Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Last Call

The misleading, untruthful and generally stupid Obamacare DOOOOOOM articles are becoming a weekly occurrence now at FOX News the Wall Street Journal.

Start with people who have individual and small-group health insurance. These policies are most affected by ObamaCare's community-rating regulations, which require insurers to accept everyone but limit or ban them from varying premiums based on age or health. The law also mandates "essential" benefits that are far more generous than those currently offered.

According to consultants from Oliver Wyman (who wrote on the issue in the January issue of Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries), around six million of the 19 million people with individual health policies are going to have to pay more—and this even after accounting for the government subsidies offered under the law. For example, single adults age 21-29 earning 300% to 400% of the federal poverty level will be hit with an increase of 46% even after premium assistance from tax credits.

"Insurance industry study finds that Obamacare will hurt insurance industry" is getting old, but now the nonsense is getting outright crazy.   By the way, if you're 21 and earning 300-400% of the federal poverty level, that's roughly $38-45k a year. That 46% premium increase means your insurance would go from about $60 a month to what, $85?  Somehow, if you're single and pulling down $45,000 at 21, you can afford it.  But we press on...

In total, it appears that there will be 30 million to 40 million people damaged in some fashion by the Affordable Care Act—more than one in 10 Americans. When that reality becomes clearer, the law is going to start losing its friends in the media, who are inclined to support the president and his initiatives. We'll hear about innocent victims who saw their premiums skyrocket, who were barred from seeing their usual doctor, who had their hours cut or lost their insurance entirely—all thanks to the faceless bureaucracy administering a federal law.

The allure of the David-versus-Goliath narrative is likely to prove irresistible to the media, raising the pressure on Washington to repeal or dramatically modify the law. With the implementation of ObamaCare beginning to take full force at the end of the year, there will be plenty of time before the 2014 midterm elections for Congress to consider its options.

Obamacare's not going anywhere.   When it starts working, people will accept it and move on.  Besides, Republicans have nothing to replace it with.

More Nullification Nonsense

South Carolina is once again trying to do everything it can to sink a federal law it refuses to enforce.  150 years ago we had a few problems along those lines, but it seems the SC GOP hasn't learned anything from the lesson as it seeks to make sure Obamacare can never work in the Palmetto State.

Nearly two centuries ago, South Carolina Sen. John C. Calhoun nearly sparked a civil war when he led an unconstitutional effort to nullify a federal law his state government disagreed with. One hundred and eighty years later, South Carolina lawmakers want to do it again. Last night, the South Carolina House passed an attempt to “interpose and refuse to enforce” much of the Affordable Care Act. 
The bill includes a number of attempts to undermine health reform, some of which are unconstitutional, others of which are merely unwise. The most insidious provision of the bill, however, is this: 
A South Carolina resident taxpayer who is subjected to a tax by the Internal Revenue Code under 26 U.S.C. Section 5000A of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act shall receive a tax deduction in the exact amount of the taxes or penalty paid the federal government pursuant to 26 U.S.C. Section 5000A. The tax deduction allowed by this section must be used in the year the federal tax or penalty is paid.

You know, the individual mandate.  The one that penalizes those folks who don't buy health care in order to fund state health care exchanges.  The feds collect the mandate, and the state of SC would refund it back immediately under this law.

You're beginning to see where the problem is, yes?  It's patently unconstitutional (at least until the Roberts Court decides 5-4 that maybe it's cool to deliberately make laws to undermine black presidents and stuff) but there's tons of damage that could happen in the years it would take to settle this fight.

Meanwhile, SC's state budgets would increasingly go into the red, meaning more cuts in schools, safety, public services, etc in a state that already has one of the lowest per capita spending on students in the nation.  It's a recipe for disaster, and SC Republicans are deliberately sabotaging the law in order to make the system collapse, then say "Obamacare can't work, see!"

You can bet more states will follow.  Health care for the neediest among us?  Let's sabotage it!

The Republican way, indeed.

Your Right To Be Wrong As Hell

King Reasonoid Matt Welch reminds us that ESPN's Chris Broussard apparently has every right to be a homophobic fundamentalist bigot about NBA player Jason Collins coming out because AMERICA.

Broussard is predictably getting beaten to a rhetoric pulp on Twitter. And while I think today is a wonderful, watershed day for people (especially the artist formerly known as Ron Artest) to live as open and free as they wanna be, I agree with the New York Post editorial Robert George here:
Chris Broussard spoke what more than a few players feel. If such comments aren't expressed, a real conversation can't be had.

I'm trying to come up with what "real conversation" Broussard is adding when he says Collins is a sinner who is "walking in open rebellion to Jesus Christ."  But here's where Welch goes with this as he brings in the civil rights movement in sports and the racism Jackie Robinson faced:

Now, there is no doubt that Jackie Robinson vehemently disagreed with this go-slow sentiment, but he also understood that you can't always persuade fence-sitters through a two-handed chest-shove.* And sometimes engaging with the I'm not ready to go that far just yet crowd brings out the best in activists. See, for example, Martin Luther King's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail."

Bigotry brings conflict which brings "real conversations" which brings out the best in people, not the worst, so apparently we need bigotry, racism, and outright ignorance in America because FREEDOMS AND THE LIBERTY.

On the other hand, Welch basically saying that the struggle of racism was necessary in order to forge a leader as brilliant as Dr. King is just about the best example of false equivalence Glibertarian nonsense that I've ever seen, so there's that.  Dave Zirin's take on Jason Collins is worth reading just as a reminder that Welch is full of crap, as usual, and the real change comes from those standing up to idiots like him who give bigotry acceptable cover in the first place because "conflict creates change".  That's great if you're a megalomaniac with a space fortress and an army of flying cyborg raptor ninjas, not so great if you want to live in a world where people are decent towards each other because people are decent.


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