Patterico's Pontifications

10/26/2009

ObamaCare: The weekend ICYMI

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:18 am



[Posted by Karl]

Weekends are the news graveyard, as anyone who has witnessed a Friday doc dump knows. Accordingly, I thought it would be useful to briefly round up some of the lesser-noted ObamaCare coverage folks may have missed over the past few days.

On Friday, James C. Capretta noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her “leadership aides” have claimed to reporters that they have gotten more favorable reviews of their updated bill from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), adding:

From a process standpoint, CBO should never allow members of Congress to characterize the findings of confidential cost estimates without consequences. Undoubtedly, CBO staff is told not to share its analysis with anyone until the bill is unveiled. But if House leaders decide to go public with CBO’s apparent bottom line, CBO really should be obligated to go public with the entire analysis to ensure no misunderstanding. Otherwise CBO’s findings can be distorted.

By Friday evening, the AP was reporting:

Democrats have touted an unreleased Congressional Budget Office estimate of $871 billion in recent days, a total that numerous officials acknowledge understates its true cost by $150 billion or more. That figure excludes several items designed to improve benefits for Medicare and Medicaid recipients and providers, as well as public health programs and more, they added.

About 36 moderate House Dems have warned that the House bill must bring down costs in the long term, while as many as 40 Dems may oppose bringing the bill to the floor over the subsidizing of abortion. Although the Blue Dogs are frequently threatened or bribed into submission, we should remember that Pelosi & Co. claimed they had the votes as far back as July, and we will be hearing a lot of Democratic gossip and propaganda about momentum while ObamaCare is cooked up in back rooms.

Speaking of which, the HuffPo continues to flog the Narrative that Sen. Maj. Ldr. Harry Reid is continuing to push for the “public option” without White House support. The latter is likely true, but whether the former is just for show remains an open question.

Also on the Senate front, the New York Times ran a piece on small businesses facing the steepest rise in insurance premiums they have seen in recent years. For those of you puzzled because the NYT rarely seems to care about the struggles of small business, note that key Sen. Mary Landrieu is very concerned about the problem. Whether ObamaCare is the solution is an issue I’ll be looking at in the not-too-distant future, but Prof. Tyler Cowen looks at how government mandates would make many people worse off.

On the executive branch front, Pres. Obama avoided talking about healthcare reform on his trip to Massachusetts. Bay Staters still like their flavor of reform, similar in most respects to the basic elements of ObamaCare — but costs have risen at double the national rate, and the inevitable rationing has yet to bite them. Pres. Obama was in Massachusetts to raise money for Gov. Deval Patrick, a/k/a David Axelrod’s beta version of Obama. The fundraiser was half-empty, as Obama acknowledged that Partick will be in a “tough race.” How tough? The most recent Suffolk University/7News poll shows only 29% think Patrick deserves to be re-elected.

–Karl

59 Responses to “ObamaCare: The weekend ICYMI”

  1. Racist

    JD (462660)

  2. Great post as always, Karl – did you happen to see the CNN survey that acknowledged that the majority of the country now seems deeply pessimistic about the economy’s future and also are dropping like flies in their belief about Obama in general?

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/25/obama.carter.reagan/

    Wow – CNN? If you’ve lost one of your main water – carriers, look out below.

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  3. Dmac, I don’t believe that BO being elected was the original plan.

    I think that the original plan was HRC as President, and BO is VP. That could have locked things down for the Democrats for sixteen years. Provided HRC did a good job, and I have to tell you, I think she would do better than we are seeing now.

    But HRC’s campaign fell apart, and BO moved in without the experience or proper mind-set. He isn’t experienced, and his staff makes mistakes all the time. But the MSM loves the idea of the man.

    Ideas don’t make good Presidents. And people are getting that, finally.

    Sure, I could be wrong. But the polls—in a MSM driven world that has a thrill up their leg for this guy—suggest otherwise.

    Eric Blair (dd11cc)

  4. The little president man’s dirty socialist Associated Press tried to bury this news on Sunday…

    Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That’s anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.

