NHS England—a government body that receives about £100 billion a year from the Department of Health to run England’s health-care system—reported this month that its hospital waiting lists soared to their highest point since 2006, with 3.2 million patients waiting for treatment after diagnosis. NHS England figures for July 2013 show that 508,555 people in London alone were waiting for operations or other treatments—the highest total for at least five years.

Even cancer patients have to wait: According to a June report by NHS England, more than 15% of patients referred by their general practitioner for “urgent” treatment after being diagnosed with suspected cancer waited more than 62 days—two full months—to begin their first definitive treatment.

In addition to the wait, they are denied state of the art chemotherapy meds until they “fail” on the standard medications. And, natch, the cancer grows at they “fail”. Which is why the top 20% or so of Brits pay for private health insurance. Is that racist?

We will all experience this and real soon. The Baby Boomers dug their own graves when they voted Obama in – twice.

- Aggie

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Romney Got It Right – All Of It.

Iraq, Russia, the economy, health care…

Almost every day, it seems, brings a headline demonstrating how right 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was, and how wrong President Barack Obama was, on the critical issues facing America.

In 2012, Romney warned that Obama’s failure to secure an agreement to keep a residual military force in Iraq would threaten the U.S. gains made at such a high cost in American lives and treasure. “America’s ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence,” Romney asserted.

The chaos in Iraq today supports Romney’s view. With no U.S. military presence to constrain Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite politician persecuted Sunni leaders and gutted Sunni participation in government and the military. Worse, it set the stage for Sunni sympathies to turn to the fanatical Islamic State in Syria and Iraq that has conquered a significant part of the country and waged genocide against religious minorities. Obama has had to order U.S. air strikes to protect U.S. personnel in the Kurdish region and to support Kurdish militia to keep ISIS from capturing all of northern Iraq.

In the 2012 debates, Obama mocked Romney for calling Russia America’s top geopolitical foe. Today, Russia has stolen Crimea from Ukraine, funds and provides weapons and men to Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and even threatens an invasion of the country. President Vladimir Putin meddles in the Mideast, seeks to expand Moscow’s clout in Latin America, and harbors renegade Edward Snowden.

On domestic issues, Romney in 2011 advanced the idea of giving veterans a voucher to obtain medical care they could not get at a Veterans Administration hospital. This year saw the VA scandal reveal that long waiting lists for hospital treatment were hidden. Legislation Obama signed this week allows vets to seek help outside the VA system.

Romney understood that the nation’s outdated, complex tax code encourages U.S. corporations to park assets overseas and invest in other countries. He recommended tax reform to keep that money and business in America and boost the economy. Obama does nothing about reform but demagogues as “unpatriotic” corporations pressured by the tax code to seek profits and better returns for shareholders overseas.

More at the link. Read it and weep.

- Aggie

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BTL Therapy Session

I hate to burden my subjects with my personal issues, but I had the worst dream last night. I need to share.

It started like this:

Sticker shock is around the corner for many Americans with government-brokered medical coverage, as insurance companies are beginning to apply their first-year costs to next year’s premiums.

In the case of Florida, some consumers will pay as much as 23 per cent more when their plans are renewed in the fall, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

The numbers in virtually every state are all across the board, with the biggest rate hikes announced to date coming in states where the federal government runs the Obamacare marketplaces.

I woke up in a cold sweat. Once I had a glass of water, I tried to go back to sleep.

Until…

“The Obama administration on Friday appealed the ruling that some subsidies underObamaCare are illegal,” reports the Hill. “The Justice Department filed a petition with the full D.C. Circuit Court asking the judges to review the ruling in Halbig v. Burwell that overturned some of the subsidies distributed to help people pay for health insurance.”

A day earlier the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell filed an appeal petition directly with the Supreme Court, The Wall Street Journal reports. The cases raise the same question, but a three-judge panel of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the government. Both appeals were expected: The Obama administration has reason to expect a more favorable hearing from the D.C. Circuit, newly packed with Democratic appointees, than from the high court.

The Halbig court held that because the ObamaCare law expressly authorizes premium subsidies only for medical-insurance policies purchased on an exchange established by a state, it precludes a 2012 Internal Revenue Service regulation providing subsidies via the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, as well. Administration supporters seem to have given up arguing that the IRS rule is consistent with what the law actually says, so instead they’ve rested their case on congressional intent.

No! NO!!

Forget dreams about falling or being naked in public, this was petrifying. Somehow, a law was passed that forced rises in medical costs, yet subsidized fewer people. When did our country get taken over by rich, greedy bastards?

