Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category
Philip Klein’s blistering article highlights the administration’s happy talk as BS. This information is particularly illuminating:
For instance, an HHS chart, which Zients boasted about, shows system uptime now at 95.1 percent (excluding scheduled maintenance), which compares to 42.9 percent a month ago. But, the industry standard is for websites to be available for users 99.9 percent of the time. Anything below that is considered a failure and 95.1 percent is a disaster.
A 2012 study by web monitoring firm Panopta that looked at the performance of 130 major retailers’ websites from January to August 2012 found that the lowest uptime rate was 99.34 percent.
Another study by web performance firm Pingdom that looked at retail websites during the 2011 holiday shopping season, found that nearly half of the websites (such as Amazon and eBay) were up 100 percent of the time. The lowest performing was Foot Locker, which was at 98.573 percent.
A 95.1 percent uptime means that over the course of a year, a website would be down for about 18 days. Alternatively, imagine what a disaster it would be for sales if, during the holiday shopping season, Amazon’s website were down for about a day and a half, excluding scheduled maintenance.
Brit Hume has a unique perspective on HealthCare.gov, which he explained here:
CHRIS WALLACE: Having said that, Brit, don’t they have a lot riding on how this goes, the next few weeks?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Of course. I think the website is a little better. We were on it yesterday, just to see what, you know, might be out there, what might be available. The site works better. You can get through and check plans.
It’s not going to remind you anytime soon of Amazon.com or eBay, but it’s in the clunky sort of way it works. In the state of Virginia, which we were, where we live, we were seeing what might be available to, that might be comparable to the wonderful plan we have here at Fox, and there was, there were plans available from exactly one company.
The best plan available, for my wife, had, we tried to see how many of her doctors were covered by, included in the plan, zero.
Now, that’s one person. Many others will have a different experience, those who get subsidies are likely to do well under this, but I think there are going to be continuing complaints and problems going forward, pretty serious ones.
This sentence is the sentence by which everything should be judged:
It’s not going to remind you anytime soon of Amazon.com or eBay.
As Philip Klein stated earlier, Amazon’s website is functioning perfectly 100% of the time during the Christmas season. This is the insurance companies’ busiest time of the year, too. Democrats have tried convincing people that health insurance prices have flattened because of the ACA. Brit Hume quickly dispensed with that myth:
HUME: Well, first of all, the question of costs. Costs started leveling off around the time of the big economic downturn around 2008. They remain essentially flat, or grown only slightly since. So whether we can attribute any of these cost savings to ObamaCare I think is doubtful. And that does remain a big question.
In other words, the administration is attempting to take credit for something it had nothing to do with. Mr. Hume made one final point that’s worth noting:
HUME: Only exchange experience we had yesterday, there was no platinum plan available. I was able to find one later on einsurance.com which seems to work fairly smoothly in distinction from the Obamacare Web site, but not on the exchanges. This thing is a mess.
In other words, HealthCare.gov is still a trainwreck. What’s worse is that the private sector’s websites had plans that weren’t available on the federal government’s exchanges. That means the exchanges aren’t reflecting a full range of options for health insurance shoppers.
Here’s a question for ACA supporters. Given the fact that HealthCare.gov is totally unreliable, especially compared with eBay and Amazon.com, why should we trust the federal government exchanges?
Last week, I spotted a headline that said the Obama administration didn’t want to make a Bush-like “Mission Accomplished” statement. I wish I would’ve copied that link because the Obama administration appears to have made their own “Mission Accomplished” statement:
HealthCare.gov team claims victory: ‘We have met the goal’
That’s a self-serving statement if ever I heard one. What goal was met? Was the goal a political goal? If yes, was it also a policy goal? More importantly, who set that goal? Most importantly, is it a goal that the American people are satisfied with?