    Profits barely exceeded 2 percent of revenues in the latest annual measure. This partly explains why the credit ratings of some of the largest insurers were downgraded to negative from stable heading into this year, as investors were warned of a stagnant if not shrinking market for private plans.

    Yup. Our little president man is a LIAR is what this article says.

    Interesting.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  5. Legal profiteering is what it is, happyfeet.

    JD (ca6b04)

  6. What they are not saying and will not say is that the health insurance carriers want out of the business. Remember that the bulk of their business is NOT INSURANCE. They administer self funded health plans for big companies. They were supporting Obamacare because they thought they could get the same line of business in a federal program. Who runs Medicare ? Blue Cross in southern California. The administration was contracted out.

    I am still bemused by the fact that no one is talking about the most obvious cost saving reform; let the patient and doctor work out a private agreement. The insurance would pay a fixed price but allow balance billing. The second basic principle is to give up prepaid care. That is when costs went out of control. I was in the Medical Association House of Delegates in the 70s when the pediatricians and obstetricians were pushing for mandates for normal delivery and well baby care. This is not traditional insurance. When my oldest three kids were born, none of this was covered by insurance.

    What we are seeing is the agenda of the corporate state, the command economy. They feel the need to control everything. When the government controls everything, you get the deterioration of civil society, as has happened in Britain.

    Mike K (addb13)

  7. It’s anachronistic is what it is. Profit. In this day and age. Good God.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  8. To Eric Blair:

    If there was any plan to have HRC as the Prez and O. as the VP, I’d say it was scuttled by the big O.’s many illegal caucus activities. Unless you say that packing caucuses and engaging in physical intimidation is just a reflex, O. was in it to win it from the beginning.

    Is my opinion.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  9. Karl: You’re a fine, detailed writer, but this strikes me as another in a series of posts where you’re trying to convince yourself (and a few supporters) that a health care bill will not pass, when most signs point the other way. The tone reminds me of some posts and comments I read on conservative blogs in the run-up to the election, with people running all kinds of scenarios whereby McCain could win in the face of uniform polling showing Obama well ahead. Then, as now, I felt people were being set up for a very hard disappointment.

    Democrats are usually pretty disorganized, we all can acknowledge, and if there’s one party who can blow this advantage, it’s the Democrats. But dread of 1994 alone will lead to something passing, and I believe it will have a vestige or framework of a public option. (Thank you, Big Insurance for your ham-handed opposition to reform.) Polling showing public support up-ticking for the public option has also steeled some wobbly spines on the Hill.

    Harry Reid is supposed to be coming on at 3:15 p.m. today to advocate a public option, with an opt-out for states. This is according to The Swamp. Reid has been indicating he has 60 for this option. I’ll believe it when I see it, but there is not much doubt at this point some kind of bill will go through and get signed this year. I understand that Ben Nelson likes the opt out but your girl in Maine wants her trigger.

    The last step is making whatever joint bill the Dems come up with CBO-pretty, and I’m not thinking that’s going to be an easy step, despite what Nancy is saying.

    But hey, maybe that’s just me trying to convince myself. :)

    We’ll see what happens.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  10. The only way to make it CBO friendly, Myron, is to be fundamentally dishonest. But we already know that is cool with you.

    JD (3d1db9)

  11. Myron writes: “…this strikes me as another in a series of posts where you’re trying to convince yourself (and a few supporters) that a health care bill will not pass, when most signs point the other way …”

    But of course, Myron can’t list any such signs, never addresses Karl’s actual points and even helpfully gives us more reasons to doubt a bill with pass.

    What was your point again, Myron?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  12. JD: So, if the CBO scores it as deficit-neutral, or deficit reducing — as they did with Baucus’ bill and as Nancy says they’ve done with her bill — you will say the CBO is being fundamentally dishonest? I just want to clarify if that’s your point.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  13. Hmmm…

    “… this strikes me as another in a series of posts where you’re trying to convince yourself (and a few supporters) that a health care bill will not pass, when most signs point the other way…”

    Change the “will not pass” to “will pass,” and we have a explanation for a great deal.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  14. SPQR: I’m not going to get into addressing minor “troop movements” that don’t affect the overall outcome. You are correct that I do not consider that a good use of my time.