Once I convinced myself this was twisted fantasy, I allowed myself to try sleep again.

Big mistake:

[F]ederal health officials are finding themselves swamped as they fact-check a flood of paperwork from applicants seeking taxpayer subsidies.

The Department of Health and Human Services seems to be caught between critics on both sides as it confronts the task.

The department, which oversees the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, has gotten hit by audits showing it hasn’t done enough to crack down on fraudsters trying to scam the system. At the same time, some frustrated applicants say they have played by the rules — signed up on time and submitted the necessary paperwork — only to be caught up in bureaucratic red tape.

The scramble to verify eligibility comes on the heels of a Government Accountability Office report that raised fresh doubt about the ability of the health care program to prevent or intercept costly fraud schemes.

Government investigators posing as fake applicants were able to go online, purchase health plans using fake documents and set themselves up to receive undeserved federal subsidies.

Eleven of the 12 fictitious applicants were able to dupe the system using invalid Social Security numbers as well as inaccurate citizenship information, according to the report. The 11 were given the go-ahead to receive $30,000-a-year in health care credits and subsidies.

STOP! The government caught barely 8% of fraudulent applications? Over 90% of con men and grifters could score an easy 30k without breaking a sweat?

Was I going mad?

I passed out again, feverish:

Vermont, a bellwether for healthcare reform, has fired the main technology contractor behind its bungled health insurance website, dealing the latest blow to CGI Federal, the company that was axed over its disastrous jobs in making the federal healthcare exchange website and a similarly troubled site for Massachusetts.

With Vermont still lacking a fully functioning health website more than 10 months after its glitch-plagued debut last October, Vermont officials said late Monday that they were pulling the plug on CGI’s CGI Technologies and Solutions’ contract. CGI’s Fairfax, Virg.-based subsidiary had stood to make at least $83 million from its work for Vermont but will now make just $66.7 million, a figure that incorporates a $5.1 million penalty levied by the state for shoddy work.

Despite the tangles, Vermont is pushing ahead with plans to become the nation’s first system in which the state foots all health-care bills for all residents — what conservatives call “socialized medicine,” and others call “single-payer” or “universal financing.” Miller told Newsweek that “development of the Vermont universal coverage system is proceeding” and that the Shumlin administration would provide cost estimates and an operational plan to the state legislature in January 2015.

The grand plan will require more federal dollars, in the form of grants, and federal approval to effectively bypass the Affordable Care Act, the very law that Vermont Health Connect was built to comply with. Vermont, Miller told Newsweek, is working with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the federal agency overseeing the Affordable Care Act, “to submit requests for the waivers that will be needed.”

I am a changed man, a shell of myself. I went to bed thinking we had a health care system that worked for the vast majority of us. I woke up dizzy with the thought that we had passed some lurid gargoyle of a law that raised prices, cut subsidies, wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on botched websites, and was wide open to fraud.

Please tell me this isn’t so.

Please…?

Many of the eight million sign-ups in Obamacare exchanges nationwide already face more limited choices for physicians and hospitals than those in the private insurance market. But with low physician reimbursement rates, the problem could get even worse.

For a typical quick patient visit, Dr. Doug Gerard, a Connecticut internist, told NPR a private insurer would pay $100 while Medicare would pay around $80. But Obamacare plans are more likely to pay closer to $80, which Gerard says is unsustainable for his practice.

“I cannot accept a plan [in which] potentially commercial-type reimbursement rates were now going to be reimbursed at Medicare rates,” Dr. Gerard told NPR. ”You have to maintain a certain mix in private practice between the low reimbursers and the high reimbursers to be able to keep the lights on.”

[Whimper... shudder...sob...whimper...]

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ObamaCareless?

So, did the long-awaited, much-anticipated court ruling(s) on ObamaCare actually decide anything? Not yet.

But let’s dismiss the idea that the intent of Congress was plain:

Some argued that the text of the law clearly permitted subsidies to flow to those who purchased plans on the federal exchange—this was the argument offered by the government in court. Others argued that while the text didn’t technically permit those subsidies, that was clearly the intent of the the law, and any textual omission was surely due to a “drafting error.”

That’s right: a drafting error.

Let’s take a step back to see how plausible that explanation is. There are two types of exchanges: state-established, and federally established. The statutory authority for state-based exchanges comes in section 1311 of Obamacare. The statutory authority for a federal exchange in the event that a state chose not to establish one comes from section 1321(c) of Obamacare. Right off the bat, we have two discrete sections pertaining to two discrete types of health exchange. Was that a “drafting error”?

