Crony capitalists fear that the Supreme Court might gut Obamacare

The reality of ObamacareBack in August 2009, I wrote about a conversation I had with a Leftist physician regarding the upcoming legislation that would turn into Obamacare. One of my contentions was that Obamacare was a step to single payer and would end up bankrupting America’s existing medical establishments. He disagreed. Here’s the relevant part of my post about that conversation:

What this doctor likes about mandatory universal health care is that it forces the voluntary uninsured into the system.  He thinks it grossly unfair that they are not paying into the system, while people who need insurance are paying.  If there were more money in the system, the person with a preexisting condition would not be required to pay as much for his insurance.  In other words, he thinks that the insurance system should be a cross between an uninsured motorist requirement and social security.  He freely admits that this is a government mandated spread the wealth approach, and one of which he approves.

Because he has a philosophical approach that requires everyone to be in the health care market, whether they want to be or not, he is unperturbed by CBO numbers projecting vast increases in the cost of health care under the new plan.  He thinks the CBO people, being accountants and not doctors, have no idea what they’re talking about.  What he envisions is a brave new world in which the government simply provides more insured people who will use medical services.  He finds it inconceivable that universal health care (which is a system by which all people are insured, but medical care providers continue to be privately owned) can shade into a single payer, government-owned system.

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My run-in with an Obamacare fanatic

AngryBecause I have a careful social life, which sees me discuss parenting issues with liberals and politics with conservatives, I’ve never spoken with a true believer about Obamacare.  Last night was my baptism in fire and, I have to say, staring into the maddened eyes of someone who sees Obamacare as a divine gift to the American people was an unnerving experience.

I went out to dinner with a group of people, some of whom I knew, and some of whom were spouses I hadn’t yet met.  For the most part, the evening was delightful.  Unfortunately, it ended on a sour note, when I unwittingly found myself speaking with an Obamacare fanatic.

I actually hadn’t planned on discussing politics, especially since I knew I was the only conservative in the bunch.  Obamacare came up accidentally because a few of us — all middle-aged people with bad eyes — were talking about how expensive prescription glasses have become.  Not unnaturally, this led to a discussion about the rising costs of medical care overall.

The initial discussion was about the perverse incentives of the insurance marketplace since WWII (separating consumers from providers so that consumers have no incentive to shop or bargain for lower prices); about the costs of more sophisticated medical treatments (it’s not only leeches any more); about high compensation for doctors (it’s justified by their training, but is all that training really necessary?); and about the fact that Medicare caps result in hospitals trying to recoup money by charging $100 for a box of Kleenex.

At this point, one of the spouses, whom I’ll call Tiny Tim, announced that Obamacare would correct all this.  Everyone, he said, will get better insurance and better medical care, all for a lower price, and there will be no more uninsured.  (Hmm….  Where have I heard that before?)  I rained on his parade by saying that many of the uninsured were not lining up to buy insurance.  Instead, those enrolled under Obamacare were often previously covered people who had been forced onto Obamacare when they lost their own insurance.  (See my discussion about that issue here.)  Moreover, those who did not qualify for subsidies were seeing substantial increases in their premiums and deductibles, caused in part by increasing medical costs.

At this point, I offered not a statistic but an example:  I know a woman from one of my conservative groups.  She’s single, self-employed, in her high 50s or low 60s, and was forced onto Obamacare at the end of 2013.  When I saw her at a luncheon about three months ago, she was livid.  She’d liked her old insurance, which was affordable and provided the coverage the wanted.  Her new policy after she lost her old one doubled her premium and her deductible, and saw her paying for a lot of things she didn’t need or want (such as fertility treatments).

Somehow this anecdote enraged Tiny Tim.  He drew himself up to his full height of 5’2″ (I am  not exaggerating), tried to lean over the table to get into my face (something you can’t do when your short), shook his stubby little finger at me and, with spittle flying from his mouth, announced that I was a liar.  “There is no such woman.  You’re lying!  Lying!”  Let’s just say he failed to intimidate me.

