Yet this isn’t just a political fix. It’s also a major policy concession—and a potentially serious problem for the law’s operating scheme. Allowing healthy people to stay on their current low-cost health plans will mean that the pool of people who get insurance through Obamacare’s exchanges will be sicker and more expensive. This year’s premiums were set on the expectation that noncompliant plans would be cancelled, and that the cancellations, in combination with the mandate to purchase coverage, would create a market for plans sold in the exchanges. So Obama is creating a long-term policy problem in order to solve a short-term political problem. Even if this temporarily reduces some of today’s political pressure, those long-term policy problems will rebound to create additional political problems as time goes by. Premiums will rise, and if consumer demand turns out to be lower than expected as a result, plans may withdraw from the market. At the same time, insurers, who have been targeted by the administration for blame and had their assurances about the state of the law (and thus their business plan) upended, will be less likely to cooperate with the administration. They are already frustrated with the administration, and this will hasten the break between them. The opposition of insurers will add a new layer of opposition that the administration must contend with in order to make the law—which is built around the goal of making insurance coverage accessible—work.
What’s happening with Obamacare is an important lesson in political science. The President sold his program with a series of blatant lies, and cleverly designed the program so that the ramifications of the lies wouldn’t be evident to the public until after the 2012 election. This helped ensure his second term, but at a tremendous cost. By having to sustain and repeat lies for a period of several years, the impact of the reveal of his dishonesty is exponentially heightened. In other words, Obama risked his legacy for reelection. In 2008, you would have bet that Obama was unlikely to do this. But the guy who is in office now bears little resemblance to the man who ran in 2008.
What’s most amazing about this is that the people most hurt by Obama’s dishonesty are the young, healthy people who carried him to office in 2008. Usually, a politicians panders to his base; Obama is destroying his.
Every tinker that’s made to the law will ultimately undermine its objectives. If you let young people keep their current policies, they then aren’t subsidizing the policies of the older and sicker. The promise of deficit neutrality is out-the-window. Moreover, how will insurers cover preexisting conditions without these subsidies?—by raising rates, of course. So the cost-control objectives of the ACA are gone too. If the cost of insurance goes up even more, then it will make even more sense to incur the “tax” penalty of foregoing insurance, only to purchase it after you get sick. So this will drive up costs too.
If there’s a way out of this mess, I don’t see it. The ACA was carefully balanced, and in-artfully constructed. It is basically Jenga. And once you start pulling pieces out of it, the whole thing can fall down.
As a libertarian, my knee-jerk reaction to all of this is to say this is what happens when the best minds in government think they can reorder a market. But this mess is beyond the ordinary incompetence of government. This is spectacular incompetence. They should have been able to pull this off better. This was the man’s signature initiative. Moreover, it concerns—literally—the health of the nation. How could this happen? That will be the essay question on political science exams for years to come.
For Millennials, your bread is your signature," says trend-spotter Marian Salzman. "Millennials need to have something that says who they are — uniquely them. The more unique the better — hold the raisins.
From Millennials spur flood of fancy fast-food breads, at USA Today.
I may be 41, but I’m pretty sure that this is not true.
It is the breadth and scope of Lewisohn’s endeavour that are unparalleled, the knowledge that the young Lennon and McCartney take two buses to some guy’s house who is rumoured to know a B7 chord.
I love Mark Lewisohn, and all the work he’s done on the Beatles.
According to the new book “Double Down,” in which journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann chronicle the 2012 presidential election, President Barack Obama told his aides that he’s “really good at killing people” while discussing drone strikes. Peter Hamby of the Washington Post reported the moment in his review of the book.
If this doesn’t do it, what exactly does this man have to do to alienate his supporters?
When Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, sat down with President Obama at the White House in April to discuss Syrian chemical weapons, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and climate change, it was a cordial, routine exchange. The National Security Agency nonetheless went to work in advance and intercepted Mr. Ban’s talking points for the meeting, a feat the agency later reported as an “operational highlight” in a weekly internal brag sheet. It is hard to imagine what edge this could have given Mr. Obama in a friendly chat, if he even saw the N.S.A.’s modest scoop. (The White House won’t say.)
Putting aside all of the awfulness of the NSA, you have to admire their technical abilities. If all of that NSA brainpower had been trained on Healthcare.gov, Obama would be avoiding two headaches right now.
Now an effective levy of several thousand dollars on the small fraction of middle class Americans who buy on the individual market is not history’s great injustice. But neither does it seem like the soundest or most politically stable public policy arrangement. And to dig back into the position where I do strongly disagree with Cohn’s perspective, what makes this setup potentially more perverse is that it raises rates most sharply on precisely those Americans who up until now were doing roughly what we should want more health insurance purchasers to do: Economizing, comparison shopping, avoiding paying for coverage they don’t need, and buying a level of insurance that covers them in the event of a true disaster while giving them a reason not to overspend on everyday health expenses. If we want health inflation to stay low and health care costs to be less of an anchor on advancement, we should want more Americans making $50,000 or $60,000 or $70,000 to spend less upfront on health insurance, rather than using regulatory pressure to induce them to spend more. And seen in that light, the potential problem with Obamacare’s regulation-driven “rate shock” isn’t that it doesn’t let everyone keep their pre-existing plans. It’s that it cancels plans, and raises rates, for people who were doing their part to keep all of our costs low.
Ross Douthat, Obamacare’s Losers and Why They Matter - NYTimes.com
This is why I said that we were just rental cars and library books to Obama back in 2009.
Here’s some more stuff I said in 2009:
Obama isn’t just a guy with a good health plan; he’s a guy who will be worth tens of millions of dollars. So while the common man will likely be forced to sacrifice for sake of the currently uninsured, Obama himself isn’t going to sacrifice. He will still get the world’s best health care. It is easy for Obama to force others to make a sacrifice that he himself will not have to make. And because it’s so easy for him to do this, I (and others) believe that he won’t be terribly careful or considerate or respectful when this sacrifice is made. That’s why the anecdote matters.
I’ve been self-employed for several years, and before I got married, I had to go out and buy my own health insurance. Believe me, I know the current system is messed up … it’s messed up for all kinds of reasons that you and I wouldn’t agree about. But a lot of us think we are about to mess things up a whole more. I believe this will have real, and likely tragic, repercussions. There are good sacrifices and bad ones; I believe Obama is going to force us to make some really bad ones.
Obama is sending his kids to private school; he is also canceling the voucher program that lets poor families in D.C. send their kids to private schools. Killing the D.C. voucher program was not humane. Obama killed it because the politics of the issue was more important to him than the education of these kids. Of course, he would never put politics ahead of his own kids’ education, and that’s laudable. But Obama’s hierarchy of values seems to go something like this:
1. Himself and his family.
3. Other people.
Again, this doesn’t make him a bad person—it just makes him human. But if you are part of the group called “Other People,” it might be a mistake to cede control of important things like your healthcare or your livelihood to his control, because he might just sell out your interests for the sake of politics.
And, although this oldie-but-goodie isn’t healthcare specific, it’s worth revisiting while everyone seems to be reassessing their feelings about our President.