Los Angeles Times decides what’s true and what’s false when it comes to climate change and Obamacare

For at least a couple of hundred years in America, the “letters to the editor” section of any newspaper has been the one place where people can express views opposing a newspaper’s editorial content.  Newspapers felt sufficiently strong in their viewpoints that they figured that a few crackpot letters wouldn’t be enough to damage the paper’s reputation.  Now, though, the Los Angeles Times has announced that conflicting views are a bridge too far:

Regular readers of The Times’ Opinion pages will know that, among the few letters published over the last week that have blamed the Democrats for the government shutdown (a preponderance faulted House Republicans), none made the argument about Congress exempting itself from Obamacare.

Why? Simply put, this objection to the president’s healthcare law is based on a falsehood, and letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there’s no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed.

So the Los Angeles Times has taken it upon itself to pronounce anthropogenic global warming as settled science, despite the fact that even the IPCC is trying to squirm around the fact that all of its earlier data and hypotheses were wrong.  That tells you  pretty much everything you need to know about the drive-by media, which works in an ideologically closed system that makes no allowance for new, and especially conflicting, evidence.

And then there’s that other thing:  the Los Angeles Times also says that it’s false that Congress exempted itself from Obamacare.  That too is a giant leap of fact and faith for the Los Angeles Times.  While it’s true that Congress didn’t exempt itself from Obamacare, it made sure to insulate itself from Obamacare, which is just as bad.  In that regard, I think that Noel Sheppard, of Newsbusters, gives up a bit too quickly on the Obamacare point:

Of course, readers are likely just as concerned that the Times is also not publishing letters claiming Congress is exempt from ObamaCare.

After reviewing fact checks on this issue published by CNN, the Washington Post, and Yahoo, it appears the Times has a point here.

I respect Sheppard for being honest enough to concede on the facts but the facts actually support conservative complaints.  The CNN link is a good start explaining why Congress has effectively exempted itself:  CNN purports to do a fact-check on the claim that Congress gave itself a pass:

When Obamacare was passed into law, Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican, attached language to the bill that mandated members of Congress and their staffers would have to buy health insurance on the newly created health insurance exchanges. What nobody accounted for at the time was that members of Congress and their staffers currently have health insurance through their employer – the federal government. No other employer has been legally required to drop its employee’s health care plan and have them buy coverage on the exchanges.

Like most other large employers, the federal government contributes a portion to the premiums of its employees. In fact, like many employers, the federal government pays most of the premiums for its workers; an average of 72 percent on Capitol Hill. The law didn’t account for the continued employer contribution for these federal workers who would now be buying their insurance on the exchanges. The exchanges were designed to help people without health insurance and people with overly expensive health insurance. It became clear that without their employer contribution, members and their staffers would essentially be getting a cut in pay and benefits equal to thousands of dollars. Even Grassley, the provision’s author, had said the government should continue to contribute to lawmakers’ and staffers’ premiums. What the Obama administration has done is ruled that the congressional workers will continue to receive the employer contribution to help them buy their insurance on the exchange.

All those words!  What they boil down to is this:  The Obamacare health exchange is so expensive, in large part because plans must contain expensive benefits that people neither need nor want, that requiring employees to go into it will cost them thousands of dollars out of pocket which, as a practical matter, decreases employees’ take-home pay at the end of the day.  Therefore, Congress is giving employees (congress people and staffers alike) a stipend to offset that cost.  So yes, congress people and their staffers, unlike other Americans, are being forced into the exchange, but Congress has made sure to insulate them from its devastating economic impact.  This insulation is tantamount to an exemption, because Congress won’t feel the pain.

In this regard, it’s unlike other Americans who are feeling the pain very badly.  The law’s terms mean that they too are being forced into the exchange, but without the nice little stipend to offset costs that Congresws gave itself.  For example (h/t Gateway Pundit):

Across North Carolina, thousands of people have been shocked in recent weeks to find out their health insurance plans will be canceled at the end of the year – and premiums for comparable coverage could increase sharply.

One of them is George Schwab of Charlotte, who pays $228 a month for his family’s $10,000 deductible plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

In a Sept. 23 letter, Blue Cross notified him that his current plan doesn’t meet benefit requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act and suggested a comparable plan for $1,208 a month – $980 more than he now pays.

“I’m 62 and retired,” Schwab said. “This creates a tremendous financial burden for our family.

“The President told the American people numerous times that… ‘If you like your coverage, you can keep it,’” Schwab said. “How can we keep it if it has been eliminated? How can we keep it if the premium has been increased 430 percent in one year?”

[snip]

Under the new law, all insurance plans must cover 10 “essential health benefits,” including maternity care and pediatric dental and vision care. Plans must also provide certain preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies for free.

Today, people who buy individual policies often choose plans without maternity coverage, for example, to reduce premiums. That choice is gone, too.

“Now maternity is loaded into everybody’s plan,” Blount said.

That means men will generally be paying more than they did before. But women, who can no longer be charged more just for being female, will probably pay less.

[snip]

Blue Cross spokesman Lew Borman said Friday that large premium increases will affect about one-third of the approximately 400,000 North Carolina customers who buy Blue Cross insurance in the individual market. Some of their policies were canceled because they didn’t meet the new federal standards, he said.