When I insisted — truthfully — that there was such a woman, Tiny Tim next announced that she then must be the liar and, if not a liar, she is a moron.  Why is  she a moron?  Tiny Tim, with no information whatsoever, had a ready answer:  She’s a moron because this gal’s former insurance was garbage, and came complete with annual or lifetime caps that would ruin her when she became terribly ill.  Garbage, he kept repeating in his shrill little voice.

Focusing tightly on my powerful belief in individual liberties, rather than on his bulging eyes, and spittle flecked lips, I replied that the gal is an intelligent, experienced career woman who bought this policy on the open market because it worked for her, and she could afford it.  Tiny Tim could not be calmed.  He screamed out again that she was a moron and had no idea what was good for her.  Obamacare knows what’s good for her, he said, and is giving her the policy she needs, whether she’s smart enough to appreciate that or not.

In other words, cut through Tiny Tim’s angry, abusive hysteria and you suddenly find smug, arrogant Jonathan Gruber:  Americans are stupid, can’t possibly know what they want or can afford, and must have a beneficent government force them to do things that they cannot afford and do not need because the government knows best.

Once Tiny Tim put his cards on the table, I was gearing up to make a cutting riposte, when I suddenly felt the ghost of my father at my shoulders.  The one thing I share with my father, alav ha-shalom, is that when I get angry, I get really nasty, which means that, rather than focusing on the issue, I get personal — kind of like Tiny Tim was doing to me and to the woman he’d never met but knew, nevertheless, was a moron.

Unlike Tiny Tim, who seems to be all anger and no conscience, I always hate myself after I lapse into crude ad hominem attacks.  Being nasty is not a way to win an argument, nor is it a way to gain either the respect of others or your own respect.  I could feel that nastiness bubbling up in my, overwhelming logic, humor, assertiveness, and wit.  So I left.

As I explained to my sister when I discussed the matter with her, Tiny Tim didn’t chase me away; my Dad’s ghost did, and I am thankful.  Today I can look back on the interlude with amusement, rather than embarrassment and shame.  I also look back on it with something approaching despair — Tiny Tim may have been emotionally defective, but he’s also America’s “power” class, insofar as he’s highly educated, holds an excellent job, makes a nice income.  These attributes obviously lead him to believe himself better and smarter than the average American, and therefore well-equipped to deprive them of their liberty “for their own good.”  Multiply him by all the other Americans who have emerged and are still emerging from our university systems, and we have a very big problem.

[VIDEO] Gruber’s defense: I’m arrogant and stupid

Trey Gowdy is masterful. He starts off strong and just gets stronger:

Gruber looks like a trapped ferret, but it seems to me that his remorse is tied to his getting caught, not his having said those things in the first place. Were he genuinely remorseful, he would expand on those canned answers, and take a second look at his underlying world view.

The Bookworm Beat (11/21/14) — The imperial presidency edition (plus illustrations and Open Thread)

Woman writingI keep meaning to write something profound about what happened to our country yesterday, only to discover that other, much better writers and thinkers already got there before I did. I’ll just summarize by saying that Obama behaved illegally, unconstitutionally, and undemocratically.  Having said that, of course, the really important question becomes: What next?

Let’s see if I can start this round-up by passing on some ideas.

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The Bookworm Beat (11/15/14) — Time warp edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingWhy is this a “time warp edition”? Because even though I’m publishing it on Saturday, I actually wrote it on Friday. The reason delayed publishing is because I’m spending all day Saturday attending part II of my CERT training. I expect the training to be more of the same stuff as last week: really nice, well-informed, generous people inefficiently teaching four hours of useful information over the course of eight hours.

Rather than leaving my blog fallow for that time, I thought I’d prep a post in advance. The only reason I’m mentioning the 14-hour lead time is to explain why, if something dramatic happens in the news tomorrow, you won’t read about it at the Bookworm Room. And now, it’s time for yesterday’s news today!

