Archive for the ‘Media’ Category
Thanks to George Will’s response to Chris Wallace’s question about climate change, we have clarity on the issue:
Here’s a partial transcript of Brother Will’s response:
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: …I’m one of those who are called deniers. And the implication is that I deny climate change. It’s impossible to state with clearer precision the opposite of my view, which is that, of course the climate is changing. It’s always changing. That’s what gave us the medieval warm period. That’s what gave us, subsequent to that for centuries, the little Ice Age. Of course it’s changing. When a politician on a subject implicating science, hard science, economic science, social science, says the debate is over, you may be sure of two things. The debate is raging and he’s losing it. So I think, frankly, as a policy question, Chris, Holman Jenkins, Kim’s colleague at the “Wall Street Journal” put it perfectly. The only questions is, how much money are we going to spend? How much wealth are we going to forego creating in order to have zero discernible effect on the environment?
There’s actually another question worth asking in light of President Obama’s recent golf outing in California:
Regulations for new coal plants would increase electricity prices by as much as 80 percent, an Obama administration official told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the DEPArtment of Energy, told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight board that carbon capture and storage technology was still not ready for prime time.
“The precise number will vary, but for first generation we project $70 to $90 per ton [on the wholesale price of electricity],” Friedmann said. “For second generation, it will be more like a $40 to $50 per ton price. Second generation of demonstrations will begin in a few years, but won’t be until middle of the next decade that we will have lessons learned and cost savings.”
This means that the CCS technology the administration is pushing for would increase electricity prices initially, but that prices would come down a bit once better technology is developed. But electricity prices would still be higher than they are now.
It’s disgusting that President Obama insists that he’s the champion of the middle class. The middle class will get hit hardest by this rate increase. While it isn’t technically a middle class tax increase, there’s no question that this is another Obama administration policy that hurts the middle class.
President Obama is the champion of the middle class the way Bonnie and Clyde were bank security advocates.
Technorati: Climate Change, President Obama, Cap And Trade, Medieval Warm Period, Climate Change Deniers, Middle Class Squeeze, Middle Class Tax Increase, Democrats, George Will, Chris Wallace, Fox News, Holman Jenkins, Wall Street Journal
People who didn’t see the Obama-O’Reilly confrontation on Super Bowl Sunday should follow this link to read the transcript of the interview. Saying that President Obama didn’t look at the top of his game is understatement. Here’s something where President Obama looked foolish:
O’REILLY: All right.
Was it the biggest mistake of your presidency to tell the nation over and over, if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance?
OBAMA: Oh, Bill, you’ve got a long list of my mistakes of my presidency…
O’REILLY: But, no, really, for you…
OBAMA: — as I’ve (INAUDIBLE)…
O’REILLY: — wasn’t that the biggest one?
OBAMA: But this is — this is one that I regret and I’ve said I regretted, in part because we put in a grandfather clause in the original law saying that, in fact, you were supposed to be able to keep it. It obviously didn’t cover everybody that we needed to and that’s why we changed it, so that we further grandfathered in folks and many people who thought originally, when they got that cancellation notice, they couldn’t keep it or not (INAUDIBLE)…
That’s an outright lie. It wasn’t a mistake that the grandfather clause offered little protection. It was intentionally written to force people off of their health insurance policies and into the exchanges. To quote Charles Krauthammer, it wasn’t a glitch. It was a feature.
President Obama’s deceitfulness hurt him in this exchange, too:
O’REILLY: All right. Libya, House Armed Services testimony, General Carter Ham, you know, the general?
OBAMA: Yes. Right.
O’REILLY: Security in Africa.
O’REILLY: He testified that on the day that the ambassador was murdered and the three other Americans, all right, he told Secretary Panetta it was a terrorist attack. Shortly after Ham, General Ham, said that, Secretary Panetta came in to you.
O’REILLY: Did he tell you, Secretary Panetta, it was a terrorist attack?
OBAMA: You know what he told me was that there was an attack on our compound…
O’REILLY: He didn’t tell you…he didn’t use the word “terror?”
OBAMA: You know, in the heat of the moment, Bill, what folks are focused on is what’s happening on the ground, do we have eyes on it, how can we make sure our folks are secure…
O’REILLY: Because I just want to get this on the record…did he tell you it was a terror attack?
OBAMA: Bill — and what I’m — I’m answering your question. What he said to me was, we’ve got an attack on our compound. We don’t know yet…
O’REILLY: No terror attack?
