Saturday, July 6, 2013

At some point this becomes a parody

"Obamacare subsidies will be operating on the honor system until at least 2015."

From The Washington Post:
The Obama administration announced Friday that it would significantly scale back the health law’s requirements that new insurance marketplaces verify consumers’ income and health insurance status.

Instead, the federal government will rely more heavily on consumers’ self-reported information until 2015, when it plans to have stronger verification systems in place.
Heck of a week for Obamacare. And for rule-by-regulators, who are becoming more important than Congress every day.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Look what these crazy pro-lifers are doing

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed an abortion bill today that requires an ultrasound before the procedure. "That’s just the medical standard. To confirm the gestational age of the pregnancy, before any procedure is done, you do an ultrasound."

Unbelievable, right? Only a crazy, right-wing troglodyte would require an ultrasound be done. Oh, that's actually a quote from a Planned Parenthood official, confirming to Commentary the abortion provider's policy.

Not surprising, of course, but the media's stories today say nothing about that, making it seem like Walker and the Republican legislators are somehow inventing a need for an ultrasound. The articles do, however, talk up the lawsuit Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups are planning.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

"The coming of a new life always excites our interest."

I recommend reading the entire speech Calvin Coolidge gave on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, but here is my favorite paragraph:
We are obliged to conclude that the Declaration of Independence represented the movement of a people. It was not, of course, a movement from the top. Revolutions do not come from that direction. It was not without the support of many of the most respectable people in the Colonies, who were entitled to all the consideration that is given to breeding, education, and possessions. It had the support of another element of great significance and importance to which I shall later refer. But the preponderance of all those who occupied a position which took on the aspect of aristocracy did not approve of the Revolution and held toward it an attitude either of neutrality or open hostility. It was in no sense a rising of the oppressed and downtrodden. It brought no scum to the surface, for the reason that colonial society had developed no scum. The great body of the people were accustomed to privations, but they were free from depravity. If they had poverty, it was not of the hopeless kind that afflicts great cities, but the inspiring kind that marks the spirit of the pioneer. The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.
I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Obama Administration says President Jindal or Walker can ignore Obamacare

Not exactly, of course, but if the employer mandate can be delayed by executive fiat, why not the entire bill in January 2017?

Aside from being another sign of how ham-handed the writing of Obamacare was, getting more people to buy their own insurance -- and not getting it through their employers -- is a good thing. Conservatives have long argued for that.

"If the employer mandate were to ultimately be repealed, or never implemented, today’s news may turn out to be one of the most significant developments in health care policy in recent memory," Avik Roy writes.

This also has implications for the immigration bill. Why should any House Republican believe President Obama will enforce a bill as it is written? He could -- and would -- just ignore the part(s) he doesn't like.

(Update: A theory from Scott Gottlieb on why the delay was announced:
The Obama team’s stated purpose seems superficial. It’s doubtful that reporting requirements alone drove this decision. If it was just a problem with reporting requirements, some of those provisions could have been delayed without nixing the entire provision. Perhaps the administration was seeing the effects of the insurance requirement on new hiring. Perhaps they’re staring at a bad jobs report later this week.

Hospitals ditching Obamacare program

"Over the weekend, Bloomberg reported on the latest challenge to Obamacare: hospitals leaving one of the law’s signature attempts to contain health costs," writes James Kidd on He quotes from a piece on
Almost a third of 32 hospitals and health systems involved in an experiment aimed at changing the way medical providers are paid may exit the program, a potential threat to [Obamacare’s] ambitious cost-saving goals.
While reminding readers of then-candidate Obama's promise that if you like your health care, nothing will change (except it becoming less expensive), Kidd adds
One of the reasons hospitals are leaving the ACO program involves government red tape. In order to manage their patients most effectively, hospital systems want access to real-time medical claims data—but Medicare’s lumbering bureaucracy can provide information on health claims six months after the fact. As the CEO of one hospital organization told Bloomberg, “We’re asking for more agility than the system is really set up to produce.” The other reason for the ongoing ACO struggles centers around the euphemistically termed “clinical control”—in other words, patients’ ability to see the doctor they want. The Bloomberg article notes that right now, hospitals in the ACO program “can’t forbid the patients from seeing doctors or other health providers who aren’t part of the Pioneer system.” Hospitals believe this restriction on their ability to manage patients has prevented them from containing costs as much as originally hoped.

Monday, July 1, 2013

WSJ looks at Obamacare premiums

Another day, another article about how much higher insurance premiums will be under Obamacare:
In Richmond, a 40-year-old male nonsmoker logging on to the eHealthInsurance comparison-shopping website today would see a plan that costs $63 a month from Anthem, a unit of WellPoint Inc. That plan has a $5,000 deductible and covers half of medical costs. By comparison, the least-expensive plan on the exchange for a 40-year-old nonsmoker in Richmond, also from Anthem, will likely cost $193 a month, according to filings submitted by carriers.
Ben Domenech responds in an e-mail sent out by the Heartland Institute (sign up for free here):
As much as the left is prepared to move the goalposts on this issue, the American people remain most concerned about the costs of premiums. Failure to address this problem is Obamacare’s Achilles heel, and it represents the primary reason that those who have discussed repealing the law continue to do so. Will Americans react vociferously to these rate increases? That depends on how much they connect it to the president’s law – and if opponents have any say in it, they will.
Going by my posts the last week, I should probably rename this blog "Obamacare and thoughts on Religious Liberty," but there hasn't been much campaign news. And those are two of the biggest challenges facing this country right now. I hope to keep updating after my semi-vacation ends, and as always you can follow me on Twitter @joshgosser.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tim Carney on the threat to religious liberty

"Try to live your own life according to traditional values, and the state will come after you, and compel you live according to its values." He details how wedding photographers and florists are being attacked for their worldview, with the key part being:
How does Ferguson justify using the power of the state to impose his morality? "If Ms. Stutzman sells flowers to heterosexual couples," the Seattle Post-Intelligencer quotes Ferguson saying, "she must sell them to same-sex couples."  But obviously Stutzman did sell flowers to same-sex couples, happily - that's why this particular client was a long-time customer. What she refuses to do is participate in a ceremony that the state calls marriage, but which she doesn't consider to be marriage.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. As Ben Domenech notes, churches will essentially be roped off from doing anything but services in some states that do not pass strong religious liberty protections. Even in Illinois, a gay marriage bill was opposed in the legislature precisely because of how restrictive it was of those rights. Europe has largely eschewed any protections:
In contradiction of this view, the Council of Europe affirmed in 2007 that “states must require religious leaders to take an unambiguous stand in favour of the precedence of human rights, as set forth in the European Convention of Human Rights, over any religious principle.”
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