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The Bookworm Beat (11/14/14) — Emptying the inbox (and Open Thread)

Woman writingNo thoughts today, either profound or self-centered. Just a burning desire to share with you all the wonderful things that come my way:

Dr. Jonathan Gruber — the gift that keeps on giving

It seems as if every conservative writing is churning out good stuff about what Gruber said, who he is, and what it all means. I can’t add to what they’re saying, but I can pass it along.

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Obamacare: Destroying the middle class, one family at a time (by Anonymous)

Jonathan Gruber Health Care Obamacare for DummiesA Bay Area resident who reads my blog, asked that I publish an open letter to Dr. Jonathan Gruber.  Because the letter’s writer has to make a living here in Marin (70% Democrat), she’s writing under a pseudonym.  I’m betting that this letter will resonate with many of you:

***

Dear Dr. Gruber,

I watched your panel discussion videos with fascination where you talk about creating Obamacare and how you needed to obfuscate and deceive in order to get it passed. I noticed how you hold the voting American public in contempt, saying how stupid we all are.

After viewing it I thought I would write to you to let you know how your important legislation for which you got paid $400,000 in consulting fees has affected my life. Because when I hear you speak about the voters of this country I don’t get the feeling that you have any understanding or empathy for us. I am sure you have more important things to think about.

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The Bookworm Beat (11/12/14) — The “trigger warning” edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingIf I’ve written this post correctly, it should trigger discomfort in sensitive Leftists.  “Trigger warnings,” for those of you fortunate enough not to move in circles that use them, are warnings at the beginning of any information presentation, be it fact or fiction, written or oral, aural or visual. They tell people with certain sensitivities that the material following the warning might upset them. For example, The Cat In The Hat might be preceded by a trigger warning stating “Trigger Warning: This book contains references to cats, which may be triggering to people suffering from Ailurophobia; references to boys, which may be triggering to people suffering from Misanthropy; references to girls, which may be triggering to people suffering from Misogyny; and references to Things, which may be triggering to people suffering from fear of Things.”

These trigger warnings started amongst the feminists, who manage to hold simultaneously conflicting thoughts, the first being that they are roaring women (and you’d better hear them), and the second that they are such fragile flowers that anything can permanently damage them. I’m not so sure anymore that trigger warnings are just a malicious feminist virus.  Instead, to the extent that trigger warnings are taking over American college campuses, I think that they’re actually part of a fiendish plot that transcends lunatic feminists in Herstory Departments across America.

Think about it: For decades, the Left has carefully controlled the material available to college students. Just when young people’s minds should be in their most receptive, inquiring mode, these youngsters are shut off in an institution that spoon feeds them carefully vetted material pointing to a single world view. As a conservative I met today told me, his grandson, a UC student, proudly boasted that everyone at his college voted Democrat in the last election. That may be an exaggeration, but it’s close enough to the truth to disturb all of us.

The problem for Leftist control freaks is the fact that they only get the students for 4-7 years, and that even during that time there’s the chance that the students, during visits home, or while picking up a random magazine abandoned at a Starbucks might accidentally be exposed to facts or analysis challenging the Leftist paradigm. Even the most zealous Leftist academic can’t police students all the time. Moreover, there’s always the problem that an insufficiently indoctrinated student might be embarrassed at the sheeple-ness of it all (is there no rebellion left amongst the young?) and foment an intellectual revolution.  What’s an academic to do?

What the enterprising academic will do is vaccinate the students so that they develop antibodies that make them permanently resistant to any new information whatsoever. That’s what the “trigger warning” is. It inoculates brains against all ideas but for Leftist ones.  Mention preprogrammed words, phrases, or ideas — e.g., liberty, Founding Fathers, Constitution, decent men, rape fallacy, conservatives, Republicans, etc. — and the students are so sensitized that they instantly, and without any higher brain function, start screaming “It’s a trigger!” after which they fall on the floor in a sobbing heap, inconsolable until someone comes along and whispers in their ears restorative words such as Social Justice, right side of history, racism, sexism, etc.