OBAMA: We don’t know yet who’s doing it. Understand, by definition, Bill, when somebody is attacking our compound. That’s an act of terror, which is how I characterized it the day after it happened. So the question ends up being who, in fact, was attacking us?
O’REILLY: But it’s more than that…because of Susan Rice.
OBAMA: No, it…
O’REILLY: It’s more than that because if Susan Rice goes out and tells the world that it was a spontaneous demonstration…off a videotape but your…
O’REILLY: — your commanders and the secretary of Defense know it’s a terror attack…
OBAMA: Now, Bill…
O’REILLY: — I’m just confused.
OBAMA: And I’m trying to explain it to, if you want to listen. The fact of the matter is is that people understood, at the time, something very dangerous was happening, that we were focused on making sure that we did everything we can, to protect them. In the aftermath, what became clear was that the security was lax, that not all the precautions and that needed to be taken were taken and both myself and Secretary Clinton and others indicated as much.
First, it shouldn’t have taken time to know that security was lax. Ambassabor Stevens had been screaming at the top of his lungs that al-Qa’ida was gaining strength in eastern Libya. There was a gigantic hole in the wall at the consulate. Secretary Clinton and President Obama both should’ve known about that because that isn’t routine information that’s handled by people low in the food chain. That’s information they need to know about. That’s why I’m certain that both of them knew about the deteriorating conditions in Benghazi.
It’s more than that, though. O’Reilly is right in identifying Susan Rice’s appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows as a game-changing event. There’s no reason for the administration to send out someone who wasn’t properly informed. That’s if you believe that she was ill-informed, which I don’t believe. If she spred misinformation on those shows, then we’re looking at an administration lying to protect themselves during a political campaign.
This part is especially damning:
OBAMA: Bill, listen, I’ve gone through this and we have had multiple hearings on it. What happens is you have an attack like this taking place and you have a mix of folks who are just troublemakers. You have folks who have an ideological agenda.
O’REILLY: All right.
OBAMA: You have some who are affiliated with terrorist organizations. You have some that are not. But the main thing that all of us have to take away from this is our diplomats are serving in some very dangerous places.
The attacks weren’t random acts of violence. The military knew within moments that this was a well-coordinated attack executed with military precision. Right before Rice appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer interviewed the Libyan president. Libya’s president said without hesitation that this was a terrorist attack carried out with military precision.
Rice then insists that it was the result of a riot that started because people objected to an internet video by an obscure videographer. That’s utterly laughable, especially considering the fact that most people in northern Africa don’t have access to the internet.
By this point, President Obama is clearly frustrated. He’s frustrated because the lapdog media doesn’t insist on getting to the bottom of things. This exchange shows how frustrated President Obama is:
O’REILLY: I’ve got to get to the IRS…
O’REILLY: but I just want to say that they’re, your detractors believe that you did not tell the world it was a terror attack because your campaign didn’t want that out.
OBAMA: Bill, think about…
O’REILLY: That’s what they believe.
OBAMA: — and they believe it because folks like you are telling them that.
O’REILLY: No, I’m not telling them that.
O’REILLY: I’m asking you whether you were told…
OBAMA: But — and what I’m saying is…
O’REILLY: — it was a terror attack and you…
OBAMA: — and what I’m saying is that is inaccurate.
First, President Obama accuses O’Reilly of telling lies to the people. Then he says that he simply asked a question. Finally, he said that O’Reilly said some things that weren’t accurate.
Essentially, what happened is that President Obama accused a journalist of lying to the people; when that didn’t work, he insisted that he was simply asking a question. When that didn’t work, President Obama resorted to form by accusing Mr. O’Reilly of people inaccurate information.
What’s inescapable is the fact that President Obama isn’t skilled at truthfully and fully answering tough questions. It’s easy to see it frustrates him.
The chief message from Greta van Susteren’s post is that FNC’s reporters just wanted the administration to tell us the truth about Benghazi. Greta put together quite a compelling case, starting with this:
So let’s take a little walk in history…just a sample of how the Obama Administration tried to shut Fox News Channel’s reporting down:
In the early days after Benghazi, the State Department omitted only Fox News Channel from its conference call to all the media when it claimed to be answering questions about Benghazi for the media. Our friends in other media outlets were scandalized that Fox was not included and told us all about it. They were suspicious of State Department forgetting us/Fox and courageous to tip us off. The State Department claimed it was accident and not intentional.
