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Tag Archives: Obamacare

That Doesn’t Cover It

Have you gone online and enrolled for your Cover Oregon health plan yet? You know, the plan with the catchy commercials that cost $10 million [1]? You know, the plan with the website that we spent $160 million to develop[1]?  What’s that you say? No? You haven’t gone online to enroll? Oh well, don’t be too discouraged, because nobody else has either.

The fact of the matter is that even though Oregon received a $48 million “early innovator grant” for showing the country how to be a model Obamacare participant, our fine state has completely failed to deliver on its promise that we’d all be healthy, insured, and singing folk songs together by today. And this is in spite of receiving $305 million dollars in federal grants to get it done. Governor Kitzhaber must have misspoke when he assured us that we were “in really good shape” and that we’d “come through this very well,” even after consultants warned him ahead of time that the system was doomed [2].

This embarrassing failure, which has been described as “massive” [1] and “spectacular” [2], did not prevent the good folks at Cover Oregon from enrolling 4,000 illegal immigrants with full coverage after hiring several hundred people to process paper applications [1]. This could be due to the fact that the Cover Oregon employees were told to push through enrollments even if they lacked a social security number [1]. But even with all the illegal immigrants and shady practices to help, they’ve only enrolled about 64,000 people in health plans. Considering how much they’ve spent, that’s a cost of over $4,700 per person just to enroll them.

So what’s next for the state of health care in the State of Oregon? It looks like we’re going to return to the loving fold of the federal insurance marketplace. Won’t that be nice?

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Corruption, Government

 

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire – Part 2

Does anyone remember when back in August of 2012, the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, deliberately misquoted the LA Times to support a lie about Republicans in a fund-raising letter? When called out about her dishonesty by Anderson Cooper, her response to him was to declare “it doesn’t matter. [1]

Fast forward to the present day, and she’s back to her old tricks. By now, everyone must be familiar with Obama’s spectacularly failed promise that everyone who wanted to keep their existing health plan would be able to do so. So what’s an administration with such a problem to do? Call the liar-in-chief, of course.

And call her they did. Out trotted Ms. Wasserman Shultz on MSNBC, like the dutiful trained pony that she is, where she claimed, “There was nothing about what President Obama or that I or any other Democrat supporting the Affordable Care Act said that was not true. [2]” Really, Ms. Wasserman Shultz? Really?

Perhaps her goal with such a statement was to shock her opponents into a stunned silence with sheer brazen dishonesty. I’m at a loss as to what else could have prompted such an announcement, because she surely knows that the President’s own rule-writers estimated that huge percentages of people would lose their grandfathered plans at the time he made his famous “You Can Keep It” speech [3].

She also stated that only 3% of Americans would lose their existing health plans, when the real experts think that the number will be closer to 68% by the end of 2014 [4]. But not to worry, because according to her, “At the end of the day, most of those people who are having their plans transitioned will have better benefits for lower costs [2].” I guess what was implied was, “Don’t worry about all those families whose premiums and deductibles have gone up as their coverage has gone down [5].”

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Corruption, Entitlement, Politicking

 

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It’s a Metaphor

The high hopes of all the poor uninsured masses were recently dashed when the shiny new Obamacare website turned out to be a complete failure. This marvel of technology didn’t come cheap, costing anywhere from 180 million to over 1 billion [1,2], depending on who you ask, and yet after spending all that money on it, it still doesn’t fulfill its purpose.

The website has turned into one big sad metaphor for the entire Affordable Care Act. To begin with, the ACA can’t possibly hope to support the insurance needs of the population as written, and neither can the website. Neither the technology nor our existing health care network can handle what it’s being asked to handle, and no pep talk from the president is going to change that. Don’t forget, the same President that assured us that the website will get fixed is the one that assured the country that nobody would lose their insurance plans, and look how that turned out [3].

Also, the cost of the website is just like the cost of the act for which it was created: grossly inflated, wasteful, and embarrassing. The government doesn’t have a very encouraging track record when it comes to efficiency in its business practices, and it doesn’t look like this is going to be any different. The health care exchanges, which rely on enrolling large numbers of participants, have astonishingly low rates of participation. In North Dakota, the rate of enrollment has been just one person per day since the federal exchange went live on the first of October. It’s not surprising that the feds asked that this information not be made public [4].

The whole Obamacare website debacle can really be summed up on one question; If the government can’t be trusted to run a website, how can we trust it to oversee healthcare for the entire population?

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Social Programs

 

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The Parable of the Mid-Life Crisis

Our government has become like a household in which the children are governed by the dictates of parents who have become increasingly hostile to one another. The children who agree with the rules of one parent are verbally abused by the other, and the household is in dire financial straits, with both parties refusing to cut any of their expenditures.

One day, the father gets his heart set on a new Ferrari (because all the other dads have one) and goes out and buys one without the approval of the mother. Predictably, she’s upset and demands that he take it back because they can’t afford it. They can’t agree on the subject and shut down the household, and to show how serious they are, they refuse to let the children enter their own rooms because the heat may have been turned off.