    For instance, Pelosi will have her caucus in line for a bill. That’s what matters, “at the end of the day.” What do I care if 40 Dems claim such-and-such and 36 Dems say yadda-yadda-yadda? Congressional critters love to run their mouths. You’ll waste a lot of time putting stock in each and every utterance.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  15. Oh, come on, Myron. Do you really not see the irony in your posts? Honestly?

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  16. Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That’s anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.

    Wow, that’s way more in administrative costs than the government will charge with a public option. According to Families USA, United Health Care made over 2 billion in profit last year (in the middle of a recession!). Maybe in Happyfeet’s world 2 billion in a recession is chump change, but I call it real money.

    Way to root for the little guy, happyfeet!

    timb (449046)

  17. Oh, come on, Myron. Do you really not see the irony in your posts? Honestly?

    Eric. Read the second to last sentence of my initial comment. I acknowledged that maybe I’m just playing the same game as Karl. But I suspect I’ll be right in the end and he will be wrong. Both are equally important to me. :)

    Myron (6a93dd)

  18. No, Myron, that was not my position. The CBO scores what they are told to. Since they were off by a factor of nearly 10 in their evals of Medicare, and off by a factor of 3 in the prescription drug bill, it seems readily apparent that they are given numbers to score with way flawed assumptions. Additionally, the idea that counting 10 years of revenue but only 6-7 years of costs is not an accurate picture. If they give us something that is actually deficit neutral, I would pass out. Any deficit-neutrality, to date, is based on Washington accounting.

    JD (3d1db9)

  19. JD: So, if the CBO scores it as deficit-neutral, or deficit reducing — as they did with Baucus’ bill and as Nancy says they’ve done with her bill — you will say the CBO is being fundamentally dishonest? I just want to clarify if that’s your point.

    Hell, Myron, he doesn’t know what the CBO is.

    By the way, way to go, Boilermakers

    timb (449046)

  20. I am the little guy. And $2 billion is nothing in the little president man’s world. Nothing at all. He wants to spend well over over a trillion on his third world health care scheme over the next ten years. This little country deserves better than the little president man’s ruinous rapings of our treasury I think.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  21. What percentage of profit do you deem to be acceptable, timb?

    JD (3d1db9)

  22. Sorry. I mean seven years. he wants to tax the middle class for ten years but only give 7 years of third world dirty socialist health care.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  23. The creepy little one is back at it today.

    FWIW, the Boilers beat my Illini, which is about as difficult as finding a comment where timmah is mendoucheous.

    Myron – If this is a crisis of epic proportions, why wait for implementation until after the next presidential election? Why are you willing to allow those millions of people to continue to die because of lack of health insurance for purely political reasons?

    JD (3d1db9)

  24. JD: Thanks for clarifying on the CBO. What do you see as a fix for this problem?

    Myron (6a93dd)

  25. What is the fix? Being honest is a good start. It is really not that difficult.

    JD (3d1db9)

  26. Myron, we’ve asked you the same question for months now – please answer it. If this is such a ginormous “crisis,” then why oh why are the Dems not enacting it until years down the road. What do you define as a legitimate “crisis?” Concurrently, please outline other events that past administations have deemed to be on an emergency footing, yet have not been dealt with until a few years have passed.

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  27. if the CBO scores it as deficit-neutral, or deficit reducing — as they did with Baucus’ bill

    I won’t claim the CBO is being dishonest, but there are a couple of things to remember here.

    First, there is no Baucus “bill”. What Baucus presented was a bunch of ideas, but no actual bill to be voted upon.

    Second, the CBO scored that as deficit neutral based on some assumptions that are almost certainly wrong.

    The first assumption was that some of the cost would be offset by cuts in Medicare and Medicaid; after the CBO annouced its scoring the White House said those cuts would not be made. So much for those savings.

    The second assumption was that the rest of the cost would be paid for by a heavy tax on so-called “Cadillac” health insurance plans. Anyone with more than two brain cells can predict what will happen when these plans are hit with a huge tax: employers will stop offering them, and the individuals who buy them on their own will move to cheaper plans. There won’t be anywhere near the tax revenue Baucus (and the CBO) had forecast.