And then shortly thereafter, there was the CIA briefing about Benghazi at the CIA for all the networks except one: Fox News Channel. The CIA would not let Fox News Channel attend.
Leftist apologists for this administration insist that Fox News isn’t really a news organization, that they’re just a front for the RNC. While there’s no doubt that FNC has more conservative pundits on its staff, there’s equally no doubt that their straight news people are straight shooters.
Let’s start with Greta. I suspect, though it’s just a hunch, that she used to be a liberal. These days, again it’s just a hunch, I’d bet that she’s an independent. She questions Republicans just as Democrats. Nobody is let off the hook when they try slipping a question. Megyn Kelly is the same way.
FNC’s correspondents fit that same mold. It’s impossible to tell what James Rosen’s politics are. Ditto with Jennifer Griffin and Catherine Herridge, the chief Pentagon correspondent and chief Intelligence correspondent, respectively. These women have outclassed the other networks’ reporters about Benghazi for the most part. The exception to that has been CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson.
These 3 women have uncovered piles of government documents telling people in the government what happened the night 4 American patriots were assassinated. In short, if liberals want to discredit FNC’s reporters, they’d best be prepared to explain why a) emails within the administration verify what FNC’s reporters have reported and b) why the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report verifies FNC’s reporting. Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s treachery and threats against Fox don’t stop there:
And then as I was sitting at my desk thinking about the reporting since September 2012, I thought about the weirdest of all and the worst of all for me personally! I remembered a disturbing phone call from a good friend in the Obama Administration. I have known this friend for years. The call was a short time after 9/11 (maybe Oct. 2012?) In the call, my friend told me that my colleague Jennifer Griffin, who was reporting on Benghazi, was wrong and that, as a favor to me, my friend in the Administration was telling me so that I could tell Jennifer so that she did not ruin her career. My friend was telling me to tell Jennifer to stop her reporting. Ruin her career?
In 20 plus years, I have never received a call to try and shut down a colleague, not that I even could; this was a first. Here is what I know: Jennifer is a class act, experienced and a very responsible journalist. One of the absolute best in the business, no axe to grind, she just wants the facts.
I told my friend before I go to Jennifer telling her she is wrong, I need proof she is wrong, strong proof and you need to be specific; what are you saying she is getting wrong? We went around and around, including the statement again that this was just a call as a favor to Jennifer and me to save Jennifer’s career from reporting incorrect information. I got no proof. Zero. I smelled a rat. Favor to me? Hardly. My friend was trying to use me. I feel bad that a friend did that to me, tried to use me for a dirty reason. I knew then, and it is now confirmed by BIPARTISAN Senate Intelligence Committee, Jennifer was getting her facts right. I think it is really low for the Administration to stoop this low.
That’s despicable. Then again, that’s what I’d expect from this administration. They’re more despicable than the Nixon administration when it comes to dealing with the press.
If the administration is interested in the truth, they shouldn’t have a trash-the-reporters strategy. Thankfully, they tried getting Greta to bite on their spin. That wasn’t just stupid. It was counterproductive.
Technorati: Benghazi Terrorist Attack, State Department, Obama Administration, Whisper Campaign, Democrats, Greta van Susteren, Jennifer Griffin, James Rosen, Megyn Kelly, Senate Intelligence Committee, Bipartisan Report
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
Last night, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm Emanuel’s brother and one of President Obama’s health insurance reform advisors, got caught spinning himself into the ground. About 3:15 into this video, Dr. Emanuel did some fancy tapdancing:
Here’s the confrontation between Megyn Kelly and Dr. Emanuel:
MEGYN KELLY: 5,000,000 people have already been cancelled so I’m not talking about the 7,000,000 people you guys are talking about.
DR. EMANUEL: That’s not a reliable number.
MEGYN KELLY: It’s at least 3,000,000 and the reports out tonight are that it’s closer to 5,000,0000.
DR. EMANUEL: Only on Fox is it 5,000,000.