[snip]

Michael Hood, 46, who lives near Winston-Salem, is another of the Blue Cross customers who is suffering sticker shock after receiving a recent renewal letter.

He and his wife, who is expecting their third child, now pay $324 per month for a plan with a $10,000 family deductible. The comparable plan suggested by Blue Cross for next year would cost $895.27 per month with an $11,000 family deductible. Their annual payment would rise from $14,000 to $24,000.

Self-employed as part owner of a medical device distributorship, Hood said he and his wife “try to live a healthy lifestyle and keep our medical costs down.” They chose the high-deductible plan to keep their premium low.

Hood said his income is about $85,000 a year, which would mean he might be able to qualify for a subsidy. He said he checked the online marketplace, which has been operating only sporadically this week, and didn’t think it looked like his family would be eligible.

One of the pluses of any new plan is that it will cover maternity care, which his current plan doesn’t. But “is that really worth paying $1,000 a month more for?”

“I’m angry that legislation has been passed that is forcing me to purchase something that otherwise I would not have to purchase,” Hood said.

“The president told us Obamacare would make health insurance affordable and reduce costs. It is now impossible for our family to afford private health insurance.”

By enacting legislation that protects itself from the pain ordinary Americans are feeling, Congress has indeed exempted itself from Obamacare.  And that’s no lie.

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Comments

  1. lee says

    I lived in NYC for five years, and read the NYT religiously. (In my defense, it was a little better then than it is now, though it started the downhill slide toward the end of those five years.) And I am sure they labeled me the crackpot who always sent corrections. And I never once saw a single one of the mistakes I pointed out in the corrections section. Like the fact that they would always call it the “University of Indiana.” It is Indiana University! Or they frequently gave Bill Cosby a Ph.D. in Education. I was even kind about the letter I sent them on that frequent error. And I always included a photocopy of his dissertation abstract,
     
    But these newspapers are smarter than us mere mortals.

  2. nuqlv9ol7u says

    RE: Anthropological Global Warming (AWG)
     
    The “wheels fell off the bus” in the summer of 2010. The entire theory was based upon sham data, and it became apparent then. This was also when it became apparent that the model was falling apart. The use of “Climate Change” v. “Global Warming” was an earlier attempt to mitigate damage from the model diverging with reality.
     
    You can expect the “experts” to continue slowly and quietly backing away from the theory. The less scientific will cling to it for some time. Like Wile E. Coyote, it will take some time for them to figure out they are standing on air, and as reality seeps in, they will become more obstinate.
     
    (The planet is between ice ages, and it is becoming warmer. At some point, it will begin cooling, and the next ice age will begin. This occurs without human activity, and no human activity can change it.)

  3. Mike Devx says

    Joshuapundit has posted Ted Cruz’ interview with Candy Crowley on CNN’s Sunday talk show.  It’s a good one!  I recommend viewing the entire fifteen minutes.
     
    Ms. Crowley repeated challenged Ted Cruz by repeating all the Democrat talking points, including every single one that blames Republicans for the shutdown.  And asking him to respond.  In some cases, even after he corrected her about a (Democrat) accusation containing falsehoods, she circled around again and challenged him again with the same falsehood.  He kept handling it all very adroitly.
     
    And yet… he’s no Reagan.  No one is.  As I watched, I kept wondering how Reagan would have answered those questions.  What folksy asides would he have given us; what common themes would he have kept returning to, using words, tone of voice and body language to reassure everyone that he’s doing his dang best but those darned Democrats, they just won’t play ball?  By the time he got done, you’d be feeling sorry for him and just a little pissed off at the Democrats.  What a master!  I know I’m asking too much for Cruz to be as effective as Reagan.  He’s good!  But I’d love to see the master at work during this battle.
     
    I know a lot of you don’t think Obama is effective.  I think he is.  He;s extraordinarily glib and smooth, and exceptionally deceitful beneath the smoothness.  It’s effective enough to totally fool about half the nation consistently.  That’s perfectly fine with him, because, if you’ll pardon the language, Obama doesn’t give a shit about the other half.  Maybe he’s gauging things right.  We’re amazingly polarized.  Half the country sticks with Obama and won’t move, no matter what.  And the other half of us wouldn’t give Obama the time of day or elect him dog-catcher, no matter what.
     
    Maybe Government Shutdown Theatre Antics will alienate some of those Obama people.  But I’m not holding my breath.  I think we’re all digging in.  This may be the start of a long period of nasty, intense, polarized civil strife.  Without murderous violence, could it be right to call this the start of a long “cold civil war”?

  4. says

    Evil isn’t effective because it is efficient or fixes things. Evil is effective because it is evil. It goes back to metaphysics, the nature of reality, and the nature of humans vs the moral agency in ethics.
     
    Much like oxygen reacts because it is oxygen. If a metal is called steel but doesn’t corrode in the presence of oxygen, is it really steel? If evil wasn’t effective, why would it be a problem, ever? If evil wasn’t powerful, why would it be allowed to exist?
     
    Different topic. The Left has had control over these groups of people for a long time. It isn’t as if Obama came on the scene and suddenly they are loyal.  They were always loyal… or else. The Left conditions this loyalty the same as Pavlov’s dogs were conditioned. Well, to the Leftist leaders, most of their members are no better than dogs. Slaves or livestock, take your pick.
     
    There is murderous violence. Don’t people remember?
     
     

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