Based on this document, I suspect that the answer to that last question will be an emphatic no:
The most telling statement is on the last page:
As the metrics detailed in this report reveal, dramatic progress has been made on improving HealthCare.gov. There is more work to be done to continue to improve and enhance the website and continue to improve the consumer experience in the weeks and months ahead. The new management system and instrumentation have helped improve site stability, lower the error rating below 1%, increase capacity to allow 50,000 concurrent users to simultaneously use the site and will help drive continuous improvement on the site. While we strive to innovate and improve our outreach and systems for reaching consumers, we believe we have met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.
This sentence says everything about what a mess HealthCare.gov is:
There is more work to be done to continue to improve and enhance the website and continue to improve the consumer experience in the weeks and months ahead.
In other words, HealthCare.gov has improved but it’s still a gigantic mess. That isn’t what patients who’ve lost their insurance want to hear. Again, we return to question whose goals were met.
Having the administration say that HealthCare.gov has significantly improved in the first sentence, then admitting there’s months of of work still ahead on the last page of a document, won’t build the American people’s confidence.
This morning on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume talked about visiting HealthCare.gov in Virginia where he lives. He said that there weren’t any platinum plans available through HealthCare.gov, though he later said that there was a platinum plan available through e-Surance.com. Mr. Hume later noted that HealthCare.gov was nothing like the experience one expects from Amazon.com or other similar sites. Mr. Hume finished by declaring that “this website is still a mess.”
The Obama administration might be satisfied with the progress made on HealthCare.gov but they don’t get to cast the deciding vote on what’s successful. The American people cast that vote and, based on recent polling, they aren’t impressed.
Technorati: HealthCare.gov, Obama Administration, Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Exchanges, Platinum Plan, Mission Accomplished Moment, Progress Report, President Obama, Democrats, Brit Hume, We The People, Amazon.com
Greg Gutfeld’s column offers the perfect explanation why the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA, is destined for failure. Mr. Gutfeld starts by highlighting what iTunes would look like if it was a government invention:
Now imagine if iTunes had been run by the government. This is how I see it:
To enjoy my recently repurchased Marshall Crenshaw’s song “What Do You Dream Of”, I’d have to pay for an additional 19 songs I do not want, in order to help pay for someone else’s desire to listen to Ke$ha. Or worse, Enya. The iPod would come with a mandated airbag, and it would be the size of a baby’s head, and weigh 45 lbs. It would require that 34 percent of the music I purchase be polka. It would probably start overheating after an hour of use, break down, and give you thyroid cancer.
But as a reasonably compensated guy, the government believes that my desires for my music would require purchasing other music I don’t want, and I’d have to subsidize the musical choices belonging to some old guy I don’t even know.
And chances are all the music would suck (think Dave Matthews and Maroon 5). It would all cost more and satisfy less, which is what happens when choice is replaced by coercion.
That’s essentially what the ACA requires. This isn’t pie-in-the-sky. Those are the principles behind the ACA. Young healthies are essential to the equation because their overpaying pays for older, less healthy enrollees. Then Gutfeld explains why it’s destined for failure:
My point: just as civilization is moving toward an endless fragmentation allowing for options beyond our wildest expectations, President Obama believes the opposite course is “the right thing to do.” It is his warped version of progress. It’s no different than a young man staring at the advances in medicine and thinking, “No thanks, I’ll take the newt’s tail and onion powder for my cancer.” Ancient Chinese secrets no longer are acceptable medicine, except with Obamacare, what’s retro is now progress.
It’s like choosing to eat raw meat even when you know fire’s been invented and works reasonably well under certain circumstances. That’s what Obama is doing. He’s staring at a Ferrari V4i, and thinking, “No thanks, I’ll take this penny-farthing.”
There’s no questioning that world is going megachoice. President Obama’s ‘reform’ relies on limiting choice. By definition, the ACA is a dead man walking. The choice movement is the irresistible force. For all of this administration’s efforts to fix HealthCare.gov, the ACA’s biggest flaw is that it limits appealing choices.