    So, despite what the CBO said, there’s no way on God’s green earth that Baucus’s proposal is deficit neutral.

    Some chump (2429cf)

  28. Thank you, #27, for pointing out additional factors that I had left out.

    JD (9de9ff)

  29. I wonder if Myron will ever answer the 800 lb. Gorilla sitting in the corner?

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  30. Well, Dmac, it is instructive to see who endorses the intentional dishonesty of the Democrats in flogging these bills.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  31. Myron,

    Actually, I don’t think you and I are so far apart on this as you think. I have written that the big issue is “cost,” and you apparently harbor doubts as to whether Congress can produce a final product that is CBO-friendly, let alone reality-friendly.

    As for all of the “signs of progress,” I’ll remind you –as I have folks on the Right — that George Mitchell brought a merged bill to the floor in 1994, and was ultimately forced to pull it. The underlying policy problems Mitchell faced (mostly but not exclusively “cost” issues) remain today. Reid has a larger caucus now than Mitchell did, but he still has a margin of error of one.

    Karl (f07e38)

  32. If this is a crisis of epic proportions, why wait for implementation until after the next presidential election?

    As I’ve written on this blog, implementation of some provisions start next year — such as no denial based on pre-existing conditions. That’s assuming the bill introduced by Reid today retains that from the Baucus bill. What begins in 2013 is the mandate, among other provisions. And frankly, I’m sure people will appreciate the time to prepare.

    As you well know, since I’ve seen people complaining about such on this blog, the money-raising for the bill starts next year, too.

    BTW, delayed implementation is no great help for the president. I predict the program will over time prove to be pretty popular, once MAJOR tweaks are implemented.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  33. Dmac: I did address that question back on 10/13. See below. Of course, the information will change since what Reid rolled out today goes beyond state exchanges. (Thank goodness.)

    #

    More info: There will be initial federal funding for the state exchanges.

    The pre-existing condition changes go into effect within a year of enactment.

    This under-reported information is pulled from chairman’s mark of the bill: http://www.opencongress.org/baucus_bill_health_care.html#TITLE_I_SUBTITLE_A

    Comment by Myron — 10/13/2009 @ 8:53 pm

    Myron (6a93dd)

  34. BTW, if it’s not clear, that was the Baucus bill I was referring to the on the 13th. The bill Reid rolled out today — with the “opt-out” for states is the combined Finance (Baucus) Bill and Health bill.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  35. you apparently harbor doubts as to whether Congress can produce a final product that is CBO-friendly, let alone reality-friendly.

    Yes, correct, I do harbor those doubts. The Baucus bill, which got the CBO blessing, did not include the public option.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  36. “. . delayed implementation is no great help for the president. . .

    And, even more importantly, delayed implementation is no great help to Myron, who can’t afford health insurance now and wants other people to pay his bills now.

    Official Internet Data Office (a545b7)

  37. It is clear, Karl, that Myron cares very little about costs. Any concern he may have only relates to their ability to claim deficit-neutrality.

    Myron, that was not an answer to the question. If it is a crisis of epic proportions, why is it not being implemented immediately. It is no surprise that the punitive taxes will be implemented immediately.

    JD (a7fa4a)

  38. why is it not being implemented immediately.

    JD: I would assume that a change in our basic health care system cannot be implemented immediately, with no preparation. It’s kind of a big system, you may have heard. 1/6th of the economy etc. etc.

    Would you prefer haste? I thought your side wanted to slow things down?

    Myron (6a93dd)

  39. O.I.D.A.: Are you offering only silliness today? Why waste your time?

    Myron (6a93dd)

  40. So Harry Reid has a healthcare bill for the Senate, which has an “opt-out” “public plan.”
    Given that US citizens travel like water across the various state borders, the whole idea of an “opt-out” is completely bogus, since anyone from an “opt-in” state may try to use healthcare in an “opt-out” state, making Harry Reid’s Senate bill a functional reenactment of the “Missouri Compromise“.