Then we have the specific construction of section 1321(c), which allows for the creation of a federal exchange. Nowhere does this section say that an exchange created under its authority will have the same treatment as a state-based exchange created under section 1311. At no point does it say that section 1321 plans are equivalent. Why, it’s almost as though the exchanges and the plans offered by them were not intended to receive the same treatment. Was that another “drafting error”?

Most important, we have the sections of the law providing for tax credits to help offset the cost of Obamacare’s health care plans: sections 1401, 1402, 1411, 1412, 1413, 1414, and 1415. And how do those sections establish authority to provide those tax credits? Why, they specifically state ten separate times that tax credits are available to offset the costs of state health exchange plans authorized by section 1311. And how many times are section 1321 federal exchange plans mentioned? Zero. Was that yet another “drafting error”?

The specific phrase “established by the State under section 1311? can be found twice in the tax credit title of Obamacare. The first instances relates to the size and the second to the scope of the tax credit subsidy. How many times is the phrase “established by the Federal government/Secretary under section 1321? found? Zero. Was that also a “drafting error”?

The deliberate creation of a separate section to authorize a separate federal entity is not a drafting error. The repeated and deliberate reference to one section but not another is not a drafting error. The refusal to grant equal authority to two programs authorized by two separate sections is not a drafting error. The decision to specifically reference section X but not section Y in a portion of a law that grants spending or tax authority is not a drafting error.

The clear text of the law repeatedly demonstrates that plans purchased via federal exchanges were never meant to be treated the same as plans purchased by state-based exchanges. Despite its assertions, the IRS was never granted the statutory authority to hand out tax credits related to plans purchased via a federal health exchange.

The law expressly and intentionally omits HealthCare.gov from handing out subsidies—yet the IRS decides that it can.

How?

Obamacare was signed into law in March of 2010. It wasn’t until August of 2011 that the IRS decided to make tax credit subsidies available to plans purchased on federal exchanges. That’s a span of 16 months—an awfully long time to recognize and address a “drafting error.” Furthermore, actual “drafting errors” have to be corrected by new laws, not by executive fiat. Even when they are plainly obvious to everyone who sees them, that 3015 that should’ve been 2015 still has to be amended via a new law: passed by both Houses, and signed by the president. Yet, that’s not what this administration did.

In its May 2012 announcement of its official new rule which suddenly allowed subsidies to flow to federal exchange plans, the IRS never claimed it was a drafting error. It claimed the opposite: that the text clearly endorsed the IRS interpretation.

So why did the IRS wait nearly 16 months to spring this new interpretation on the public? That’s also an easy one. As of August 17, 2011, when its rule was first proposed, only ten states had passed laws establishing their own exchanges. Seventeen had outright rejected the Obamacare exchanges. All told, 40 states had by that point failed to do the administration’s bidding and set up state-based Obamacare exchanges.

Without exchanges in every state, Obamacare would surely fail as a policy matter. And without massive subsidies to offset the costs of Obamacare’s health plans, Obamacare would fail as a political matter. The IRS maneuver was a last-ditch attempt to paper over the law’s serious structural flaws.

Big government at work. Give me a sausage.

PS: And then there’s this.

According to the findings of an investigation conducted by the Government Accountability Office which were presented to Congress on Wednesday, some of those taxpayer-funded subsidies are not merely legally problematic but are also subject to extensive fraud.

The GAO found that 11 of 12 applications for federal assistance while applying for insurance provided through the ACA using “fictitious identities” were accepted.

Who was the nimrod (fictitious nimrod) who didn’t get through? That guy wasn’t trying. Here’s a new slogan for EdselCare: 8.33% pure.

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Part Of ObamaCare Illegal

President vows to ignore ruling

In a potentially crippling blow to Obamacare, a federal appeals court panel declared Tuesday that government subsidies worth billions of dollars that helped 4.7 million people buy insurance on HealthCare.gov are illegal.
The 2-1 ruling said such subsidies can be granted only to people who bought insurance in an Obamacare exchange run by an individual state or the District of Columbia—not on the federally run exchange HealthCare.gov. The ruling relied on a close reading of the Affordable Care Act.

“Section 36B plainly makes subsidies available in the Exchanges established by states,” wrote Senior Circuit Judge Raymond Randolph in his majority opinion in the case known as Halbig v. Burwell, where he was joined by Judge Thomas Griffith.

