Patterico's Pontifications

8/16/2016

NYT Editorial Board Calls for Rearrangement of Titanic Deck Chairs

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:59 pm

[guest post by JVW]

As a follow-up to Patterico’s post earlier today regarding Aetna’s decision to drastically cut back on their participation in ObamaCare state exchanges, the hopelessly dumb New York Times editorial board types out a typically mindless editorial assuring the Obama Administration’s fan club that this is but a “hiccup” in the irreversible and ongoing establishment of a permanent role for the federal government in administering health care:

[S]ome big national insurers like UnitedHealth, Humana and now Aetna say they are losing too much money on marketplace policies. The reason is that the customers they signed up used more medical services than the insurers had anticipated. On Monday, Aetna said it would reduce the number of counties where it sells such policies to 242, from 778, citing a $200 million pretax loss on those policies in the second quarter. The company had sold marketplace policies to about 911,000 customers as of April.

Losing money will focus your mind in that way, won’t it? The editorial goes on:

There have been questions about Aetna’s motives. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, said the insurer could be pressuring the Justice Department to drop or settle a lawsuit it filed last month to block Aetna’s proposed $37 billion acquisition of Humana. She and others have pointed out that as recently as April, Aetna’s chairman and chief executive, Mark Bertolini, told analysts that he considered the company’s presence in the marketplaces “a good investment.” And in May, Aetna said that it might expand into other parts of the country. Aetna says that the lawsuit did not influence its decision to reduce participation.

So an administration with a propensity for exaggerated happy-talk and playing hardball politics is upset that Aetna might be engaging in exaggerated happy-talk and playing hardball politics? Shocking. The conclusion from the NYT:

It is clear, however, that Congress should strengthen the marketplaces to ensure sufficient competition. For example, it could encourage more healthy people to buy insurance by extending tax credits to families that now earn too much to qualify. Many of those people find it cheaper to pay the tax penalty for not having insurance than to buy it. If more healthy people participated, more insurers would want to be on the exchanges. Congress and state governments could also consider offering a government insurance plan in rural areas and other places where there is little or no competition, as President Obama and Hillary Clinton have proposed.

The Affordable Care Act was passed allegedly to address three huge challenges: (1) millions of Americans lacked health insurance, (2) premiums were rapidly rising far beyond inflation and increases in wages, and (3) health care costs (Medicare and Medicaid especially) were eating up a larger and larger share of the federal budget. Today we know that despite the full implementation of the trillion-dollar ACA: (1) 33 million Americans still lack health insurance coverage, (2) premium increases still vastly outstrip economic growth, and (3) health care spending as a percentage of GDP continues to rise.* According to the NYT editorial board — the supposed cream of American journalism — the answer is for the government to throw even more money into the system by subsidizing the healthy young people whose premium payments we were promised would subsidize the otherwise uninsurable who need to consume more expensive health services. It’s like borrowing money at 8% to pay off your credit card balance which is growing at 7%, but far be it for the New York Times to figure that out.

The editorial concludes by pompously telling us that “Any law as complex and comprehensive as the Affordable Care Act is bound to have some hiccups. The only sensible response to those problems is to improve the law.” Because Heaven forbid any government spending program ever be subject to scrutiny and sensibly discontinued due to a failure to meet its objectives.

– JVW

* According to the downloadable spreadsheet at the link, health care spending as a percentage of GDP has risen as follows: 1960 – 5.0%, 1970 – 6.9%, 1980 – 8.9%, 1990 – 12.1%, 2000 – 13.3%, 2005 – 15.5%, 2010 – 17.3%, 2014 – 17.5%. Unsurprisingly, the promised “savings” from ObamaCare have failed to materialize.

Aetna Pulling Out of Most ObamaCare Plans As Premiums Rise

Filed under: General,Stark Choice — Patterico @ 6:45 am

USA Today:

Health insurer Aetna plans to cease its participation in the Obamacare health exchanges in all but four states.

The company’s decision, which it blamed on heavy losses tied to the insurance plans, follows similar moves by competitors such as UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer.

Aetna said that in 2017 it would cease offering health care insurance options through the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 68.9% of the counties where it offered plans in 2016. It will continue offering certain plans in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia. Affected enrollees will keep their plans through the end of 2016 but must find alternatives for next year.

