Tag Archives: Obamacare

Commentary Income Gap And Private Social Security Accounts


One of the reasons that the income gap is widening is the impact of the gain in the stock market – wealthy Americans invest disproportionately in the market.  The less wealthy, for several reasons, don’t invest in the market.

Because of this, those wealthy Americans that DO invest in the market are seeing gains to their income due to the power of the stock market – the gains are flowing to the wealthy.

Consider this fact when reflecting on arguments AGAINST private investment accounts in place of social security*.  The idea that we reform social security away from the government trust fund to a privately held account that could be invested at the discretion of the individual.

The arguments against this plan is that it would expose the money to the vagrancies of the stock market and places the individual at too much risk.

This is very similar to the arguments presented by the liberal when it comes to the importance of money.  It goes something like this:

There is more to life than money, therefore a degree in Renaissance Art of Western Europe is valuable in its own right and a career in that field can offer a full and rewarding life.  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer – we need more redistribution of the money!

On the one hand, the argument states that money isn’t important and then becomes surprised when people who do value money have more of it than people who don’t value money.

The stock market is a massively effective method of building wealth.  Buying stocks during the recession, not selling, was responsible for astonishingly large gains for many many people.

If you care about income disparity, and we know that a large reason for this disparity is the market, how can you disagree with private social security accounts?

* I say this knowing full well that the REAL argument against private social security accounts is the same argument against Obamacare – Individual Liberty.  Social Security is nothing more than a mandate to save money and a private account would be no different than forcing  people to buy health insurance.

Be Careful What You Wish For

ObamacareLook, I want life to work out well for everybody.  But when people are making horrible decisions, and I try and tell them that they are basically hurting themselves, I have little sympathy for them:

Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.

They are part of an unusual, informal health insurance system that has developed in New York, in which independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans, typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. That allowed them to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, historically among the most expensive in the country.

But under the Affordable Care Act, they will be treated as individuals, responsible for their own insurance policies. For many of them, that is likely to mean they will no longer have access to a wide network of doctors and a range of plans tailored to their needs. And many of them are finding that if they want to keep their premiums from rising, they will have to accept higher deductible and co-pay costs or inferior coverage.

“I couldn’t sleep because of it,” said Barbara Meinwald, a solo practitioner lawyer in Manhattan.

I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’

I told you so!

When We Said We Don’t Trust The Government

Big Brother

This is what we mean:

The California health exchange has admitted it has been divulging contact information for tens of thousands of consumers to insurance agents without their permission or knowledge in an effort to hit deadlines for coverage.

Covered California said it was handing out consumer information as part of a pilot program to help people enroll ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline to have health insurance in place by the new year, according to the Los Angeles Times. The consumers in question had gone online to research insurance options, but didn’t ask to be contacted.

Social Security numbers, income and other information were not provided to the agents, but names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses were made available, exchange officials said.

The names provided by Covered California include people who started an insurance application on the website but didn’t complete the process.

State officials say they do not know exactly how many people are affected by the information sharing.

Whoever is in charge, your team or mine, they are gonna think that what they are doing is in the best interest of the people.

And it just gets worse from there.

If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep Your Plan

The White House must be insane if they try and dispute the idea that this is the “Lie of the Year”

The White House on Friday said President Obama had “in a very honest way addressed” questions over his statement that individuals could keep their health care plans under ObamaCare, named by fact-checker PolitiFact as “Lie of the Year.”

“The president, in an interview earlier this fall, took this question head-on and expressed his concern for those individuals, those Americans, who received cancellation notices and were potentially adversely impacted by or affected by that,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

But the White House spokesman went on to jab the fact-checking organization, who in 2012 had declared the president’s statement “half true.”

“You know, end-of-the-year categorizations like that are always fun, even when they don’t jive with past characterizations of the very same statement, but we’re focused on implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” Carney said.

Stones.  Right there; that’s stones.

This isn’t the normal political “lie” where a candidate campaigns on “lower taxes” or “increased help for middle-class families” where the guy honestly will try and achieve the “campaign promise”.  No, this here, this is different.

In this case, the White House, Obama specifically, knowingly knew that millions of people would lose their plan well ahead of time and in a deceitful and purpose of mind, lied to the American people.

This is what people mean when they say “he lied”.

Obamacare’s Impact On Jobs

Job Market

First, I admit to acknowledging the noble intention of looking to insure more Americans.  I get that tug often.  When new employees straight out of college walk through our doors, I try and bring up the subject of insurance and 401ks.  Some listen – others don’t.

So I get it.

However, all the noble intentions in the world is not going to change the fact that people, in general, will tend to make decisions that maximize their best interests.

So when the government passes a law that requires employers to compensate employees in a certain manner – look for those employers to adjust their behavior.  Duke did just that – they looked at employers:

Durham, N.C. — Corporate financial chiefs say they expect to reduce hiring and also move more jobs to part-time status as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new survey from Duke University and CFO Magazine.

Many companies also are considering a reduction in health care benefits for employees.

This is exactly the response that we’ve been predicting since the law was passed.

It’s not surprising.  Iin fact, what would be surprising is that someone was surprised:

“The results were startling to us. This will significantly impact employment,” said Campbell Harvey, a professor of finance at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. “I think the people who drafted the bill probably never anticipated such a negative effect on employment, especially in a time when we really need employment growth.”

Okay, so Duke School of Business was surprised – but it would be hard to say that folks haven’t been warned.

How bad is it?