“We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance. At least until states that wish to can set up their own Exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly.”

In his dissent, Judge Harry Edwards, who called the case a “not-so-veiled attempt to gut” Obamacare, wrote that the judgment of the majority “portends disastrous consequences.”

Indeed, the 72-page decision threatens to unleash a cascade of effects that could seriously compromise Obamacare’s goals of compelling people to get health insurance, and helping them afford it.

White House will ignore:

The Obama administration said it will ask the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reverse the panel’s decision, which for now does not have the rule of law.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the ruling—for now—”does not have any practical impact” on premium subsidies issued to HealthCare.gov enrollees now.”

“We are confident” that the ruling will be overturned, Earnest said. “We are confident in the legal position we have . . . the Department of Justice will litigate these claims through the federal court system.”

Earnest said “it was obvious” that Congress intended subsidies, or tax credits, to be issued to Obamacare enrollees regardless of what kind of exchange they used to buy insurance.

Our Tin-Pot-Dictator-In-Chief Has Spoken!

Also, Professor Larry Tribe of Harvard has this to say:

President Obama’s old Harvard Law professor, Laurence Tribe, said that he “wouldn’t bet the family farm” on Obamacare’s surviving the legal challenges to an IRS rule about who is eligible for subsidies that are currently working their way through the federal courts.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” Tribe told the Fiscal Times. “But I wouldn’t bet the family farm on this coming out in a way that preserves Obamacare.”

- Aggie

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Fingers Crossed

Ruling on ObamaCare insurance subsidies expected soon

A federal appeals court might be on the verge of blowing a massive hole in the foundation of Obamacare.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to rule any day now in a lawsuit that aims to block the law’s insurance subsidies in more than half the country. If the challengers ultimately prevail, the Affordable Care Act’s complex framework could begin to unravel as millions of people lose financial assistance.

For now, the stakes are a lot higher than the odds of success—challenges to the insurance subsidies have a 0-2 record in federal courts. But the pending D.C. Circuit ruling may be the one to break that streak, according to legal experts on both sides of the issue.

Go to the link for details, but the premise is that the federal exchanges are illegal. And, states representing roughly half the population have declined to set up exchanges.

A three-judge panel heard oral arguments in the case, Halbig v. Sebelius, in March. Two judges appeared to split along partisan lines, leaving Judge Thomas Griffith, a George W. Bush appointee, as the likely swing vote. Griffith seemed during oral arguments to at least be open to the challengers’ arguments, and perhaps leaning in their direction.

A ruling against the Obama administration wouldn’t immediately damage the Affordable Care Act, and it wouldn’t mean that the administration will ultimately lose. But it would give the challengers their first victory and ensure that the issue keeps moving through the courts.

I am not particularly hopeful, but Obama has been such a dreadful President that anything that makes his final days in office less pleasant is good by me. And to be clear, I am not calling him dreadful simply because the economy stinks, the health care law is a disaster, the Middle East has fallen apart, Russia is swallowing Ukraine, tens of thousands of illegals are rushing our southern border, etc. It’s not only that stuff. It’s the baseline disrespect that he has shown for those that disagree with him. America is comprised of something like 300 million people. If we cannot respect different perspectives, we cannot function. Furthermore, many of his critics knew what they were talking about.

- Aggie

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BREAKING: ObamaCare Hurts Economy, Workers

Who could have seen this coming?

[U]nlike Settles’s other experiments, this one hasn’t been great for his business. He put raises and expansion plans on hold as he figured out the cost and logistics of making the changes. To his surprise, his employees have not leaped at the chance to get health insurance. And he is still trying to figure some things out — for example, how to safeguard employee information that must now be reported to the Internal Revenue Service, such as the Social Security numbers of children who are covered under their parents’ health plans.

“We don’t want to be liable for that,” he said. “What if we get hacked?”

In recent weeks, criticism of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate — one of the law’s most controversial components — has intensified, as employers such as Settles complain publicly and even some Obama administration allies acknowledge that the mandate has harmed some workers.

A number of businesses, including Regal Entertainment and SeaWorld, have reduced hours for part-time workers to fewer than 30 a week — the law’s definition of full time — to avoid having to offer them health insurance. Other companies say they are holding back on hiring to avoid the insurance requirement. Seasonal employees and low-wage workers, such as adjunct professors and cafeteria staffers, have been hit especially hard.