So, you can be depressed over Obamacare, because it’s worth being depressed about. But it can’t win. Not against the human, creative mind and its desire for options. Sooner or later it will collapse, and then people will have the freedom to choose — the way health care should have been from the start.
It isn’t a question of whether the ACA will collapse. The only questions still to be answered are when will it collaps and how much destruction will it cause before it collapses. Charles Krauthammer wisely stated that anything that can’t be sustained won’t be.
Technorati: Greg Gutfeld, Free Market Capitalism, iPods, Affordable Care Act, Command and Control Economy, Individual Mandate, Employer Mandate, Minimum Required Benefits, HealthCare.gov, President Obama, Democrats
It isn’t surprising that the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, aka ABM, put together a deceitful collection of myths about the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA.
Saying that Minnesota has the lowest rates in the nation doesn’t mean that insurance premiums didn’t go up with the ACA. It simply means they’re the cheapest premiums in the nation. It’s quite possible to have health insurance premiums go up. In fact, it’s inevitable because the required minimum benefits drive health insurance premiums up. That they’re the cheapest in the nation just means that other states’ health insurance premiums just went up more than Minnesota’s.
I read tons of articles a day and I don’t recall any conservative accuse Gov. Dayton of lying about people who like their plans could keep their plans. I’ve heard tons of people from across the political spectrum accuse President Obama of lying about keeping the policies people liked.
ABM is right, though, that Gov. Dayton told people who had their health insurance canceled that he wouldn’t let those insurance companies sell the old policies that people liked.
This sentence simply isn’t credible:
I know you’re going to say that 140,000 Minnesotans got cancellation notices, Aunt Phyllis, but the truth is it’s illegal in Minnesota to cancel health coverage.
I’d love hearing the explanation for that, especially since the ACA requires companies to cancel insurance that doesn’t meet the ACA’s minimum required coverages. If ABM isn’t lying, then it means that Minnesota health insurance companies aren’t complying with the ACA. In other words, ABM is accusing Minnesota health insurance companies of breaking federal law.
Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s ‘leadership’, MnSure is a national laughingstock. It’s the only website I’ve seen that gets weekends and holidays off. We’re the only state with Paul Bunyan ads and Mickey Mouse service.
While it’s true that MnSure is working better than HealthCare.gov, that isn’t exactly a high bar to clear. It simply means it’s outperforming a total political and policy disaster.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Health Insurance Exchanges, MnSure, HealthCare.gov, Strawman Arguments, Non Sequiturs, Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Affordable Care Act, Insurance Cancellations, President Obama, Broken Promises, Democrats
If you want to read an article that’s filled with political vindictiveness and terrible writing, I’d recommend this article from the AP’s Laurie Kellman. Here’s Ms. Kellman’s opening
A month after emerging from a government shutdown at the top of their game, many Democrats in Congress newly worried about the party’s re-election prospects are for the first time distancing themselves from President Barack Obama after the disastrous rollout of his health care overhaul.
For people keeping score at home, that opening sentence is 45 words long. Run-on sentences of that length don’t help people focus their attention. English instructors frequently recommend that writers keep sentences to 18 words or less. Here’s how that paragraph would’ve looked had I written it:
After winning the government shutdown, congressional Democrats are worried about their re-election prospects. Now Democrats are distancing themselves from President Obama after the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov.
Thank God for ‘professional’ writers. Seriously, what person would be interested in the rest of the article after Ms. Kellman’s opening? It gets worse because Ms. Kellman transitions from unprofessional writer to professional political hack:
Cummings, the White House’s biggest defender in a Republican-controlled committee whose agenda is waging war against the administration over the attack in Benghazi, the IRS scandal, a gun-tracking operation and now health care, said he still thinks Obama is operating with integrity.
Chairman Issa’s agenda thus far has been to highlight this administration’s dishonesty and incompetence. When President Obama and Secretary Clinton ignored Christopher Stevens’ frequent impassioned pleas for more security, they ignored him. As a direct result of their passivity, Ambassador Stevens and 3 other American patriots were executed in Benghazi.