As long as our young people are not just taught Leftism, but are taught to panic at anything that challenges Leftism, they are unreachable. They have been vaccinated against ideas about individual liberty, constitutionalism, morality, etc. Sad, but true….

But if you’re made of stronger stuff, if you can read ideas that might not mesh with yours, I probably have something to offer you in this little grab bag of links and pictures.

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Obamacare goes from horribly bad to even more terribly worse

Obamacare error 404C. Steven Tucker has had a 20 year career as a health insurance broker. Having enabled his clients, just barely, to weather Obamacare’s roll-out, he’s now reporting that the worst is still to come — and that this year is even more horrible than last year because of an Obama GAG rule on insurance companies:

Last year when more than 4 million cancellation notices went out, Americans were able to shop for prices as early as October 1st, granted the initial roll out left much to be desired. In fact, in my opinion it was an unmitigated disaster. Many of my clients spent hours on the phone with Healthcare.gov ‘navigators’ only to find out that their application had then mysteriously disappeared.

Worse yet, because our state’s “C.H.I.P” program was expanded long before Obamacare. The few members of my clientele who actually qualified for an APTC – “Advance Premium Tax Credit”  a.k.a. “subsidy” to artificially lower their premiums were unable to add their children to their subsidized policies. They were instead instructed to enroll their children in Medicaid. Or, they could pay full price for each of their children. The rates for a single child in my state are at least $100 a month for the cheapest “Bronze” plan which includes a $6,000 deductible per person. That’s not exactly ‘affordable care’ when you have three children.

This year, for the first time in 20 years I can not even quote a replacement product because Barack Obama has issued a GAG ORDER to the health insurance industry instructing them not to disclose their January 2015 health insurance rates until after the mid-term elections. This is unprecedented. Normally health insurance premiums are released for public viewing 60 days before the January 1st effective date. Where are the reports on these cancellations and the gag order from NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN? The only news organization that I am aware of that has reported on any of this is the Fox News channel. I can guarantee you one thing, not one of my clients who received a cancellation notice is voting Democrat on Tuesday.

Read the rest here.

The Bookworm Beat (10/30/14) — Gathering clouds edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingI am not using the phrase “gathering clouds” as a metaphor for the darkness that seems to be washing over the world. My statement has nothing to do with Ebola, amnesty, Iran and Russia ascendant, polio-like viruses, recession, racial tension, or any of the other blessings in Obama’s America. Instead, I’m talking about actual clouds and I mean that in a good way: We’re expecting more rain in the Bay Area tomorrow.

When you live in a drought-stricken region, every drop of rain counts. And while it looks as if the hoped-for El Nino has vanished, there’s a possibility that, at least in the Bay Area, we’re going to have a normal rainy season. Woo-hoo!!

Rain forecast as internet pron

The common sense behind quarantines

Back around the turn of the last century, an Irish-born New York City cook named Mary Mallon (aka Typhoid Mary) was diagnosed as an asymptomatic typhoid carrier. That she was a cook matters, because handling food is one of the vectors for typhoid fever. Even as Mallon was feeling healthy, she managed to infect multiple people around New York with typhoid fever, killing three. Mallon refused, however, to give up cooking. Eventually, New York locked Mallon away for good. She spent almost 30 years in isolation before dying.

Kaci Hickox, the nurse who worked with Ebola patients, is trying to position herself as a due process/civil rights martyr. I would be sympathetic to her cause if, like Typhoid Mary, the state were to lock her away for life on an Island. But Hickox isn’t getting dragged away anywhere. Instead, she’s being asked to stay home for a few weeks.

And lest you think this request is out of the ordinary, AJ Strata reminds us that school districts all over America routinely ask families to self-quarantine when their children are diagnosed with diseases or parasites that can be unpleasantly endemic in a school community, whether we’re talking about pinkeye, flu, or lice.

