I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage — they like their plan and, most importantly, they value their relationship with their doctor. They trust you. And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. (Applause.) If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. (Applause.) No one will take it away, no matter what. My view is that health care reform should be guided by a simple principle: fix what’s broken and build on what works.”
— Barack Obama
I’ve seen a number of Obamacare supporters arguing that the President’s promises about keeping plans and doctors carried a silent qualifier to the effect of “if they’re compliant with the new regimen.” Somewhat less frequent but still common are remarks to the effect that people whose plans have been cancelled should have known better, or that they’re stupid to want to keep their crappy plans. Probably they should have known (although Obama supporters who are ordinarily incensed with people who don’t take the President at his word are now incensed with people who did). Maybe they are stupid. Regardless, we wouldn’t be having this discussion if the President hadn’t lied — and it was a lie — repeatedly. Supporters of the legislation thought that the illusion of choice was critical to the success of the effort. The promises were an epic bait-and-switch, rivalled only by the disappearance of the vaunted “public option.”
In the excerpt from Obama’s 2009 address to the American Medical Association, the line about keeping one’s health care plan, period, is, I suppose naturally, subordinate to the line about keeping one’s doctor, period. Can you spot the silent qualifier in that clause? Yeah, me neither. And with the furor over the cancelled plans on temporary hiatus, awaiting the verdict on the state of the federal exchange in nine days and the verdict of insurers and regulators on extending the plans, the problem of losing one’s doctor is about to take center stage.
Continue reading I drink because I’m worried, people; I don’t drink because I’m dry
“I think we probably underestimated the complexities of building out a website that needed to work the way it should,” [President Obama] told the annual meeting of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council.
The [security] experts said the site needed to be completely rebuilt to run more efficiently, making it easier to protect. They said HealthCare.gov runs on 500 million lines of code, or 25 times the size of Facebook, one of the world’s busiest sites.
One of the most important repairs remaining deals with the information pages that the system provides to insurers about coverage applicants. These so-called “834s” have been riddled with erroneous information and, despite weeks of repairs, they continue to spit out incorrect data.
The enrollment, to give you a general sense of what’s happening, for a health plan that might have to sign-up 100,000 people in order to get their share of the 7 million Obama administration’s national enrollment objective, has grown from perhaps 10-15 enrollments a day a few weeks ago to 40-50 a day now … Backroom error rates being committed by Healthcare.gov, when enrollment data are transmitted to the health plans, are still far too high to transition to high volume processing without serious customer service issues.
The last quote is from an insurance industry insider, so take that into account in whatever fashion you think appropriate. I was too lazy to google the security experts cited in the bit about that aspect of the site, but 500 million lines of code? Holy crap. Can that be true?
Continue reading I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore
For whatever reason, the occasion of tax and spending cut negotiations has inspired tough-minded liberal thinkers to suggest that there’s virtue to be found in beating up poor people and Medicare-bound older folk. Full disclosure: I benefit from Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the program Nick Kristof hopes will be cut during the negotiations, and . . . → Read More: Shared sacrifice: In which both sides agree to throw some old folks and some poor into the volcano
BTC News has learned that senior Congressional Democrats are quietly directing staff members to organize an effort to pass Medicare-for-all legislation in the event the Supreme Courts strikes down the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, also know as Obamacare.
The staff members are reaching out to leaders of key advocacy groups for support of the effort. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee official told BTC News that the fight for universal health care in America will play a critical role in the reelection campaign of President Obama, and in the efforts of Democrats to regain control of the House and solidify control of the Senate.
Continue reading Democrats agree to push for single-payer health care system if mandate falls
Alan Fucking Simpson! is a former Senator from Wyoming. He hates Social Security and the “greedy geezers” who rely on it to sustain them in their later years, and he doesn’t understand why anybody who already gets Social Security cares about preserving the program for younger people when anyone can see that it’s none of their business. He is the co-chair of the current president’s completely gratuitous National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a name that translates to “the National Commission on Cannibalizing Social Insurance and Safety Net Programs.”
President Obama created the bipartisan commission when Congress, in an uncharacteristically sensible move involving some characteristically skeezy motives, decided not to. The prospective Congressional commission prefigured the late, unlamented Super Committee, which was designed to do the same thing—produce a list of proposals that Congress would either approve without amendment or disapprove. The president supported the plan, but most Senate Democrats opposed it and it went down when several Republicans who cosponsored the legislation voted against it on the grounds that the commission might somehow do something that could possibly redound to Obama’s benefit.
Good for them. Unfortunately, the president then appointed his own commission, but without the legislative imperative. He named Erskine Bowles, a conservative Democrat and wealthy investment banker, to represent liberals and the poor, and to hold down the cannibals’ corner he appointed the aforementioned cannibalistic Republican Alan Fucking Simpson!
Continue reading Alan Fucking Simpson! plus: SS v. ACA: comparing apples and a mouthful of tacks
The European countries acting on behalf of Greece’s creditors are bullies. Americans are saps. And a group of sane doctors may get the right result for all the wrong reasons.
As is the bully’s practice, the more the Greeks concede, the more the bullies demand. To this point the bullying has worked (for the bullies) but now the country’s managers are in fear for their political lives, at least, so the country looks as likely to default on its debts as to accept the latest turn of the screw.
Continue reading How the patience of the Greeks spells doom; plus, Crazed Doctors for Sanity
In recent years, both the civilian government and the military leadership have made a serious effort to elevate the cultural station of military personnel from that of citizen soldiers to the loftier and more separatist “warrior.” They’re all warriors now, and heroes. The end result is that both soldiers and civilians increasingly view the former as a breed apart.
That’s not a good thing. For obvious democratic reasons, one wants the military to identify and empathize with the populations whence they spring. Identifying common experiences is one way to do that, and one experience a lot of military personnel have in common with a lot of civilians is that they’re making crap money and the people signing their paychecks don’t seem to care much about them. Another is that if they lose their jobs, they’re in deep trouble almost instantly.
I ran across a couple of items yesterday that suggest an avenue for amplifying the Occupy protests within the U.S. by involving military personnel. One was a comment by my pal Schmutzie over at his place about a plan announced by Senators Carl Levin and John McCain to inflict some serious Bad upon veterans benefits, and the other was the first truly useful Twitter message I’ve received during my limited relationship with the service.
Continue reading Occupy the Military