It’s totally predictable that Dr. Emanuel would resort to that tactic when trapped. Dr. Emanuel was part of the original staff in the White House that insisted that Fox News wasn’t a real news station. With that bunch, which included Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, Anita Dunn and David Plouffe, their first mission was to totally discredit Fox News. They failed in that attempt. That isn’t the important part of the interview, though. This is:
DR. EMANUEL: No, that’s not right, Megyn. You’ve got the numbers wrong. 7,000,000 includes the people who were expected from the individual market…
President Obama stated emphatically and repeatedly that people could keep their health plans if they liked it and that they could keep their doctors if they liked them. Last week, he said that people could keep their health care plan if they liked their plan and it met the Obama administration standards. Those statements are opposites. If one is true, the other can’t be true. This quote seems appropriate here:
What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
At the Health Care Summit in Feb., 2010, Eric Cantor predicted that 7,000,000-8,000,000 people in the individual markets would lose their policies if the bill didn’t get changed. At the time, President Obama admitted that would happen, adding that people losing their policies would be able to replace those policies with better, less expensive policies.
One thing that’s been totally clear from the start has been Republicans’ contempt for the Affordable Care Act. George Will expressed it beautifully during last night’s SROnline show after the broadcast show. Here’s what Mr. Will said that I totally agree with:
This poor devil, like the other poor devils in 49 other states, is subject to a dumb law that prevents people from shopping for insurance across state lines. Turn on your TV tonight. You’re gonna see State Farm, GEICO, All State, Progressive. You don’t see that in health care because state legislatures want us captive so they can force us to buy things we don’t want to buy.
That’s one of the good things about this — well, there’s 2 good things — Juan regrets the loss of confidence. I’m for a loss of confidence in this type of government. What we need is far less of this type of government.
Here’s Juan Williams’ response to George Will, followed by Will’s response to Williams:
WILLIAMS: I know what you’re winning about. You’re trying to scuttle the whole thing.
This is important. Republicans should learn from Mr. Will. First, don’t hesitate in stating your informed opinion why the Affordable Care Act should be scuttled. The key is having an informed opinion. Cookie cutter or tit-for-tat criticism of the ACA won’t suffice. Confidently explaining the different ways that the ACA is hurting families, especially middle class families, is a political winner because it’s a substantive winner. This isn’t about good politics or partisanship.
Opposing the ACA is the right thing to do because it isn’t delivering, indeed can’t deliver, on the major promises of insuring everyone and lowering health care costs.
This video shows Megyn Kelly pulverizing Rep. Frank Pallone, (D-NJ), on what’s causing insurance companies to cancel millions of individual policies:
Saying that Rep. Pallone is a BSer is understatement. In fact, it’s quite possible that he isn’t a BSer. It’s possible that he’s just a liar. During the interview, Rep. Pallone continually insists that the reason why insurance companies are cancelling these policies is because they know that they can’t “sell inferior policies at higher prices.”
In the gospel according to Rep. Pallone, he and his Democratic allies alone are the only people qualified to determine which policies are superior and which are inferior.
It’s insulting to hear that bald-faced lie. CBS has run multiple reports on people who’ve lost their insurance because the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, makes it illegal for companies to sell the policies that people liked. CNN and Fox have run similar articles, too.
Further, we know that people aren’t fond of buying health insurance policies that cover neo-natal care, pregnancy coverage and substance abuse coverage. Millions of people don’t need those coverages. They shouldn’t have to purchase policies that include those coverages.
Let’s stipulate that the grandfathered in issue is a ruse. It isn’t a real issue. The federal government shouldn’t be telling people what coverages they must have. Under the Affordable Care Act, politicians and bureaucrats determine what coverages individuals and families must purchase. In a best practices world, families consulting with their primary care physicians would determine which coverages are needed.
Another absurdity of the Affordable Care Act is that it requires every health insurance policy sold in the United States cover the same types of things. The only difference between the bronze, silver and gold plans are the premiums, deductibles and co-pays. The smaller the co-pay or deductible, the higher the premium. The reason why that’s absurd is because the federal government thinks cookie-cutter policies fit each family’s needs perfectly.
Only a politician with an ego bigger than the Montana sky would think that identical policies fit each family perfectly. Rep. Pallone fits that description perfectly. He’s a dishonest politician. He knows the Affordable Care Act isn’t delivering health insurance policies that provide more coverage at lower prices.
In a post-Affordable Care Act world, people, acting on the advice of their primary care physicians, will buy policies that fit their families’ needs. There won’t be a need to grandfather policies in because the people, not government, will determine what they should buy.
Admitting that people have the ultimate authority for their decisions is a revolutionary concept. It’s why we fought the Revolutionary War.