Almost half of the 500 companies surveyed are “reluctant” to hire full-time employees, the survey found, and one in 10 may lay off current employees in response to the law.

Some people could see their hours cut below 30 hours a week because the Affordable Care Act requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance to those working 30 hours or more a week or pay a penalty.

More than 40 percent of CFOs surveyed say their companies will consider switching some full-time jobs to part-time jobs in 2014.

“For the employee, often what that means is you have to get a second job, or you just take a hit in the amount of money you make. So, it is quite disruptive,” Harvey said.

The single best method to reduce costs, increase quality and expand availability is to expose the product to an ever free’er -yet maintaining contract laws- market.  Profit motive and self interests will prevail and the more expensive objects today will become commoditized tomorrow.

So really, the question shouldn’t be, “Do we want to provide health care to everyone?”  The question should be, “What costs are we going to expose our nation to in order to provide this coverage?”

Would you trade 43 hours a week for a 37 hour week for our nation?  Would you trade a single point of unemployment; go from 6.5 to 6.6 perhaps?

How many unemployed people would you be willing to accept in order to realize the gain of insurance for all?

Those are the questions that need to be answered.


Comedy of Errors

This is hard to believe:

Sebelius told Congress earlier on Wednesday that a team of tech whizzes working through nights and weekends to fix the troubled health insurance marketplace website will be hard-pressed to finish repairs as promised by the end of November…

Gawd this is a train wreck.

Affordable Care Act Helping The Poor

Poor Artist

Came across this article in the NY Times this morning:

For Mark and Elisabeth Horst, both artists in Albuquerque, the risks of signing up for a bronze plan were outweighed by the prospect of getting it free. The Horsts, who make $24,000 a year between them, qualified for $612 in monthly subsidies, but the cost of a bronze plan was $581 a month.

The Horsts are the couple pictured above.

I object to redistribution in general but have to admit to having sympathy for folks who fit the mental picture of “the poor”.  Struggling factory worker barely getting by.  Single mom who can’t pay rent, electric bill AND the water bill.

But THESE ‘effing people?!?  I have to work my ass off to support these people’s health care?

The article goes on to to quote Mr. Horst as claiming to be in good health, so I’m guessing that they are making 24k is that they CHOOSE to make 24k, not because life has dealt them some shitty hand.  These are people who CAN work, COULD work but are making the choice NOT to work.

And we’re taking care of them like children.

Look, I’d like to wake up every day and draw.  Or color.  Or make clay ashtrays too.  But I don’t; I go to work and bring home the bacon.

And because I do – these people get to color.


In honor of the working poor:

Obamacare – Econ 101

Monopoly Free Market

It’s a simple concept; make a thing more expensive and the demand for that thing is reduced:

Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc. which is the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, told Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File,” that his company and others will choose to hire part-time employees instead of full-time employees because of increased costs from the health care law.

He said in the six months in 2013 before the Obama administration delayed the employer mandate, which requires companies with over 50 full-time employees to provide health coverage to all full-time employees, employers were already reducing worker hours to prepare for the law.

“It’s very simple if you increase the cost of something businesses will use less of it,” Puzder said. “If you decrease the cost they will use more of it. So if you increase the cost of full time employment, there will be less full time employees. If you decrease the cost of part time employment, you’ll have more part time employment.”

I am reminded of Hanlon’s Razor:

 Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

It is becoming increasingly clear, even to Obama’s supporters, that he is stupid.

Pino Is Right – Sebelius Blames Claims Obama Kept Promise

Kathleen Sebelius

Last night at about 6:30 I opined on how long it would take the administration to deflect blame on the policy cancellations from Barack Obama to the insurance companies.

It took about 18 hours:

The White House has struggled to defend President Obama’s 2009 claim as thousands of people receive notifications that their insurance companies are dropping their plans.

“Is he keeping his promise?” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked Sebelius.

“Yes he is,” the Health and Human Services secretary responded.

She repeated the administration’s argument that, if people are losing their plans, it is because of insurance companies and not the new healthcare law.

“If a person had a policy in place in March 2010, liked that plan, and the insurance company made no changes to disadvantage the consumer, those policies are in place, you keep your plan if you like it, and that goes on,” Sebelius told the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“People though who had a medically underwritten policy, were paying more than their neighbor because they happen to be female … they will have a new day in a very competitive market,” she added.

Many insurers have stopped offering plans that do not comply with regulations issued by the Health and Human Services Department outlining basic levels of coverage. Consumers who have received such notices are often left with more expensive options.

These people simply lied.  It’s not like the traditional campaign speech promising no school on Fridays and a pretty girl for every boy.  They knew that people, by the millions, would lose their coverage and they kept saying that they wouldn’t.

The next sound bite?

“Yes, you DID lose your plan, however, it will be replaced by one that is better.”

Bold Faced Lie

Obama said that if you were happy with your insurance plan you could keep it.

Democrats knew all along that some patients would lose their health insurance plans under the new law, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) acknowledged on Tuesday.

Although President Obama had vowed repeatedly that, under his signature healthcare initiative, those who like their plans could keep them, millions of patients are reportedly in individual plans that don’t meet the law’s minimum coverage criteria, forcing them to buy better insurance.

Hoyer, the House minority whip, said Democrats were aware that such a shift was coming. He defended the change by arguing that those patients would ultimately benefit by getting better insurance, many of them at a lower price than they currently pay.

The insult that I’m incapable of purchasing insurance that meets my needs aside, they lied.