Transparent Opaque Administration in History
For Town Hall, Guy Benson writes: In her post this morning, Carol linked to a New York Times story describing the US Census Bureau’s ridiculous decision to change its formula for determining health coverage rates in America. “Ridiculous” not because it’s out of bounds to overhaul methodology on principle, but because after three decades, they’re implementing this shift at the exact moment we need a consistent baseline off of which to measure the impact of Obamacare. The brand new survey questions will unquestionably “reveal” a dramatic decrease in the uninsured population, bureau experts say, which will deliver Democrats a super handy talking point. And oh-by-the-way, the artificially improved numbers will be released…this fall:
The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said. The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said. An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument. “We are expecting much lower numbers just because of the questions and how they are asked,” said Brett J. O’Hara, chief of the health statistics branch at the Census Bureau. With the new questions, “it is likely that the Census Bureau will decide that there is a break in series for the health insurance estimates,” says another agency document describing the changes. This “break in trend” will complicate efforts to trace the impact of the Affordable Care Act, it said.
Allow me to paint you a picture: The Census Bureau releases its new figures in September, just a few weeks out from a major election. Per the bureaucrat-in-chief over at Census, the fresh stats on uninsured Americans will be “much lower,” due to the heavily revised question wording. The wonks will make this abundantly clear, admonishing one another that the new and old data are like apples and oranges. Plus, they’ll add, the new numbers don’t even include the post-Obamacare implementation data from early 2014, so any attempt to trumpet the results as a triumph for the Affordable Care Act will be especially inapt. Even some elements of the center-Left smart set have begun grumbling about the indefensible timing of these methodological alterations:
Just from a research perspective, this feels like a *terrible* time to change how we count who has health insurance. http://t.co/pzUePFfBQD
— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) April 15, 2014
Democrats, famously allergic to nuance when the political moment demands a cudgel, will shout from the rooftops about the “stunning” improvement in uninsured rates. Obamacare is working! Read the rest of this entry »
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) April 15, 2014
— Herbal Elements (@HerbalColorado) April 12, 2014
BREAKING NEWS: Bowing to Pressure from punditfromanotherplanet, White House Responds: Health Secretary ResignsPosted: April 10, 2014 | |
No longer able to withstand the increasing pressure from punditfromanotherplanet, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius resigns in disgrace, as Democrats struggle to hold Senate in upcoming mid-term elections
NYTimes.com reports: WASHINGTON — Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary, is resigning, ending a stormy five-year tenure marred by the disastrous rollout of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.
The system is down at the moment. We are experiencing technical difficulties and hope to have them resolved soon.”
– Kathleen Sebelius, struggling to defend the website and the health care law
Mr. Obama accepted Ms. Sebelius’s resignation this week, and on Friday morning he will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her, officials said.
“If I could take something along with me, it would be “all the animosity. If that could just leave with me, and we could get to a new chapter, that would be terrific.”
– Kathleen Sebelius
The departure comes as the Obama administration tries to move beyond its early stumbles in carrying out the law, persuade a still-skeptical public of its lasting benefits, and help Democratic incumbents, who face blistering attack ads after supporting the legislation, survive the midterm elections this fall.
“President Obama has headed off panic over Sebelius’ departure by reassuring the nation that he has another unqualified failure to take her place.”
Officials said Ms. Sebelius, 65, made the decision to resign and was not forced out. But the frustration at the White House over her performance had become increasingly clear, as administration aides worried that the crippling problems at HealthCare.gov, the website set up to enroll Americans in insurance exchanges, would result in lasting damage to the president’s legacy. Read the rest of this entry »
They protest male/female imbalances everywhere except in their own workplace.
Go, Michelle, go, you go girl!
At MichelleMalkin.com, and our favorite hangout NRO, Michelle Malkin writes: I have created a new species designation for female Democrats who play hypocritical gender politics on behalf of Barack Obama. They’re genderhawks.
You remember the term “chickenhawk,” don’t you? During the Bush years, anti-war activists and journalists hurled the ad hominem epithet at anyone who supported military action against our enemies but hadn’t personally served.
I say let’s give ‘em a dose of their own tactical medicine.
Genderhawks are feminist chickenhawks. They demand “equal pay” for women, practice militant identity politics based on chromosomes, and purport to wage an all-out government war on gender inequity. Yet, they personally refuse to hold themselves and their lousy male bosses accountable for their own gender-based failures and delinquencies. Read the rest of this entry »
The investment bank’s April survey of 148 brokers found that this quarter, the average premium increase for customers renewing an insurance plan is 12 percent in the small group market and 11 percent in the individual market, according to Forbes’ Scott Gottlieb.
The hikes — the largest in the past three years, according to Morgan Stanley’s quarterly reports — are “largely due to changes under the [Affordable Care Act],” analysts concluded. Rates have been growing increasingly fast throughout all of 2013, after a period of drops in 2012.
The Oversight Committee will vote on Thursday on whether to issue her a contempt citation for obstructing its investigation
Eliana Johnson reports: The House Ways and Means Committee, led by outgoing chairman Dave Camp, will vote this week to ask the Department of Justice to pursue criminal charges against former Internal Revenue Service employee Lois Lerner.
