Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘obamacare’

SNL lampoons Obama and Obamacare push

Posted by Richard on March 29, 2014

Saturday Night Live’s opening monologue lampooned Obama and the desperate attempts to sell Obamacare in the way that they used to lampoon Bush. It’s not uproariously funny, but it’s well worth watching. I’d embed it here, but instead I’m going to direct you to SNL Cold Open: How Far Will Obama Go To Sell Obamacare? Bieber Tongue Bath Far? Or Just Pope Pimpin’? by Caleb Howe. You can watch it there.

The alternative is to quote Howe’s comments in their entirety, because they’re really much more entertaining than the skit. Especially if you’re a “Once Upon a Time” fan.

Be sure to scroll on down and read Caleb Howe’s short biography. It’s pretty funny too.

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Obamacare is an abysmal failure by its own standard

Posted by Richard on March 27, 2014

The raison d’être for Obamacare is to provide health insurance coverage for the 30 million to 50 million people (depending on whose wild-ass guess you believe) uninsured. How’s it doing so far?

The Obama administration and its media shills have been crowing that 5 million people have “enrolled” for Obamacare on the state and federal exchanges. When asked how many of those have actually paid the first month’s premium, they claim they don’t know, although their own rules require insurance companies to report that information monthly. Estimates of the number of “enrollees” who haven’t actually completed the process by paying their premiums range from 20% to 25%.

So let’s do a little math. Assuming 20% of the 5 million “enrollees” haven’t paid brings the number covered down to 4 million. According to the management consulting firm McKinsey, as of the end of February, 27% of the “enrollees” were previously uninsured, but they were even less likely to have paid their premiums than the previously insured. McKinsey’s number crunching arrives at an estimate that only 14% of those actually now covered were previously uninsured.

But let’s be generous and assume that more of them have paid premiums since February. Heck, let’s be real generous and assume that a full 25% of the 4 million were previously uninsured. That’s 1.25 million.

Divide 1.25 million by 50 million or by 30 million, and you discover that Obamacare has covered somewhere between 2.5% and 4% of the previously uninsured. Epic fail.

And to achieve that underwhelming result, it’s cost millions of the previously insured their insurance plan of choice, forced millions more to pay higher premiums, and resulted in probably tens of millions having a smaller provider network that may not include their doctor or hospital of choice. Not to mention saddling insurance companies with a process so screwed up that, if it isn’t fixed soon, many (most?) may just stop offering individual (and probably small group) health insurance entirely.

One could be forgiven for suspecting that the real purpose of Obamacare all along was to destroy the private health insurance market in order to replace it with a British-style, government-run, single-payer socialist system. After all, one of the architects of this abysmal failure has said as much.

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Dueling Gadsden humor

Posted by Richard on March 22, 2014

The folks at Organizing for America (OFA; formerly Obama for America), in an uncharacteristic moment of light-hearted humor, decided to have some fun with the iconic Gadsden flag frequently seen at Tea Party rallies:

Gadsden flag - OFA version

I’ve got to hand it to them, that’s pretty clever.

But the folks at the satirical “communist” site The People’s Cube thought it lacked something: honesty. Here’s their more truthful version:

Gadsden flag - People's Cube version

There, that fixed it. 🙂

For a good laugh, drop by The People’s Cube from time to time, if only for a quick check of “News we just don’t have time to write about,” which features gems like these:

The President’s latest talking point on Obamacare: “I didn’t build that”

Efforts to achieve moisture justice for California thwarted by unfair redistribution of snow in America

Putin annexes Brighton Beach to protect ethnic Russians in Brooklyn, Obama appeals to UN and EU for help

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More Obama administration lawlessness to come?

Posted by Richard on March 18, 2014

The Obama administration has ignored laws, unilaterally changed laws, and administratively enacted laws, demonstrating complete indifference to the separation of powers and contempt for the legislative branch. Now it seems poised to also demonstrate its contempt for the judicial branch. Michael Cannon at Forbes (bold emphasis added):

As readers of this blog know, the plaintiffs in Halbig v. Sebelius and three similar cases are challenging the IRS’s attempt to issue certain subsidies and impose certain taxes where it has no authority to do so: in the 34 states that have chosen not to establish a health insurance “exchange” under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Oral arguments in Halbig are scheduled for March 25 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Read all about the these cases here.