I just watched today’s panel for Fox News Sunday. Juan Williams, the unapologetic water-carrier for this administration, made a statement that Brit Hume and Chris Wallace utterly demolished. First, here’s the video of the panel, courtesy of Mediaite:
Here’s the transcript of the back-and-forth between Brit Hume and Juan Williams, then between Juan Williams, Brit Hume and Chris Wallace. It’s rather telling:
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I get this sense, but people — on the Republican side are enjoying this moment. But this is empty rhetoric. When you speak to the insurance executives in Florida, in California, they say they’re canceling those policies, Chris, because ObamaCare has requirements. Ten categories or mandates for levels of coverage. The current policies don’t meet them, so they have to cancel them, but they’re extending — they’re extending offers to the very people who are losing them for better packages at lower costs with more benefits.
WALLACE: No, no, that’s not true.
WILLIAMS: It is true. Let me just tell you something else that you said. You said oh, but, you know, January One, these people lose their coverage. In fact, the insurance companies are saying, we will make sure that on January One, you have coverage. This is not the apocalypse.
HUME: Juan, look, what about this — the president promised explicitly, we heard it on this program, if you like the coverage you have now, you can keep it, period.
HUME: These hundreds of thousands of people evidently like the policies they had because they kept paying for it. They’re now being told they can’t have those policies any more, that they must have policies that involve coverage for things they may feel they don’t need.
WILLIAMS: They’re going to get better coverage, Brit, at potentially lower cost.
HUME: Whose idea of better coverage? Their idea or the government’s?
WILLIAMS: They — what they are offered, it may be their idea. Right now …
HUME: It may be their idea.
WILLIAMS: Right now all that insurance companies are saying is, we don’t meet the requirements under ObamaCare, but we’re going to offer you a better deal!
HUME: No, we’re going to offer you a government mandated deal that may or may not be a better deal for the people involved. There are people who are elderly people who’ve been required to pay for maternity coverage.
WALLACE: We have to end this segment, I just to want to point out that we had a couple of weeks ago, a letter that a 62-year-old couple who have their own business in Oregon — under the ObamaCare, they were losing their policy, the new policy, the cheapest policy they were being offered, the deductible was going to double to 5,000 a person. Visits to specialists, and one of them had to see a specialist, were going up from $35 a visit to $100 a visit and their premium was going up. So, the idea that they are going to get more for less.
Juan Williams is, in my opinion, the most gullible journalist on TV. First, he’s assumed that the coverages that the Affordable Care Act mandates are the coverages that everyone likes. That’s total foolishness. Second, the thought that insurance companies were going to offer cheaper-priced policies while covering more things is the epitome of gullibility. Why would anyone think that?
That’s like thinking that people can buy a Cadillac SUV for a cheaper price than Chevy’s full-sized SUV.
Third, it’s stunning to think that a reporter of Juan Williams’ experience hasn’t checked things out for himself. At minimum, he should talk with Kirsten Powers and Ezra Klein. They’ve actually compared prices people were paying before the Affordable Care Act’s minimum coverages took effect vs. the premiums for policies meeting the Affordable Care Act’s requirements.
What’s most stunning, though, is the thought that Juan Williams thinks that people automatically think that government, not them and their physician, knows best. Why would anyone reflexively think that? That’s breathtakingly foolish and gullible.
Brit Hume, then Chris Wallace, cited the statistics that disproved Williams’ statements. Despite that, Williams still didn’t accept their proof as fact. Apparently, verifiable facts aren’t part of settling Juan Williams’ disputes.
Finally, Williams isn’t noticing that young, healthy people aren’t buying government-mandated private health insurance. In fact, they’re staying away in droves.
Technorati: Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, Fox News Sunday, Media, Kaiser Permanente, Florida Blue, Insurance Cancellations, Insurance Premiums, Individual Mandate, Affordable Care Act, Juan Williams, Media Bias, Liberalism
This week, Charles Krauthammer’s book debuted at #1 for Amazon. Meanwhile, Kathleen Sebelius initially insisted that she didn’t work for the American people. Additionally, she got dumped from leading the team who put HealthCare.gov together. If that isn’t enough, most of the people signing up for health care are signing up for Medicaid:
CBS’s Jan Crawford reported on what’s happening. Here’s the key part of Ms. Crawford’s reporting:
JAN CRAWFORD: A CBS analysis shows that in many of the 15 states that have their own health insurance exchanges, more people are enrolling in Medicaid than are enrolling in private health insurance and there is concern that if that trend continues, there won’t be enough healthy people buying insurance for the system to work.