Aetna sustained a second-quarter pre-tax loss of $200 million on its individual health care plans, though that figure includes results from insurance offered outside of the Obamacare exchanges.

Meanwhile, premiums are going up astronomically in places all over the country:

[T]he Rube Goldberg mechanisms of Obamacare are sending insurance premiums into the stratosphere. Pennsylvanians are looking at a 41 percent increase for 2017. In Kentucky, Humana customers will see rates rise 31 percent next year. Blue Cross in Montana seeks a 62 percent increase. Even in Connecticut, deemed one of the great successes of the Affordable Care Act, consumers will likely see rate increases rise more than 20 percent.

Needless to say, this was not what the administration and the law’s congressional sausage grinders led us to expect. As recently as last October, they were assuring the public that the cost of the average health insurance plan would rise only 7.5 percent this year.

If only we had chosen a nominee who actually opposed ObamaCare, rather than one who says he likes the mandate, and is going to take care of everybody’s health care and have the government pay for it. We face a stark choice this November, between a candidate in favor of government health care with a D after her name, and a candidate in favor of government health care with an R after his name.

Choose wisely! The stakes could not be higher lower!

Modern Feminists Still On Their Knees Before Bill Clinton

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:26 am

[guest post by Dana]

Last year, without any seeming self-awareness, Hillary Clinton pandered to her base of young female supporters who buy into the nominee’s dog-and-pony feminist show:

Untitled

This also appeared on her campaign website.

Not long afterward, Clinton, after being asked at a campaign rally by a rape survivor whether the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting them, like Juanita Broaddrick, should also be “believed,” was compelled to answer:

Well, I would say that everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence.

This weekend, BuzzFeed published a sad and infuriating interview with Juanita Broaddrick. She, of course, is the former nursing home administrator who claimed that Bill Clinton raped her in 1978. Bill Clinton denied the accusation.

Rebecca Schoenkopf, editor of Wonkette and now rape apologist, has written a revealing response to the Broaddrick interview, and in doing so, reminds readers of the sick mental contortions feminists twist themselves into as they continue to rationalize Bill Clinton’s bad behavior toward women. If it’s Bill Clinton sexually assaulting a woman, then by default, it can’t really be sexual assault:

There is simply no reason Hillary Clinton would have known jackshit about it; Bill Clinton was always lying to her, and she loved him, and she kept believing him when it was long past silly to do so.

I can absolutely see Bill Clinton doing this (then, not now) and not even thinking of it as rape, but thinking of it as dominant, alpha sex. I can see a LOT of men doing that during that time period, before we started telling them in the ’80s, “hey, that is rape, do not do that.” I can see YOUR NICE GRANDPA doing that, back then.

“Rape is about power, not sex.” For those for whom it’s about power, those are the serial rapist guys, and they hate women and want to punish us. But I don’t think that’s in every case. I think good men can rape, and be sorry, and not do it again. This is very bad feminism.

Here’s Schoenkopf’s summation of that purveyor of notoriously bad feminism:

To sum up, I think Bill Clinton could very well have raped Juanita Broaddrick; that it doesn’t make him an evil man, or irredeemable (I’m Catholic; we’re all forgiven, if we’re sorry, and Broaddrick says Bill Clinton personally called her up to apologize). It doesn’t even necessarily make him a bad feminist — you know, later, once he stops doing that.

It’s unbelievable to me that in 40 years, women on the left are still utterly dishonest and unable to simply call a rapist a rapist.

While Schoenkopf makes efforts to convince us that Hillary’s love for Bill blinded her to his abuse of women, Hillary herself has once again revealed what she thinks of women like Broaddrick, women who suffered greatly at the hands of her husband and other practitioners of “bad feminism”:

The Clinton campaign has removed a pledge from its website stating that all survivors of sexual assault “have the right to be believed.”

On a page dedicated to “Campus sexual assault” on HillaryClinton.com, this passage from the Democratic presidential candidate used to be prominently featured last year: “I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault: Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed, and we’re with you.”

But by February of this year, those lines had been deleted, according to BuzzFeed News.

The online website says the scrubbing came after the election-cycle reemergence of Juanita Broaddrick, who has accused Bill Clinton of raping her in 1978 when he was lieutenant governor of Arkansas.

–Dana


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