On Wednesday, March 12, government lawyers filed with the court a brief but strange “notice of supplemental authority” that seems to suggest the IRS will keep issuing those subsidies and imposing those taxes even if the court declares the agency has no authority to do so.

Instead of jailing “climate change deniers,” we should jail “Constitution deniers.”

The Cato Institute has lots more about Halbig and related cases.

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Yet another executive decree coming

Posted by Richard on March 4, 2014

The Chavinista who occupies the White House is about to change the law by executive decree yet again. Ed Morrissey:

How blatant is this latest unilateral change from the Obama administration on the law they claim is working well? The Hill can’t avoid connecting the dots in its lead sentence:

The Obama administration is set to announce another major delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act, easing election pressure on Democrats.

As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements.

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Prolonging the “keep your plan” fix will avoid another wave of health policy cancellations otherwise expected this fall.

The cancellations would have created a firestorm for Democratic candidates in the last, crucial weeks before Election Day.

Actually, HHS thought they had already avoided that outcome with its previous extension. That pushed off the deadline for plans to meet the requirements of ObamaCare until January 1, 2015, which is after the midterms. However, none of the geniuses at HHS seemed to know that insurers have to send out cancellation notices 90 days in advance, which would mean that letters would go out no later than October 1 … five weeks or so before the vote.

D’oh!

There seems to be wide agreement among legal scholars — even staunch liberals such as Jonathan Turley — that the President’s executive decrees are unconstitutional and undermine the separation of powers. Yet everyone seems to agree that nothing can be done about it because no one has “legal standing” to challenge these edicts — they don’t “create a sufficiently concrete injury for standing.”

Personally, I think that destroying my right to live under a government of laws, not of men, and to have those laws made by my elected representatives as mandated by the Constitution is a pretty significant injury. But I’m not a legal expert with an Ivy League degree.

Dr. Larry Kawa is arguing, with the help of Judicial Watch, that he does have standing, having spent significant time and money to ensure that his orthodontics practice is in compliance with the law as written. He has appealed the district court’s dismissal of his lawsuit to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. More power to him.

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Working 1 to 5

Posted by Richard on February 24, 2014

Obamacare is relentlessly turning full-time workers into part-time workers (or labor force dropouts dependent on government handouts) and pushing part-time workers below the magical 30-hour/week threshold. Even state and local governments are getting into the act. So an “Obamacare remix” of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” is a no-brainer. Remy Munasifi and the folks at Reason.TV were up to the task:


[YouTube link]

 HT: Steven Hayward

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Greatest Obamacare memes

Posted by Richard on December 8, 2013

The Independent Journal Review has posted what they call “the 16 Greatest Obamacare Memes Ever.” There are some pretty funny ones. But like most of the news and commentary on Obamacare recently, they’re primarily focused on the website fail and the Big Lie.

I like this one the best because it zeroes in on the much more significant issue — the authoritarianism:

IF-YOU-LIKE-sav2dt

 

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Colorado’s dismal Obamacare numbers

Posted by Richard on December 6, 2013

Colorado is one of the 16 states that set up their own health care exchange to implement Obamacare. It’s called Connect for Health Colorado, and it seems to be much more functional than the Fed’s Healthcare.gov (not that that’s saying much). But they’ve posted their metrics for October 1 through November 30 online, and the numbers aren’t pretty.

During the first two months of operation, they say that “Enrollments” were 74,270. But 64,290 (over 86%) of those were people pushed onto Medicaid. Only 9,980 actually signed up for a private insurance policy. Since the feds have decided to use the “honor system” instead of any income verification, there’s no telling how many of the 64,290 understated their income and aren’t actually qualified for Medicaid (or how many of the 9,980 are getting insurance premium subsidies for which they aren’t actually qualified). According to Watchdog.org, a third of those on Medicaid in Illinois (pre-Obamacare) aren’t actually eligible. There, too, virtually every Obamacare enrollee has ended up on Medicaid.

Of course, all those new Medicaid enrollees may end up with a bad case of buyer’s remorse when they discover the level of care and choice of providers they’re stuck with (fewer and fewer doctors are accepting Medicaid patients due to the very low level of reimbursements, and those that do practice assembly-line medicine).