It’s not just school districts. In my mother’s retirement community, the moment the norovirus shows up, the dining halls and recreation areas are closed, and residents are essentially locked up in their rooms, with food delivered to their doors. The thought of norovirus sweeping through an enclosed community of elderly people is too terrible to bear.

At least one California physician has the right idea:

“I’m California’s most experienced Ebola physician. I won’t take a single chance,” said Dr. Colin Bucks in a New York Times interview. “My wife is away, my dog is away — there’s no downside to a little personal convenience, 3 weeks will pass.”

This is not about the end of civil liberties. This is about recognizing that pathogens have specific behaviors and that sensible humans who are truly altruistic, rather than being show-off altruists who are truly selfish,  accept that there are inconveniences that go along with their choices. (Maetenloch has a great discussion about Hickox’s priorities, as demonstrated by his title for her: “Saint Kaci of the Order of Unique Snowflakes.”)

Moreover, considering that the CDC keeps changing its story about Ebola (this time it’s saying that, well, technically it’s airborne in wet droplets, not just dry motes), it’s no longer good enough to say that someone is non-infectious if they ride around in the subway, as long as they don’t touch anybody. Frankly, with the CDC’s constantly changing stories, I no longer believe that people are infectious only when they’re symptomatic. I bet they’re infectious when they feel fine, but have that first sneeze….

And while we’re all looking at Ebola, another disease advances

Everyone is worried about Ebola — as well they should be — but the more imminent threat, to judge by the number of deaths, is Enterovirus D-68, which just claimed a 9th victim.

A few notes about Israel and the Palestinians

Yes, the Obama administration has alienated Israel and Jews the world over by referring to blooded warrior Bibi Netanyahu as a “chickensh*t” and a “coward.”

And yes, considering that this was a full-on, administration interview with a respected reporter from a respected media outlet, the anonymous official’s use of the “chickensh*t” insult could only have emanated first from President Obama.

And yes, the administration’s vulgar antics highlight what happens when you drag people out of the perpetual adolescence of American academia and place them in positions of actual power.

And yes, our administration is working hard to pull America away from a stalwart friend that is the only free, thriving, pluralist, liberal democracy in the Middle East and throw us in the arms of a totalitarian theocracy that sponsors worldwide terrorism (including against American) and that takes to deadly levels misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism, and anti-Christian sentiment.

And yes, when a Palestinian tries to murder a rabbi who says that the Temple Mount should be open to all (recognizing Israel’s ancient tie to the land), not just to the Muslims, the media immediately painted the rabbi as a rabid terrorist.

And yes, a New York Times reporter has admitted that, as long as the Israelis refuse to turn over half their land, including Jerusalem, to terrorists who seek to annihilate Jews, the paper’s simply going to lie about Palestinians whenever it reports on them (as long as the lies make Palestinians look good).

And yes, the American relationship with Turkey, which is rapidly morphing from a modern, secular country into a backwards Islamic backwater is fragmenting. (I’d love to blame Obama for this too, and I probably could by pointing to the disaster of Obama’s Syrian policy. The fact is, though, that Erdogan is Islamisizing Turkey and that’s always going to go hand-in-hand with anti-Americanism — and that’s true despite Obama’s love for Erdogan.)

But there are still a couple of good things that have come along: First, even as Obama’s America alienates Israel, the Arab world is starting to figure out that Israel is not the enemy. Arabs are still wedded to the usual ugly rhetoric, but at a policy level, Sunni states are realizing that the enemy is Iran. It’s only Obama who hasn’t figured that one out.

And finally, when Obama’s out of office, Bibi Netanyahu will still be there, and much stronger too for having weathered Obama’s childlike bullying. Not only that, while Obama is still in office, because the public recognizes that Israel is a friend and Iran an enemy, foreign policy may have a decisive effect on American elections and — for the Democrats — that’s not a good thing.