This dysfunctional home is our country. The parties who should be running our country have chosen petty bickering over doing their job. And because one party decided to shove a bloated and ineffective health care bill on people who never wanted it, the other has decided to stop paying for anything until it’s taken back to the dealership.

Government shutdowns are not anything new; this is the eighteenth since 1976. But the level of petty partisanship is unprecedented. Neither side is providing any information on what’s happening, and negotiations with the President didn’t even start until we were 10 days into the shutdown. Perhaps the administration was too busy giving Charlie Sheen-esque quotes about winning, kicking people out of their homes, and barricading open-air war memorials.

In a dysfunctional home, it’s the children who suffer from the poor behavior of the parents, and in our country, it is the citizens who are suffering from the childishness of our politicians. It’s time for the kids to tell mom and dad to grow up.

 

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Try It, You’ll Like It

In the movie Dave, the President falls into a coma and a presidential impersonator named Dave is chosen to take his place. While there, Dave starts to take a look at the way things are being run, and while looking at the budget, he finds that the government is spending thousands of dollars on a campaign to make people feel better about the cars they’ve already purchased. The senators responsible for this campaign look sheepish when confronted with their wastefulness, and the program is discontinued.

Now, this bit in the movie is a joke, a little dig at the many ways politicians find to waste our money. Life imitates art, but instead of buying billboards telling people how great their own cars are, they are hiring people to go out and educate American citizens about the wonders of their government programs.

We have those who are hired to find and enroll new food stamps recipients. The federal government is offering $54 million in grants to “navigate” people through the so-called health insurance exchanges, and school districts are holding pep rallies for parents to get them fired up about common core.

The American people have purchased, through our votes for our legislators, these social program lemons, and just like in the movie, the government is increasing our deficit to try to make us feel better about our decision. If it were true that our country desperately needed these programs, then why should it be necessary to hire people to encourage people to use them? It’s like claiming someone is starving, and then having to spoon feed them because it turns out they weren’t that hungry after all.

I know there are people who legitimately need assistance, but perhaps the reason that people aren’t flocking to Obamacare or food stamps as expected is because their numbers were drastically inflated to begin with.

 
 

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Affordable Health Care, My Sweet Aunt Fanny!

There are plenty of laws with misleading names, but the official name of Obamacare, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, should win a prize for the law with the most inaccurate title. The name suggests that its purpose might be to protect patient’s privacy or treatment options and to do things to reduce the price of health care, such as initiate malpractice reform or create low-cost options for patients. However, it doesn’t do anything like that.

What Obamacare actually does is force debilitating regulations on private insurance companies and tax people for their personal insurance choices. Even though the name of the act includes the phrase “affordable care,” all it really does to aid Americans to get affordable care is to compel the uninsured to purchase health insurance.

Also, the writers of Obamacare have a questionable definition of “affordable,” even taking into account the huge subsidies on premiums. It’s unlikely that a family that can’t afford to pay for insurance now will be able to afford to pay 5-10% of their income [1] for insurance when the law goes into effect, or that they will be able to afford the $2,085 tax [2] when they don’t have the funds for insurance. Furthermore, health insurance is not health care, so don’t forget about co-pays in addition to premiums [3].

You may be wondering where the money for all the insurance subsidies is going to come from. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cost of Obamacare over the next decade will come to a whopping 1.25 trillion dollars [4]. If they had been honest about naming Obamacare, it would have been The Drive Insurance Companies Out of Business and Do Nothing to Make Health Care Affordable While Increasing the National Debt Act, but I suppose that title was too long for them.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in National Finances, Social Programs

 

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Get Out the Vote

Historically speaking, only a small fraction of people have ever been able to enjoy the right to vote, and to people who don’t yet have voting privileges, the right to vote has great value. But perhaps because we have lived with the privilege for so many generations, many Americans have lost sight of how precious it is. In the 2008 election, only 131 million out of 206 million eligible voters voted in the presidential election, and about 60 million people hadn’t even registered [1].

Many non-voters claim that they didn’t vote because they are simply too busy, [2] but this is a silly excuse. Anyone can register at registertovote.org in under five minutes, and internet access is available at public libraries if it’s not available at home. Also, voting in Oregon is all done by mail. If you feel that you are too busy to sit down and complete the ballot all at once, make one decision at a time whenever you have a few minutes, and then mail it in when you’re done.

Another reason that people say they don’t vote is because they feel their vote won’t matter [2]. This election year, that is simply not true. Our candidates have extremely different visions of where they want to take the country, and I think all political parties could agree that there are serious problems facing the nation right now. With the start of the Obamacare tax-cum-penalty just around the corner, the choice of the next president will have a significant and direct financial impact on every citizen.

We have three months to help as many people as we can get ready to vote. At wallbuilders.com/vote, you can check to see if you’re registered, as well as pledge to help others register to vote. This is our opportunity to change the course of history, and every vote will matter.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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