That isn’t “waging war against the administration.” That’s investigating a tragic incident that didn’t need to happen. Investigating the IRS’ targeting of conservative organizations isn’t “waging war against the administration.” It’s investigating the abuse of power that’s happened all too frequently with this imperial administration. It’s a legitimate investigation because abuses of power of this scope can’t be tolerated. Period.
Let’s not be naive. There are political consequences for these foolish decisions. Congress is questioning President Obama’s integrity because he isn’t a man of integrity. The American people have noticed. As a result, President Obama’s approval ratings have dropped dramatically.
Hillary Clinton’s integrity hasn’t dropped…yet. She left Washington, DC before Greg Hicks’ riveting testimony about what happened that night in Benghazi. There will be a political price to be paid for her passivity and terrible decisionmaking. How high of a price she’ll pay isn’t knowable at this time. Suffice it to say it might be a steep price.
Republican members of Chairman Issa’s committee haven’t editorialized. They’ve asked professional, probing questions. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Their job is to investigate, not to be the administration’s stenographers.
If President Obama’s administration hadn’t made this many major mistakes, Chairman Issa’s committee wouldn’t have been justified in investigating this many things. Because they made this many egregious mistakes, Chairman Issa was obligated to investigate.
If that constitutes an attack in Ms. Kellman’s mind, then it’s safe to say she’s a stenographer, not a reporter.
Yesterday, HHS announced that another part of the Affordable Care Act is getting delayed:
The White House is delaying the launch of its online small-business exchange by one year, a Health and Human Services (HHS) official confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday.
The delay is another setback for the troubled enrollment process of President Obama’s signature healthcare law.
Companies with fewer than 50 employees were slated to begin buying coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), an online ObamaCare exchange, this month. The exchange’s delay means small businesses will instead have to seek out coverage through an agent or broker.
The ACA’s tax increases started on time. Anything that included a penalty has been implemented on time, with the exception of big corporations and big labor.
The health care law, President Obama’s latest name for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is a dead man walking. Democrats are panicking bigtime. If President Obama hadn’t held his ‘mea culpa press conference’ 2 weeks ago, Democrats might’ve already abandoned him for all intents and purposes. He headed off a full-fledged stampede with that press conference. Temporarily.
HealthCare.gov is a disaster. State-run exchanges aren’t working well either. Millions of people have gotten cancellation notices saying that the health insurance they liked will expire at midnight New Year’s Eve. The new policies come with higher premiums, higher deductibles and tinier networks of coverage.
In other words, the new policies replacing the policies they’d originally bought are substandard policies. (So much for President Obama’s promise that the new policies would be better and cheaper.)
The healthcare law allows small businesses to either offer a single plan to all of their workers or pick a certain benefit level and let workers choose among plans at that level. The HHS delayed the latter option earlier this year, saying it’s too complicated for insurers to implement right away. Workers will still not be able to choose from an employer-approved benefit level of plans during the one-year delay.
It finally dawned on the administration that administering health insurance is complicated. What a revelation. It isn’t surprising that the Obama administration has looked like the latest iteration of the Keystone Cops.
World famous explorer Will Steger has joined forces with the Sierra Club and local environmental extremists in their attempt to shut down the Becker power plant, aka Sherco 1-2:
Regulators want to hear what citizens think about Xcel Energy’s giant coal-fired power plant in Becker, Minn.
As long as they keep it to three minutes.
As a courtesy to prominent climate activists, the state Public Utilities Commission has set aside time at its Dec. 5 meeting to hear their views on a procedural matter with implications for the future of coal-based electricity in Minnesota.
Polar explorer Will Steger and St. Paul attorney Barbara Freese, author of “Coal: A Human History,” are among the activists who want regulators to consider shutting down the two oldest coal units at Xcel’s Sherco power plant by the end of the decade.