“The Congress will take up that contempt resolution. If she’s not going to tell us the truth, the House will hold her in contempt.”
– House Speaker John Boehner
In an executive session on Wednesday, Camp’s panel will mark up a letter to attorney general Eric Holder that outlines “one or more crimes” it claims Lerner committed, based on evidence the committee uncovered in its investigation, while the agency was inappropriately targeting tea-party groups.
How the Free Market Can Better Ensure Safe Products
Everyone wants the items they buy to be safe to use or consume. Prof. Howard Baetjer of Towson University explains that when products undergo third-party certification processes to determine their safety, market forces are able to optimize the amount of testing conducted and consumers can use the information provided by certification firms to make their own decisions. It is difficult to say how much testing is enough: another test can always be run on a product, but at some point the benefit of the extra testing outweighs the costs.
In a free-market system, competition among certification firms allows the market to work as it should and prevents both under- and over-testing of products. Conversely, when the government holds the monopoly on safety standards, products are likely to be over-tested, delaying their entry into the market and making them more expensive. Sometimes the costs of such delays cannot be quantified; lives can be lost while life-saving medicines are held up in safety-testing processes.
Originally posted on TIME:
The oxytocin hormone is often described as the “love hormone” or “cuddling chemical,” but there might be a darker side to it. Not only does it make you feel all loved-up and happy, but also racist and nepotistic, a new study suggests.
In the study, professor of psychology at the University of Amsterdam Carsten de Dreu found that the loved-up feeling you get when flooded with oxytocin — which is also released by the popular party drug Molly, also known as Ecstasy or MDMA — only extends to your “in-group.”
Oxytocin, he said, “motivates in-group favoritism” and “derogation” of outsiders. He added that it had “a role in the emergence of intergroup conflict and violence.”
In the study’s experiments, the participants — all Dutch males — were told that they had to choose five persons out of six that would gain access to…
View original 71 more words
The president tries to put a good face on ObamaCare
“Seven point one million people have signed up!”
“But six million people lost their coverage and were forced onto the exchanges! That’s no triumph, it’s a manipulation. And how many of the 7.1 million have paid?”
“We can’t say, but 7.1 million is a big number and redeems the program.”
“Is it a real number?”
“Your lack of trust betrays a dark and conspiratorial right-wing mindset.”
As I say, put aside the argument, step back and view the thing at a distance. Support it or not, you cannot look at ObamaCare and call it anything but a huge, historic mess. It is also utterly unique in the annals of American lawmaking and government administration.
Memo To Clueless Democrats Crowing About Obama’s April 1st Deadline “Victory”: After Four Years and Millions of Sign-Ups, Obamacare Is Still UnpopularPosted: April 2, 2014 | |
Democrats have said people would learn to love the law once they saw how it would help them. Polls show the public doesn’t agree so far.
“If last fall’s round of cancellation letters wasn’t enough, another round is expected to go out this fall for letting small businesses know that they too can’t keep their plans.”
“These guys go six months without any idea what the numbers are, and all of a sudden it’s to a decimal point.”
A Promise The White House Will Keep: Declaring ‘Victory’ Regardless of What Obamacare’s Real Enrollment Numbers ArePosted: March 31, 2014 | |
In the coming days look for a spike in words and phrases like “surge”, “signature legislation,” “domestic policy achievement”.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – David Morgan writes: The federal website for U.S. consumers to enroll in private health insurance under Obamacare ran into problems twice on Monday because of a surge of people trying to access the site hours before a midnight deadline to sign up for coverage.
Technical issues that barred access to HealthCare.gov for several hours throughout the day underscored the frantic last-minute pace of an enrollment process that could determine the ultimate success or failure of the healthcare law that represents President Barack Obama’s domestic policy achievement.
More than 6 million people had signed up for private health coverage through the new Obamacare insurance markets by last week, surpassing a target set after a disastrous October rollout called the enrollment process into question. With daily volumes continuing to surge, analysts believe the final tally could approach or even exceed an original goal of 7 million.
Breitbart.com‘s Wynton Hall reports: Obamacare, the plan purportedly created to provide health coverage for the uninsured, has enrolled just 1.7% of America’s 48.6 million uninsured.
News of the disastrous numbers comes as nervous Democrats and President Barack Obama, ahead of the November midterm elections, did their best on Monday’s enrollment deadline to put a positive spin on the deeply unpopular Obamacare program. The latest Associated Press poll finds that Obamacare has now hit an all-time low approval rating of just 26 percent.
“…the official HHS numbers still include duplicate enrollments.”
– Washington Post columnist Ed Rogers
The White House now claims an Obamacare enrollment figure of six million people. However, according to The New York Times, at least 20% of those never paid their premiums to activate coverage, leaving them uninsured. That drops the number down to 4.8 million.
Americans head to the polls in 218 days.
Next, as Washington Post columnist Ed Rogers notes, “the official HHS numbers still include duplicate enrollments.” No one knows how many duplicate enrollments are in the stack; the White House refuses to say. However, given the disastrous Obamacare website failures, it is reasonable to imagine that the pile is riddled with numerous “false start” applications.