Comments on the disastrous health care roll out.
Delaying from Behind by James Taranto at the WSJ
Our younger readers–those who were born yesterday–may not remember when delaying ObamaCare was considered a wild idea, its exponents limited to crazy right-wing terrorists. Times have certainly changed since–oh, the beginning of this week.
But it’s also easy to lose sight of reality when focused on political adversity. A quote in today’s New York Times illustrates that point beautifully. It seems that in the days immediately before HealthCare.gov’s disastrous launch, “top White House officials were excitedly briefing lawmakers, reporters, Capitol Hill staff members and Washington pundits” about the “shiny new Web site that was elegantly designed, simple to use and ready.”
Ted Cruz is looking less like an anarchist, a terrorist, a racist, or whatever other name was thrown at him and more like a freshman senator with a better grip on reality than the president.
They keep throwing around the mere $95 penalty. Also from the same Taranto piece- how misleading (a downright lie) that is.
The individual mandate tax can indeed be a “fairly hefty penalty.” It isn’t just $95, as that Politico piece asserted, but $95 or 1% of income, whichever is higher. (Both the minimum and the rate are set to rise, reaching $695 or 2.5% in 2016.) McArdle concludes: “If we’re going to delay, then we need to delay the whole thing–guaranteed issue, community rating and so forth. Otherwise, we’re just asking for, well, a quagmire.” Hey, Megan, your lips to Obama’s ears.
Section 1501(g)(2) of the Affordable Care Act specifies that the IRS cannot subject taxpayers to “any criminal prosecution or penalty” for refusing to pay the mandate fine. Also, in contrast to normal tax levies, the IRS cannot “file notice of lien with respect to any property of a taxpayer by reason of any failure to pay the penalty imposed by this section.”
Basically, the only thing the IRS can do to make you pay the mandate fine is to take it out of your withholding, or withhold it from your tax refund, if you’re due one. So if you don’t participate in the withholding process, the IRS has no way to collect the mandate fine.
From The Weekly Standard, Killing Obamacare by Jay Cost.
Rather than provide the uninsurable with separate access to health care—such as veterans enjoy, for instance—Obamacare seeks to fit this square peg into a round hole. People who cannot logically be incorporated into the economics of insurance are nevertheless forced into it. In requiring this, Obamacare behaves in effect much like the AAA or the NIRA. To make these people eligible for insurance, the federal government must manage the intimate details of the health insurance industry, and by extension all of American health care. Dollar for dollar, this has meant a heavier hand than ever envisioned by the New Dealers in the early 1930s.
The real danger of Obamacare is that it combines the micromanagement of the AAA and the NIRA with the rights-based approach of Social Security and Medicare. The former doesn’t work in practice, while the latter is politically unassailable. Thus, Obamacare may turn out to be a policy that does enormous harm to the country but that simply cannot be eliminated.
from Ezra Klein at the Washington Post, Sorry liberals, Obamacare’s problems go much deeper than the Web site,
A failure in the press coverage of the health-care exchange’s rocky launch has been in allowing people to believe that the problem is a glitchy Web site. This is a failure of language: “The Web site” has become a confusing stand-in phrase for any problem relating to the law’s underlying infrastructure. No one has a very good word to describe everything that infrastructure encompasses
Mark Steyn at National Review, Obamacare’s Magical Thinkers
Appearing before Congress on Thursday, the magicians of Obamacare eventually conceded that, on their supposedly HIPAA-compliant database, deep in the “information architectural process” is a teensy-weensy little bit of “source code” that reads, “You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication of any data transmitted or stored on this information system.”
Democrat members of the House committee professed to be bewildered at why anyone would be either surprised or upset to discover that his information can be shared with anyone in the federal government, including a corrupt and diseased IRS that uses what confidential information it can acquire to torment perceived ideological enemies. And at a certain level the more blasé of the people’s representatives such as New Jersey’s Frank Pallone have a point: If Obama thinks nothing of tapping Angela Merkel’s cell phone (as she had cause to complain to him on Wednesday, in what was said to be a “cool” conversation, and not in the hepcat sense), why would he extend any greater privacy rights to your Auntie Mabel?
How many hours and how much money have those of us in the private sector, under the threat of very severe penalties, expended to comply with sacrosanct HIPAA laws? a short time ago medical privacy was a critical right. A true liberal should be outraged.
Further from Steyn’s article,
Was the government of the United States aware that CGI (the no -bid Canadian contractor hired to design the site) had been fired by the government of Canada and the government of Ontario (and the government of New Brunswick)? Nobody’s saying. But I doubt it would make much difference. Asked by Mother Jones to explain why Obama the candidate uses the Internet so effectively but Obama the government is a bust, his 2008 tech maestro Clay Johnson put it this way: “The first person that you need in order to start a Web company would be a Web developer; the first person you need to start a government-contracting firm is an attorney.” The problem with Obamacare isn’t the website design, it’s the nature of government procurement in an unaccountable bureaucracy serving 300 million people.
A senior VP of the contractor was a classmate of Michelle Obama at Princeton. Coincidence – maybe- but how diligent would the press pursue this connection if the GOP was in charge.
Josh Archambault in Forbes writes More Americans In 3 States Have Had Their Insurance Canceled Under ObamaCare Than Have Filed An Exchange Account In All 50
This week the reality of the ObamaCare roll-out appeared in a set of news stories that serve as an ironic juxtaposition. Over 500,000 individuals have seen their insurance policies cancelled in just 3 states. In all 50 states, only 476,000 applications have been “filed” in an exchange. (Even though we are still learning the true definition of “filed.”)
1. The affordable Care ACT is fundamentally flawed. The problem is far more than a flawed web design.
2. The law is based on bad facts, bad analysis, bad economics and bad policy. It is written thoughtlessly and carelessly.
3. The Democrats own this issue. This horrible law did not receive a single Republican vote. The GOP’s failure to capitalize on this could be the greatest act of political malpractice ever. Yet this does not stop Sebelius from finding a way to blame the GOP
4. Obama’s incredible competence at campaigning has not translated into even basic competence in legislation or governing. Experience does count.
5. The sacrifice of privacy, no bid contracting (I guess this is OK as long as Dick Cheney and Halliburton are not involved), the terrible track record of the contractor in Canada, granting privileges to corporations that are denied to individuals, unconstitutional changes in the law from the executive branch, are all exhibits that should outrage any true liberal.
(I highly recommenced reading the entire articles that are hyperlinked above. My excerpts really do not do them justice.)