What these militant environmentalists want, though they won’t admit it, are high-priced electricity. They’re also pushing for Minnesota to rely on unreliable energy sources:
Minnesota is on the road to a clean energy future. Our state is on track to get 25 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2025, and this year Minnesota established solar policies that will mean 34 times more solar in 2020 than today.
That’s just part of the Sierra Club’s agenda. They also want to eliminate natural gas:
Natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections, and disregard the health of entire communities. “Fracking,” a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations, is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.
That’s an important part of the Sierra Club’s agenda but there’s more to it:
Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. The Beyond Nuclear team works with diverse partners and allies to provide the public, government officials, and the media with the critical information necessary to move humanity toward a world beyond nuclear.
That’s right. The Sierra Club, which is the driving force behind shutting down Sherco, essentially wants to eliminate the most reliable forms of energy. Their goal is to replace these reliable energy sources with unreliable energy sources.
There’s nothing centrist about these activists. Solar and other forms of renewable energy aren’t just unreliable. They’re expensive, too. That’s what President Obama meant when he said that, under his cap & trade plan, electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket.” If cap & trade were implemented, the only types of electricity-producing energy would be solar and wind, which are extremely expensive and unreliable.
Simply put, the Next Generation Energy Act should be repealed and Beyond Coal’s petition be ignored. The Sierra Club isn’t a centrist organization. It’s a militant environmentalist organization that’s skilled at putting on a centrist show to promote their extremist agenda.
Technorati: Will Steger, Sierra Club, Next Generation Energy Act, Beyond Coal, Beyond Natural Gas, Beyond Nuclear, Solar Energy, Wind, Cap And Trade, President Obama, Environmental Extremists, Becker Power Plant, Public Utilities Commission
This CNN/ORC polling contains some disturbing news for the Obama administration, starting with this:
November 18-20, 2013 44% applies, 56% doesn’t apply
According to the report, that’s a huge drop. In 2010 and 2011, 57-58% of people said that President Obama inspired confidence. That’s a 25% drop. The bad news doesn’t stop there:
Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think it applies or doesn’t apply to Barack Obama.
Is honest and trustworthy
November 18-20, 2013 46% applies, 53% doesn’t apply
As recently as May, 2013, 58% said that President Obama was honest and trustworthy. That’s a 20% drop in 6 months. As a result, people aren’t giving President Obama the benefit of the doubt anymore. That’s why President Obama’s worst days still haven’t arrived. Another ‘casualty’ of President Obama’s drop on the trust issue is that it’ll hurt Democrats in the generic ballot polling.
Michael Barone notes that President Obama defeated Mitt Romney in 209 districts across America. There’s no way of knowing how many of those districts would still vote for President Obama if they got a do-over. In a recent poll, Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama by a 49-45% margin. It’s reasonable to think that some of those 209 congressional districts would flip in a do-over race.
The effects of this polling is spilling over into other things:
Democratic leaders claim the bungled launch of Obamacare is just the latest news sensation, a media-stirred tempest that looks in the heat of the moment like it could upend the midterm election, but ends up fizzling well before voters head to the polls.
Some party strategists say they’re in denial.
And that perceived gap between party spin and facts on the ground is fueling worries that the White House and Democratic higher-ups aren’t taking the possible electoral blowback seriously enough or doing enough to shield their candidates. Democratic contenders in the toughest races are distinctly less convinced that Obamacare will fade as an election-year issue and they can’t afford to just cross their fingers that things get ironed out or that Republicans revert to political hara-kiri.
Democratic strategists don’t need to worry about the party doing more to help Democrats. They’re inextricably tied to the Affordable Care Act. The American people won’t distinguish between Democrats who didn’t defend the Affordable Care Act and Democrats who stuck to the party line. They won’t make that fine of a distinction.
It’s too early to predict a wave election. It isn’t too early to notice that the electorate is mad as hell. That isn’t good news for President Obama.
President Obama is a political captive of his own political identity. That’s the emphasis of Salena Zito’s column:
The crowd expected the president to deliver a speech filled with reassurances about the problems associated with ObamaCare. Instead, he offered biting partisan rhetoric that tried to blame Republicans for the failures of his signature health-care bill.