You’ll pardon Aggie and me, I hope, for laughing at Democrat stalwarts, “low-wage workers”, as the “law of the land” targets their asses. It’s more than we could have hoped for.

Did I say “law of the land”? Hardly:

“We’ve never thought [the employer mandate] was particularly good policy, and while people have probably screamed too loudly about the effects on employment, there is some of it that’s certainly true, and it’s not worth the price we seem to be paying,” said John Holahan, a fellow at the Urban Institute and a co-author of the recent paper “Why Not Just Eliminate the Employer Mandate?”

Am I the only one troubled by the concept of an optional mandate? It’s like asking your calculator to divide by zero. And the media pretend to discover these collateral damages as if they weren’t there all along.

See you in November.

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You Wanna Know Why We’re Such Dolts in Massachusetts?

Course you don’t.

But I’m going to tell you anyway:

The strong public support for the Massachusetts health care law has not wavered, despite the well-publicized troubles of the state’s new health insurance website, a new poll has found.

Sixty-three percent of adults said they support the law, which is intended to ensure that almost everyone has health insurance — the same percentage as in a similar survey conducted in 2011.

Fine. Whatever.

But get this:

Fewer than half the people questioned in the latest survey knew anything about the difficulties with the state’s health insurance website after it was retooled to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act, starting last October. The site often was down, and when it worked, consumers could not determine their eligibility for government-subsidized coverage and experienced other problems, forcing some to go without coverage temporarily and use paper workarounds.

Of course we like the law—we know nothing about it! It works, we love it. It sucks, we love it. We just love it. It’s ours and we love it.

Except it’s not our law. We had a law, called RomneyCare (love it or loathe it), but ObamaCare came along and kicked sand in its face. And everyone knows what a morsel of excrement that was.

But so what?

Ann Hurd is among the supporters, despite her firsthand experience with the balky website when she applied for health insurance in December.

“You weren’t able to get through to anything,” said Hurd, a poll respondent who agreed to answer follow-up questions from a reporter. “You’re just stuck there. You try like a week or two later and they get you to the next step. Then you were stuck there.”

Eventually, Hurd was able to learn the premium prices, which approached $500 a month, more than she said she could afford from her pay as a baker. Hurd, 39, of North Attleborough, joined the shrinking group of Massachusetts residents who are uninsured.

But still, she approves of the law. “I support it,” she said. “I don’t support the price.”

A law that was shoved down our throats (or up another orifice) to cover everybody ends up not covering Baker-Americans—and they’re cool with that! Unbelievable!

Aggie and I were talking the other day about the group-think mentality of this place. They listen to NPR and take the New York Times (two of the more propagandistic organs to exist since Joseph Goebbels left the business) and fancy themselves informed. Aggie suggested we start conversations at social events with “I was listening to NPR today, and…”, but instead of actually citing the taxpayer-financed drivel, switch to what Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage said. See how long the mindlessly-nodding heads continue to nod. I would try another tack. “I heard on NPR today that if you drink your own urine, your butt will get smaller.” “I read in the New York Times that Angela Merkel has a mole the shape of a groundhog on her left breast.” “Frontline had a program about how alien DNA means we’re de-evolving into pus in the next million years.”

If we were only dangerous to ourselves, maybe we could be ignored. But we’re like the Taliban. No matter how far removed we are from you, we can make your lives miserable.

Comments

Things We Can Do!™

BTL, why haven’t we played this game before?

Can we rewrite the law through executive order (The Pen™) and invite tens of thousands of unaccompanied children into holding pens in Texas and Arizona?

YES WE CAN.

Can we stupidly withdraw from Iraq, and watch as lunatics line their highways with beheaded corpses of civilians?

YES WE CAN.

Can we plan the same for Afghanistan?

YES WE CAN

Can we take the greatest health care system in the world, and wreck it to the point that even a doctor can’t tell the difference between your ass and your elbow?

YES WE CAN

Can we leave tens of thousand of veterans on endless hospital waiting lists?

YES WE CAN

Can we strip American citizens of their right to free speech using the taxing authority of the IRS?

YES WE CAN

Oh yeah.. Can we double minority and youth unemployment?

YES WE CAN

CAN WE EXPECT ALL OF THIS to bite us in the ass in a very big way one of these day?

YES WE CAN.

Remember how vapid these people are?


Hey O-bots? That list above? It’s your list. Yes. You. Did.

I’m sure I’ve left stuff out. So join with me in a hearty Yes. We. Can. and send along your suggestions.

- Aggie

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