George Will explained this disaster-in-the-making in this video:
Here’s Mr. Will’s explanation of the disaster waiting to happen:
CHRIS WALLACE: George, is this just a contractor problem?
GEORGE WILL: No. It goes all the way to the top because it threatens the health care law itself and I’ll tell you why. First, this has produced some unintentional amusing moments. There was a headline I think we have that was in the New York Times this morning that contained a wonderful word.
WALLACE: “Republicans, Sensing Weakness in Health Law Rollout, Switch Tactics.”
WILL: Sensing weakness. That’s like saying the people of San Francisco sensed there had been an earthquake in 1906. And this is calamitous. Usually when we have a Washington debacle we recycle some form of the old Watergate question. What did the president know and when did he know it? The question here is what didn’t they know and why didn’t they know it? And the answer is almost everything because, in fact, they were not prepared for a massive social experiment. They don’t understand the complexity of what they’re doing.
The reason all this poses a mortal threat to the law itself is the problem of adverse selection, that is suppose too many signing up are sick. Now, young people, and they’re counting on 2.7 million healthy young people to sign up to have a good risk pool. Young people, who are technologically savvy, are going to go to the site and say this is disgusting, turn away and get a latte. Who’s apt to persist in this enterprise?
WALLACE: Sick people.
WILL: The sick people.
WALLACE: People who need it.
WILL: Exactly right. So this does pose an absolutely mortal threat of adverse selection.
Later, Will posed the cruelest of questions for Ms. Sebelius, asking “Who believes that this is going to be fine in the middle of March?” I certainly don’t think HealthCare.gov’s problems will be fixed by mid-March. The portal is still sending incorrect data to insurance companies. It isn’t accurately recording when people have successfully purchased health insurance.
That’s before talking about whether the software will accurately calculate whether a person/family is eligible for premium support and, if they’re eligible, how much premium support are they eligible for, then applying that to the actual price of the health insurance policy.
This thing is, at minimum, at least 6 months from being fully operational. Charles had a better week this week than Ms. Sebelius. It’s quite possible that she’ll be a former employee of the US government before Charles’ book isn’t part of Amazon’s best seller list.
Technorati: Kathleen Sebelius, Medicaid Expansion, Health Insurance Exchanges, Adverse Selection, Death Spiral, Affordable Care Act, Democrats, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Premium Support, Jan Crawford, Investigative Reporting
One of my favorite shows each week is the online version of Special Report With Bret Baier. It’s affectionately known amongst followers as SR-Online. Each Wednesday after the regular show, the panelists from the show to discuss various topics, with Bret Baier moderating the discussing much like he does during the regular roundtable. This week’s panelists were George Will, Julie Pace of the AP and Tucker Carlson of Fox & Friends Weekend. Here’s the first highlight from the show, courtesy of Mr. Will:
GEORGE WILL: Well, it is a solution a) to the immediate problem, which is, as Tucker said during the regular program, you can’t say that you’re going to get penalized for not buying X and b) we’ve made it impossible to buy X. That’s untenable.
Mr. Will says that position is untenable. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Will. Shortly after that, Will said this:
This one, being the signature achievement, this focus over the struggle of the government shutdown, to end the government shutdown and then go immediately into this fiasco, actually sorta erases the government shutdown.
Immediately after that, Bret Baier brought Julie Pace into the conversation, asking her how ironic would it be if, after Republicans first tried defunding the Affordable Care Act, then delaying the individual mandate, the thing that delays the individual mandate was the Affordable Care Act. Here’s Ms. Pace’s reply:
JULIE PACE, AP WH CORRESPONDENT: Doesn’t it just feel like the government shutdown was a really long time ago? I mean, we just went through that and it feels like the conversation in Washington, especially on Capitol Hill and at the White House has turned very quickly.
I’ve written, along with others, that Republicans didn’t clothe themselves in glory during the shutdown. I, along with many others, essentially said that the end of the government shutdown would quickly turn into the White House’s worst nightmare. For the White House, the worst is yet to come. As Mr. Will highlighted during the regular show, the disastrous rollout will “seem like the good old days” because, as I and others have said, the disfunctionality of HealthCare.gov is preventing people from the worst nightmare, which is the product.