Much more devastating for Obamacare’s supporters are the demographics for Connect for Health Colorado’s enrollees. Fully 43% of the 74,270 are ages 55-65, and another 18% are ages 45-54. A mere 11% are ages 26-34, the “young invincibles” that the Obama administration was counting on to subsidize the older folks who are much greater consumers of health care. That’s an epic fail.

Each passing day seems to bring more bad news for Obamacare, and the poll numbers reflect that. It’s too bad that there isn’t a political party with the commitment to  limited government and competence in messaging to take advantage of the situation.

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Preparing to embrace defeat

Posted by Richard on July 3, 2012

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell thinks that even if the Republicans take control of the Senate, repealing Obamacare will be hard and the odds are against it. I’m not surprised. This is the Mitch McConnell I’ve come to know and loathe. After all, it was only a few months ago that he blocked an Obamacare repeal vote and reportedly planned to do so all year in order to avoid angering Harry Reid, avoid a “procedural stalemate,” and “shield his Senate GOP colleagues from voting to repeal popular portions of the healthcare law.”

If this worthless wuss becomes Senate majority leader again in January, I predict he’ll do what he’s always done: He’ll start out talking a good game. Then he’ll mumble, fumble, and bumble his way toward compromise, concessions, and capitulation. He’s preparing now to embrace failure and defeat.

We need more than returning control of the Senate to the current sorry leadership of the GOP. We need the current crop of young limited-government, pro-freedom stalwarts like Jim DeMint, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul to get reinforcements like Jeff Flake (AZ), Ted Cruz (TX), Josh Mandel (OH), Richard Mourdock (IN), and Mark Neumann (WI). And we need them and whatever allies they can muster to fight for new, bold leadership. I bet Tom Coburn wouldn’t worry about angering Harry Reid or prepare to embrace failure and defeat.

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The power to destroy

Posted by Richard on July 3, 2012

Howard Rich at Investor’s Business Daily:

Nearly two centuries ago Daniel Webster stood before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of James McCulloch, head of the Baltimore branch of the Second Bank of the United States.

At issue were two basic questions: Did the federal government have the authority to establish a bank? And did states have the authority to tax that bank (and by extension the federal government)?

“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, the power to destroy,” Webster famously argued in opposition to the latter question. Chief Justice John Marshall agreed, parroting Webster’s words almost verbatim in his ruling. “That the power to tax involves the power to destroy … (is) not to be denied,” Marshall wrote.

Yet this “undeniable” premise — first invoked in 1819 on behalf of an onerous expansion of federal authority — has been explicitly rebuked 193 years later in support of an even more onerous expansion of federal authority. In fact the destructive power of taxation has just been extended far beyond a mere list of items subject to duties, imports or levies — it can now actually compel participation in the private sector.

More than at any other time in American history, the power to tax has indeed become the power to destroy — our economy, our liberty and perhaps one day even our lives. Chief Justice John Roberts’ refusal to rein in this destructive force will have immediate and lasting reverberations.

RTWT.

Apologists for Roberts have argued that his opinion cleverly constrained the Commerce Clause — as if he didn’t have the option of making the same finding as part of a majority striking down Obamacare in its entirety, and as if there were no dispute regarding Roberts’ ruling (see numerous July 1-3 posts on the Volokh Conspiracy about whether Roberts’ discussion of the Commerce Clause is a holding or a dictum).

Even if the ruling modestly restricts the federal government’s powers under the Commerce or Necessary and Proper Clause, so what? The power to tax is the power to destroy. And Roberts has given them permission to impose punitive taxes for failing to obey their dictates. Limited government, my ass.

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The power to tax and broccoli

Posted by Richard on June 28, 2012

During oral arguments on Obamacare, Justice Alito asked if the federal government can force us to buy broccoli. In today’s ruling, Chief Justice Roberts has answered that question: No, but it can force us to pay a penalty “tax” for failing to buy broccoli.

So, although the Commerce Clause doesn’t quite give the federal government unlimited power, it effectively has unlimited power anyway.

So says what passes for a conservative justice.

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Obamacare upheld 5-4, Roberts joins statists

Posted by Richard on June 28, 2012

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, basically arguing, “We can’t stretch the Commerce Clause far enough to justify the individual mandate, but the penalty is sort of like a tax, so let’s just call it a tax. And everyone knows that the government can do whatever it wants with regard to taxes. Oh, but Congress said it’s not  a tax … so I guess it’s not really a tax, and the Anti-Injunction Act doesn’t apply.”

