Friday, November 1, 2013

Last Call For Avik Roy's Nadir

I've written numerous articles about Forbes's point man on anti-Obamacare propaganda, Avik Roy, and his ridiculous "estimates" about Obamacare.  But the man hits a new low with his insane claim that the Affordable Care Act will cost 93,000,000 Americans their health insurance.

Section 1251 of the Affordable Care Act contains what’s called a “grandfather” provision that, in theory, allows people to keep their existing plans if they like them. But subsequent regulations from the Obama administration interpreted that provision so narrowly as to prevent most plans from gaining this protection.

“The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013,” wrote the administration on page 34,552 of the Register. All in all, more than half of employer-sponsored plans will lose their “grandfather status” and get canceled. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 156 million Americans—more than half the population—was covered by employer-sponsored insurance in 2013.

Another 25 million people, according to the CBO, have “nongroup and other” forms of insurance; that is to say, they participate in the market for individually-purchased insurance. In this market, the administration projected that “40 to 67 percent” of individually-purchased plans would lose their Obamacare-sanctioned “grandfather status” and get canceled, solely due to the fact that there is a high turnover of participants and insurance arrangements in this market. (Plans purchased after March 23, 2010 do not benefit from the “grandfather” clause.) The real turnover rate would be higher, because plans can lose their grandfather status for a number of other reasons.

How many people are exposed to these problems? 60 percent of Americans have private-sector health insurance—precisely the number that Jay Carney dismissed. As to the number of people facing cancellations, 51 percent of the employer-based market plus 53.5 percent of the non-group market (the middle of the administration’s range) amounts to 93 million Americans.

Except Roy is, as usual, completely full of crap.  What the administration was saying is that the estimates were simple:  the plans don't meet coverage standards, so they are getting replaced and won't be grandfathered.  Roy counts that as "canceled".  He then declares the notion that the replacement plans are better as a lie.

But that’s not true. Obamacare forces insurers to offer services that most Americans don’t need, don’t want, and won’t use, for a higher price. Bob Laszewski, in a revealing blog post, wrote about the cancellation of his own health coverage. “Right now,” he wrote, “I have ‘Cadillac’ health insurance. I can access every provider in the national Blue Cross network—about every doc and hospital in America—without a referral and without higher deductibles and co-pays.”

But his plan is being canceled. His new, Obamacare-compatible plan has a $500 higher deductible, and a narrower physician and hospital network that restricts out-of-town providers. And yet it costs 66 percent more than his current plan. “Mr. President,” he writes, “I really like my health plan and I would like to keep it. Can you help me out here?”

So Roy finds one guy and it's proof Obamacare doesn't work and that 93 million people will "lose their health coverage".  The lies never stop with this clown.  The reality:

Media preview

Three percent of American adults is not 93 million, Avik.  Stop lying.  Thanks.

Deficit Reduction Ad Absurdum

Just a reminder that no, the deficit is not "exploding under Obama".

The federal budget deficit for fiscal 2013 was $680 billion, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday.

This is the first time that the deficit has fallen below $1 trillion during President Obama's time in the White House.

The monthly Treasury statement for September had been delayed by a government shutdown at the beginning of October. Fiscal 2013 ended on Sept. 30.

The deficit has dropped $409 billion from 2012, when it was $1.089 trillion.

Most of the change comes from higher tax receipts. Receipts rose to $2.77 trillion in 2013, up from $2.45 trillion in 2012. Spending was $3.45 trillion, down from $3.53 trillion in 2012.

White House Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell hailed the deficit total, noting that the deficit is now less than half what it was in 2009, when it stood at $1.4 trillion in the wake of the recession.

So, yes, higher revenues and budget cuts have reduced the deficit.  Republicans of course want hundreds in billions in more cuts.  But higher revenues have kicked in, and the deficit has been cut in half.

You can, and should, make the argument that budget cuts continue to stifle growth.  We've been stuck in a weak recovery for years now recisely because we've cut so much spending at Republican insistence.

We've done what the GOP has demanded, cut, cut, cut the federal budget.  So where are the jobs and the economic growth they promised?

As yourself that as they demand more cuts.

Creative Destruction In Syria

The good news:  Syria's Asaad regime continues to hit deadlines for destroying their chemical weapons stockpile.

Syria has destroyed all its declared chemical weapons mixing, filling and production facilities, and all of the chemical weapons at inspected sites have been placed under seal, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Thursday.

The watchdog body's announcement of the facilities' destruction means that the first deadline has been met in an ambitious program to eliminate the country's entire chemical weapons stockpile by the middle of next year.

The joint United Nations-OPCW mission visited 21 out of 23 sites, the OPCW statement said, and 39 of the 41 facilities at those sites.

The remaining two sites were too dangerous for the inspectors to go to, it said, but Syria had declared those sites as abandoned. The chemical weapons equipment there was moved to other sites, which were inspected.

The OPCW said it was "now satisfied that it has verified -- and seen destroyed -- all of Syria's declared critical production and mixing/filling equipment."

The bad news is the same regime is now blockading and starving out rebel-controlled areas of the country.

The Syrian government has been blocking food and medicine from entering and people from leaving besieged areas, in what one security official calls "starvation until submission campaign", according to a Reuters report.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have used partial sieges to root out rebel forces from residential areas during the civil war. But a recent tightening of blockades around areas near the capital Damascus is causing starvation and death, residents and medical staff told the news agency.
Food and medicine, which could be used by the warring parties, are rarely allowed to enter besieged areas and the movement of civilians in and out is restricted, Reuters said on Wednesday.

The UN says that more than one million Syrians remain trapped in areas where aid deliveries have stalled.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report last month that half of those people are in rural Damascus and about 310,000 people more trapped in Homs, a province in central Syria.

So yes, the Assad regime is still pretty scumtastic.


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