The term sticker shock is quickly becoming Washington’s newest favorite buzzword. Unfortunately, it’s becoming lots of families’ worst nightmare because they’re getting dropped from the plans they’d been enrolled in and liked. They’re getting dropped because the policies that they liked don’t live up to the federal government’s demandments in terms of coverages.
I wrote here about how the government is the predator to be protected from. If people want to purchase health insurance policies that don’t have coverage for neonatal care or other government-mandated coverages, they should have that option. The government shouldn’t be telling me and my physician what coverages I must purchase.
Now that Washington’s biggest battles are being fought on the Democrats’ turf, the government shutdown seems, like Ms. Pace and Mr. Will have said, to have happened in a prior century.
As more people get cancellation notices from their insurance companies and families see dramatic spikes in their health insurance premiums and they find out that they can’t keep their doctor, Democrats will increasingly come under attack for having voted for the law or for not voting to limit the damage to families. That’s hardly dealing from a position of strength.
Technorati: Government Shutdown, Individual Mandate, Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Exchanges, Sticker Shock, Government Mandates, Democrats, Tucker Carlson, Julie Pace, George Will, Bret Baier, Media
When your opponents are destroying themselves, the best strategy is to step aside and let the destruction continue. Let their fingerprints be the only fingerprints found at the scene of the crime. That’s how I preface this video of Ted Cruz vowing to do anything he can to “stop the trainwreck that is Obamacare”:
Frankly, the best thing Ted Cruz, Jim DeMint and others can do to hasten the death of the Affordable Care Act is to step aside and let the exchanges destroy public confidence in the Affordable Care Act. With Democrats like Robert Gibbs saying that people should get fired for their incompetence in putting together the federal health insurance exchanges, the best strategy is to let them criticize it.
If the federal health insurance exchanges aren’t fixed by mid-December, when the next hostage-taking is scheduled, the GOP will have a compelling argument that the individual mandate should be postponed for a year. Tonight on the Special Report Roundtable, Juan Williams complained that “Republicans haven’t provided the monies that the administration asked for for this rollout.” Bret Baier, Howard Kurtz and Charles Krauthammer each criticized Juan, with Bret Baier gettin in the sharpest hit in this exchange:
JUAN WILLIAMS: Baucus was complaining that they didn’t have enough money to fully advertise and explain this complicated system.
BRET BAIER: I’m telling you, Juan, if you had all the advertising money in the world, the website still wouldn’t be working.
Bret Baier’s reply hit the heart of the matter. This isn’t just a PR nightmare. Putting lipstick on the Affordable Care Act pig won’t shift public opinion. As long as the exchanges don’t work, the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges won’t be popular. There’s no question that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been disastrous on multiple fronts. The HealthCare.gov website isn’t ready for primetime:
LUKE CHUNG: It wasn’t designed well. It wasn’t implemented well. It looks like nobody tested it.
JAN CRAWFORD: Luke Chung’s company builds online database programs. He supports the new health care law. He says it’s not demand that’s crashing HealthCare.gov. The entire website needs a complete overhaul.
LUKE CHUNG: It’s not close. It’s not even ready for beta testing from my book. I would be ashamed and embarassed if my organization delivered something like that.
The story shouldn’t include anything about Republicans. The story should be about people not being able to access the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges’ websites, the expensive health insurance premiums and high deductibles on the bronze level plans.
If a reporter asks for a Republican’s opinion, the response should be simple: “The facts speak for themselves. The exchanges don’t work. When people accessed the exchanges, people found that their health insurance premiums were high, the deductibles were expensive and they couldn’t keep their plan even though they liked it.”
Let everything point back to the disasters of the Affordable Care Act. Don’t bring politicians’ names into it. If it’s constantly about the policy provisions, Republicans sound like solutions-oriented public servants, not bitter politicians.
Howard Kurtz made the right observation when he said that it’s time to retire “the g-word — glitches.” He’s right. This isn’t about a few minor software adjustments that drive the website. It’s about a system that the government didn’t have the expertise to implement, much less run efficiently.
Health insurance policies bought through the exchanges are too expensive, even with the subsidies. The website doesn’t work. In too many instances, people can’t keep their existing plans. Finally, families’ health care costs will rise significantly thanks to the Not That Affordable Care Act.
Technorati: Ted Cruz, Jim Demint, TEA Party, Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Exchanges, Health Insurance Premiums, Insurance Deductibles, HealthCare.gov, President Obama, Democrats, Juan Williams, Bret Baier