Sen. Jeff Sessions on Obama’s amnesty plans

I was going to write something about the fact that Obama, a very lame duck president who’s soon to be even lamer, is by-passing Congress to invite as many as 10 million illegal aliens to become permanent residents in America. I don’t have to, though, because Jeff Sessions already has:

The Wall Street Journal confirmed today that the President is planning to issue a massive unilateral executive amnesty after the election.

In its report, the WSJ certifies that this executive amnesty would provide work permits for illegal immigrants—taking jobs directly from struggling Americans.

Based on the USCIS contract bid and statements from USCIS employees, we know this executive immigration order is likely to be broader in scope than anyone has imagined.

Earlier this week, President Obama’s former head of Homeland Security revealed that she overrode resistance from administration lawyers and law enforcement agents in implementing the President’s earlier unlawful amnesty and work authorization program for illegal immigrants 30 and under. This was an open admission by one of the most senior people in government of violating one’s oath of office in order to accomplish a nakedly political aim.

The President is assuming for himself the sole and absolute power to decide who can enter, work, live, and claim benefits in the United States. He has exempted virtually every group in the world from America’s immigration laws: people who enter before a certain age, people related to people who enter before a certain age, adults traveling with minors, minors traveling with adults, illegal immigrants who are not convicted of serious crimes, illegal immigrants who are convicted of serious crimes but not enough serious crimes, almost anyone who shows up the border and demands asylum, the millions who overstay their visas, and, as was recently exposed, illegal immigrants with serious criminal histories. On and on it goes.

A nation creates borders and laws to protect its own citizens. What about their needs?

The President is systemically stripping away the immigration protections to which every single American worker and their family is entitled. He doesn’t care how this impacts Americans’ jobs, wages, schools, tax bills, hospitals, police departments, or communities.

But it gets worse still. The WSJ reports that the President is “expected to benefit businesses that use large numbers of legal immigrants, such as technology companies.” Those changes include measures to massively expand the number of foreign workers for IT companies—measures aggressively lobbied for by IT giants like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Yet we have more than 11 million Americans with STEM degrees who don’t have jobs in these fields. Rutgers professor Hal Salzman documented that two-thirds of all new IT jobs are being filled by foreign workers. From 2000 through today, a period of record legal immigration, all net gains in employment among the working-age have gone entirely to immigrant workers.

And now, in order to help open borders billionaires, President Obama is going to deny millions of Americans their shot at entering the middle class and a better life.

The world has turned upside down. Instead of serving the interests of the American people, the policies of President Obama and every Senate Democrat serve the needs of special interests and global CEOs who fail to understand the duty a nation owes to its own people. But the citizens of this country still hold the power, and through their voice, they can turn the country right-side again.

Manchester has a child sex abuse culture. I wonder why?

When I lived in England 30+ years ago, Manchester was a dingy Midlands town, heavily populated with the British working class. Today, Manchester is a dingy, Muslim Midlands town, heavily populated by pedophiles.

A genuine sweet tooth is better than a fake sweet tooth

More evidence emerges that artificial sweeteners are bad for you. Your mom’s advice was still the best: Simply limit your sugar intake. You don’t need to knock out sweets entirely and you definitely don’t need to load up your body with chemicals.

Russell Brand is a moron.

I have nothing more to add. He’s a moron.

Methinks that Apple’s Tim Cook protests too much

I couldn’t care less about Tim Cook’s sexual orientation. I do think, though, that the gentleman protests too much when he insists that “being gay [is] among the greatest gifts God has given me.” Because compassion. Apparently you lack compassion if you’re not gay or something. And because empathy. Maybe he’s saying that only those blessed with gayness get empathy.

Whatever.

I think it’s great if Cook’s a compassionate, empathetic person. You don’t have to be gay to get that way. And spinning your entire persona and value system around the blessing of your sexual orientation just strikes me as, well, kind of pathetic. Sleep with whomever you want. Follow where your heart leads. But please don’t try to make a virtue out of your bedroom behavior.