Based on such nonsense, the entire monstrosity survives. Because of this unprincipled “mainstream conservative” weasel. Disgusting.

Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito joined in a dissenting opinion, and Thomas also filed his own dissenting opinion. I look forward to reading that one.

Bill Wilson of Americans for Limited Government:

The U.S. Constitution died today.  The underlying hope and belief that our nation’s founding document protected individual freedoms from an ever encroaching government is a thing of the past based upon this ruling.  It is inconceivable how these nine lifetime appointed jurists could have decided to keep a law that is such a blatant intrusion into each of our lives, but the result of their decision is that individuals can no longer rely on the federal government power being limited by anything other than the political pressure their individual elected representatives feel.  Ultimately, the Supreme Court has opted out of the battle to retain our freedoms, and has thrown in entirely with those who advocated for unlimited government authority.  It is truly a sad day for our nation.

Indeed.

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Obamacare pace car

Posted by Richard on June 9, 2012

Pretty funny picture. Most of the caption suggestions are pretty lame, but I like this one:

Is this one of those “Cadillac” health plans we keep hearing about?

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The bogus auto insurance comparison

Posted by Richard on March 28, 2012

In debates over Obamacare’s health insurance mandate, its defenders invariably trot out the comparison with mandatory auto insurance. I’m really getting tired of it. But I’m even more tired of what a crummy job Obamacare opponents do of countering that bogus argument. Inevitably, the first thing out of their mouths is something like “that’s a state mandate, not a federal mandate.” Next, they usually stammer that “driving on public roads is a privilege.” Talk about missing the key point!

No state mandates that you carry collision and comprehensive insurance on your car (or, for that matter, insure yourself against injury). Of course,  if you borrow money to buy a vehicle, your lender will require that you have collision and comprehensive insurance as a condition of making the loan; they have a legitimate interest in protecting the property that secures the loan.

But state mandatory auto insurance laws only require you to purchase liability insurance (and in five states, uninsured motorist coverage) in order to cover property damage or injury to someone else. The purpose is to indemnify others against damages you cause. In some states, in lieu of liability insurance you can post a bond or provide other evidence of financial responsibility. In a couple of states (South Carolina and Virginia), you can just pay an uninsured motorist fee (around $500) and be on your way.

Whether that’s a legitimate exercise of state power is arguable. I say it’s not. If I’m concerned about being hit by someone who’s not financially responsible, I can buy uninsured motorist coverage (I am and I do). If I choose not to, I’ve voluntarily assumed the risk that I’ll be unable to recover damages from someone who hits me. But I sure wouldn’t man the barricades over the issue. On the long, long list of examples of government overreach, that one has to rank very near the bottom.

In any case, mandatory automobile liability insurance is not analogous to a mandatory health care policy on yourself (whose prime purpose in Obamacare is to force healthy people to subsidize the less healthy) and is entirely irrelevant to the debate over Obamacare.

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A grim anniversary

Posted by Richard on March 24, 2011

One year ago today, ObamaCare became the law of the land. In the Wall Street Journal, freshman Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) offered a personal and moving op-ed piece about this abomination and the consequences if it's not repealed:

Today is the first anniversary of the greatest single assault on our freedom in my lifetime: the signing of ObamaCare. As we consider what this law may do to our country, I can't help but reflect on a medical miracle made possible by the American health-care system. It's one that holds special meaning for me.

Some years ago, a little girl was born with a serious heart defect: Her aorta and pulmonary artery were reversed. Without immediate intervention, she would not have survived.

The infant was rushed to another hospital where a surgeon performed a procedure at 1 a.m. that saved her life. Eight months later, when her heart was the size of a small plum, an incredibly dedicated and skilled team of medical professionals surgically reconstructed it. Twenty-seven years later, the young woman is now a nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit where she is studying to become a nurse practitioner.

She wasn't saved by a bureaucrat, and no government mandate forced her parents to purchase the coverage that saved her. Instead, her care was provided under a run-of-the-mill plan available to every employee of an Oshkosh, Wis., plastics plant.

If you haven't guessed, this story touches my heart because the girl is my daughter, Carey.

Please go read the whole thing.

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