    Neo (7830e6)

  41. So, punitive taxes are good immediately, but extending healthcare to those 47,000,000 uninsured can wait. Hell, Grayson tells us 44,000+ die every year due to lack of health insurance. He is willing to have 130,000+ die while you figure this out? Again, you refuse to directly answer a simple question.

    JD (78634e)

  42. Myron – what happened to the no tax increase on the middle class?

    JD (78634e)

  43. Myron:

    What JD wants depends on what Obama is doing. It is a pretty simple formula. All you have to do is complain about what is being done about any given situation.

    bells bells (08dac2)

  44. ^Trollbot 2000

    It’s kind of a big system, you may have heard. 1/6th of the economy etc. etc.

    So you’re expecting us to believe that the prior stimulus “crisis” was not a huge outlay, then? Please explain that rationale.

    Would you prefer haste? I thought your side wanted to slow things down?

    Again, the recent stimulus was crammed through on a moment’s notice, without any previous inspection by the MSM or the GOP, let alone most of the Dem party. Are you now saying that this enormous boondoggle should have been slowed down quite a bit? What about the incredible Detroit auto bailout, which was also rammed through on a moment’s notice, and was also based on a critical “crisis?” What are you saying here?

    I’m confused, Myron – maybe that’s because you’re still not answering my original question. Pleae try again.

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  45. Hells bells – What you know about me would not fill the bottom of a thimble. What you don’t know might fit in the Grand Canyon.

    JD (65ccb3)

  46. Huh? You don’t know how many thimbles will fit in the grand canyon? What does that have to do with your complaining about policies you don’t understand?

    bells bells (08dac2)

  47. ^Projection Trollbot 2000

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  48. bells bells, its a stupid meme that you have obviously read off of a Keith Olbermann teleprompter. Try to do better.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  49. SPQR – I didn’t know Olbermann used a teleprompter. I thought he pulled his DKos feed directly out of his ass.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  50. Let’s see if I can spell it out for you, bells bells (a previously banned troll). U r n id ee ut.

    JD (a4e58a)

  51. Reid has been indicating he has 60 for this option. I’ll believe it when I see it, but there is not much doubt at this point some kind of bill will go through and get signed this year.

    Reid admitted this afternoon that he does not have the 60 votes. There is also no explanation given as to how states will be able to opt out: governor, legislature, initiative. It’s rather vague. And desperate.

    Dana (e9ba20)

  52. October is nearly ended and the Democrats still have no clue what is actually in the legislation that is their biggest priority?

    Incompetence like this is just beyond fiction.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  53. SPQR – But we must pass it IMMEDIATELY !!!!!

    JD (1b1b1b)

  54. Hey, JD, wasn’t that “bells bells” entity a sock puppet, as well?

    Eric Blair (dd11cc)

  55. Yes, multiple aliases, Eric. I may be wrong, but I am not.

    JD (7f75c9)

  56. Myron types a lot of words, but does not say much. He’s like an Obama speech that way.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  57. Democrats are desperate.

    Myron states that Democrats feel they have to pass “something/anything” because they fear a repeat of 1994. Myron, do you really believe the Democrats lost huge in 1994 for failing to pass Hillary Care? Do you really believe that the public punished the folks who failed to pass government healthcare by voting in the party that opposed it?

    Myron – Dems lost in 1994 not because they failed to pass health care reform but because they tried to pass it in the first place.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  58. Despite the propaganda of the Democrats the public does not want the Post Office/Dep of Motor Vehicles running their healthcare.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  59. Eric: “I think that the original plan was HRC as President, and BO is VP. That could have locked things down for the Democrats for sixteen years. Provided HRC did a good job, and I have to tell you, I think she would do better than we are seeing now.”

    that was certainly Hillary’s plan, and likely the plan for the ‘establishment’ Dems, but the proggie Dems got stars in their eyes and put the sourcerer’s apprentice up.

    Myron – Dems lost in 1994 not because they failed to pass health care reform but because they tried to pass it in the first place.”
    – Dems will find out soon the consequence of their error – RINOs and liberal Dems replaced by realfiscal conservatives … Newsflash: DOUG HOFFMAN LEADS NY-23 RACE.

    Travis Monitor (8d33ce)


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