Thursday, January 16, 2014

Last Call For Volunteering Out Of Obamacare

Tennessee is sure gonna fix that Obama boy's wagon, I'll tell ya.  Republicans are gonna make Obamacare illegal in the state, then what are you gonna do about THAT, Obama?  Actually, nobody seems to know what the next step is, because apparently the law would actually make it illegal for state-run hospitals or UT system hospitals to accept or even treat Obamacare patients.

Health insurance exchanges established under President Barack Obama's signature law would be illegal under legislation proposed Wednesday by Republicans aiming to prevent state agencies from carrying out the mandates of the health overhaul. 
Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet and Rep. Mark Pody of Lebanon held a news conference to announce the measure that seeks to prohibit any cooperation by the state or its agencies in implementing or administering the federal law. 
"The federal government does not have constitutional authority to commandeer state and local governments to enforce or implement these federal health care mandates," Beavers said. "This legislation takes a very strong stand to resist this federal overreach of power." 

Except for the part where both the legislative branch and judicial branch gave the executive branch this power.

The legislation would ban new health insurance exchanges established under the law. So far, more than 36,000 Tennesseans have signed up for coverage under the exchanges. More than 2 million people had enrolled through the end of the year, according to the most recent nationwide statistics.
Sponsors say they haven't talked to the governor's administration about the proposal or officials with TennCare, the state's Medicaid program that provides health care for 1.2 million Tennesseans. 
"I'm sure they'll come to see us," Beavers said.

And what of the thousands of people who have insurance from the exchange?  Well, that's somebody else's problem, apparently.  Sure hope they don't get sick.  It'll be illegal to use their insurance because, you know, black President.

Obamacare Isn't Going Anywhere

Josh Marshall makes the case that the battle over Obamacare is done, and the GOP lost.

It's simply too late to undo what happened in March 2010.

To be clear, the program is still trying to make up ground lost in the first blundering two months of the roll out. And the near-term politics for Democrats may still be bad. But all the efforts at sabotage - trying to convince young people not to sign up, trying to scare people that they'd have their identities stolen, trying to prevent so-called 'navigators' from helping people enroll, refusing to set up state-based exchanges, opting out of Medicaid expansion and generally trying to scare the crap out of people with death panels and everything else so they wouldn't sign up. All had one aim: undermine enrollment to force what health care economists call a risk pool death spiral. 
That's when you've got too high a percentage of the old and sick to spread the cost of payouts. Without more young and healthy people, there's no way to effectively spread the risk. Then you have to raise premiums. So the logic of holding coverage is undermined for all but the really,really sick. And pretty soon the whole thing just blows up. 
That was the aim. But it didn't work. Relatively little noticed this week, we got the first look at the demographic breakdown of the first round of sign ups (those through Dec. 28th, 2013). They weren't great. 24% of enrollees were 18 to 34. The administration was and is aiming to have 40% of enrollees in that category. 
But that's not the end of the story. A key Kaiser Foundation study recently found that the key threshold for Obamacare success was 25% of enrollees in that age group. At that number you could have 1% to 2% premium rises. Not great, but not enough to fundamentally break the program and not enough to cause the dreaded 'death spiral.'

Republicans are confident that 2014 will bring a GOP Congress, and 2016 will bring a GOP President, assuring an Obamacare repeal.  I hate to break it to them that by 2016, it's going to be far, far too late.

But let them run on obstruction.

Meanwhile, In West Virginia...

Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink in Charleston.

Area emergency rooms are seeing an influx of patients reporting symptoms related to exposure to chemical-tainted water, despite the fact that West Virginia American Water has deemed water in many areas safe to use. 
Rahul Gupta, health officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said 101 patients visited area emergency rooms in the 36-hour span ending at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, reporting symptoms related to exposure to tainted water. He said 46 of those allegedly water-related emergency room visits occurred between 7 p.m. Tuesday night and 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. 
"What we are seeing when we talk to our partners in hospital systems are people with skin and eye irritation, rashes, nausea, upset stomach and diarrhea," Gupta said. 
All of those symptoms have been connected with exposure to crude MCHM, the chemical that leaked from a Freedom Industries storage tank Thursday into the Elk River, and then into West Virginia American Water's Charleston treatment plant a mile and a half downstream. 
Gupta said many of those patients reported using water that was deemed safe to use by West Virginia American Water. As of Wednesday afternoon, the "do not use" order has been lifted for 51,600 of the 100,000 customers affected by the chemical spill.

So a week later, the water's not safe, it's still making people sick, and who knows when it will actually be safe again.  Try thinking about going a week without water.  Would you be able to buy, purify, or get enough fresh water for a week for a family?  Would you even be able to purify it with this awful chemical in it?

But let's loosen regulations, right?  That's surely the answer.


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