In politics there is always an exit door. But policy is a much different room: Exits are hard to find because you can’t escape law, especially a law on which you have based your entire legacy.
Obama’s staff also appears in need of a fire escape.
That same day was the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, which the president chose not to honor by attending a ceremony marking it. White House senior aide Dan Pfeiffer gave a prickly response to National Journal columnist Ron Fournier’s Twitter question about what on the president’s schedule was more important than the Gettysburg anniversary.
“Oh, I don’t know, there’s this whole website thing that someone suggested might destroy the Dem Party,” Pfeiffer tweeted from his official White House account.
Pfeiffer unwittingly revealed what everything is about with this administration: salvaging Obama’s political legacy and his relationship to Democrats. In short, politics.
When Candidate Obama delivered the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in 2004, he talked about bipartisanship:
The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.
That’s the type of soaring rhetoric that fueled President Obama’s meteoric rise. As we’ve seen over the past 5 years, it’s rhetoric that isn’t matched by reality.
Obama cannot move (nor can his advisers successfully advise) because, so far, he has never convincingly projected himself as a president for everyone, because he is at odds with half of the country’s values and traditions.
For all his talk about the need for red states and blue states to unite into the United States, President Obama’s actions have portrayed a man isn’t interested in the red states. If he had his way, he’d rather just have blue states.
When President Obama was inaugurated, the nation wished him nothing but success. Had he chosen to be a statesman, he could’ve been the man that ignited the next great Democratic era. Instead, during one of his first opportunities to be a statesman, he famously told Eric Cantor that “We won.” As a result, the Democratic Party wrote a totally partisan stimulus bill. Because Democrats didn’t choose statesmanship, all but 3 Republicans voted against the stimulus bill.
Rather than doing what’s best for the nation, President Obama’s administration chose to ram through a highly ideologically divisive agenda. In 2010, America rejected the Obama administration’s divisive agenda and swept Republicans into the majority in the House, with Republicans gaining 63 seats.
Telling Americans that you cannot honor Lincoln’s words 150 years later because you have to fix a website that you botched and a Democratic Party that you unraveled — but you can honor the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech — is disturbing.
First, without the former, you would not have had the latter. And, second, what you are telling Americans with such a decision is that politics is everything to your presidency.
President Obama’s sense of history is limited. While he sees himself as an historic figure, he hasn’t understood that it isn’t about him. Great, transformative presidents understand that it’s about something bigger than themselves. Thanks to President Obama’s arrogance, Democrats will experience 2 major thrashings in the midterm elections.
Technorati: President Obama, Affordable Care Act, I Have A Dream, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, Red States, Blue States, Keynote Speech, Democratic National Convention, Democrats, Midterm Elections
Last night, Clinton consigliere Lanny Davis threw President Obama under the proverbial Clinton bus during his interview with Megyn Kelly. I was astonished that he made this statement at the outset of the interview:
LANNY DAVIS: Well first, I hate the idea that we’re blaming Barack Obama when other people like myself and members of Congress have supported for years this national health care idea. I think we all let the American people down by not thinking through how complicated trying to revolutionize the health care system would be and I think we have to fess up that we messed up and maybe hit the reset button and start to take another look at a more incremental approach that brings Republicans over so this isn’t a partisan issue anymore.
Part of Davis’ statement indicates that he wants Democrats to not get hurt in the 2014 midterm elections. Part of him is willing to accept partial responsibility for approving of the Affordable Care Act. That said, there’s no doubt that the Clintons have a purpose in sending Lanny Davis into this situation.
Their purpose is to get rid of the Affordable Care Act before Hillary’s campaign. The last thing she wants to do is deal with this disaster. By getting out in front of things, she can look more moderate while casting President Obama as a hard-line ideologue. Watch the entire interview here:
The entire interview lasts 5 minutes so it’s well worth your while.