The Humanitarian Shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act

Web problems can be fixed, Obamacare cannot.

Web problems can be fixed. The problems inherent in the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are another story.

Let’s stipulate that most people who favor the ACA have honorable intentions: they want everyone, including people in ill health, to have access to good and affordable medical care. All decent people should want that. (How many favor it merely because it builds up government power and takes money from the well and well-heeled? I suspect it’s the same number as those who oppose it out of a dislike of the poor and ill. Of course politicians who favor the ACA undoubtedly find that it lines up nicely with their political interests.)

The problem is that in making government policy, unmovable obstacles often stand between motives and desired results. The laws of economics and politics thwart the best intentions. Sheer will is not enough to overcome these obstacles, because they are implicit in the logical structure of human action.

One cannot merely decree that there be good and affordable medical care for all. Setting up a byzantine bureaucracy won’t do the trick either. Reality is simply not subject to the human will in that way. The maxim “nature to be commanded must be obeyed” applies here.

If politicians, bureaucrats, and pundits do not understand this, it indicates that they are stuck in an outmoded mindset. Before the 18th century, Ludwig von Mises wrote, the “belief prevailed that in the field of human action no other criterion could be used than that of good and bad. If a policy did not attain its end, its failure was ascribed to the moral insufficiency of man or to the weakness of the government. With good men and strong governments everything was considered feasible.” But, Mises continued,

Then in the eighteenth century came a radical change. The founders of Political Economy discovered regularity in the operation of the market. They discovered that to every state of the market a certain state of prices corresponded and that a tendency to restore this state made itself manifest whenever anything tried to alter it. This insight opened a new chapter in science. People came to realize with astonishment that human actions were open to investigation from other points of view than that of moral judgment. They were compelled to recognize a regularity which they compared to that with which they were already familiar in the field of the natural sciences.

News of this natural limit on the efficacy of power was not warmly received in all quarters. It did not sit well with those who found it inconvenient that, as Mises wrote elsewhere, “there is something operative which power and force are unable to alter and to which they must adjust themselves if they hope to achieve success, in precisely the same way as they must take into account the laws of nature.” What did such people do? They denied that those natural market forces operated. The results were tragic.

The ACA is an excellent case in point. Barack Obama and his allies saw a problem: some people can’t afford or qualify for medical insurance. But instead of investigating how market forces might currently be thwarted from addressing this problem, they used government (the blunt weapon of aggressive force) to decree that insurance companies — which are already largely creatures of the state — must accept all applicants regardless of their health (guaranteed issue) and must charge the unhealthy the same price as they charge the healthy (community rating); that is, premiums may not reflect actual risk, converting insurance into a covert transfer program.

Of course, in accord with the economic rule that you can never do just one thing, the matter could not be left there. If the young and healthy were going to subsidize the already sick, they would have to be forced to buy coverage at inflated prices; otherwise they would put off buying insurance until they got sick. (The current low penalty for not buying coverage can be expected to rise in the future.) And bureaucrats would have to set minimum standards, or else the mandate would be a mere formality. Thus, regardless of an applicant’s preferences or situation, all coverage must include, among other things, maternity and “mental health” benefits and “free” preventative services (which means no one knows precisely who pays for them). Insurance policies may not have caps on the total dollar value of benefits, but this may not be reflected in the price.

Of course, bureaucratic rules thus take precedence over personal preferences. It doesn’t matter what you want. Personnel at the Department of Health and Human Services and its myriad boards (advised by whom?) know better. Hence the cancellation of many individual policies that we’re hearing so much about. Why should a man have to pay for maternity benefits he will never use? Questions like that are better left unasked.

Frédéric Bastiat taught us that thinking like an economist means looking for secondary unseen consequences. What will not happen because of the politicians’ impositions? For example, insurance companies certainly have an interest in attracting young healthy people into the risk pool. Without the mandate, insurance companies competing for business in a freed market would discover ways to attract that group. Force would not be necessary. Competition is a “discovery procedure,” F.A. Hayek explained. We don’t know what we’re missing.

What’s also overlooked is that before passage of the ACA, we had no free market in insurance or medical care. Both industries had long been cartelized in the states through licensing and other regulatory barriers to free competition. When people say that the medical market failed, they really should say that a government-business partnership failed. In light of that failure, it makes no sense to expand the partnership further under the central authority of the federal government, as the ACA does. Single-payer would compound the error.

The public discussion of the ACA has mostly fixed on attractive mandated benefits, neglecting what matters more: the negative domino effects those mandates must set in motion. The insurance subsidies for people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level are touted, but where is the discussion of how those subsidies, which are bound to grow in coming years, are to be paid for? (No doubt by raising the “debt limit.”) The same question applies to the expansion of Medicaid. Remember that Medicare has trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities. Little has been said about how insurance companies plan to restrict people’s choices in doctors and hospitals to keep premiums low enough to meet government standards. (To its credit, the New York Times has reported on this.)

Also ignored is the cost explosion waiting to happen because of the mandated “mental health” benefit, which will add to the expense created by subsidizing demand for regular medical services. Contrary to popular impression, so-called mental disorders are not like physical ailments: the mind is not an organ subject to real disease, only to metaphorical disease. (If all that was meant was brain disease, the term “mental health” would not have been used and only neurological, as opposed to psychiatric, services would be covered.) Mandating insurance coverage for the “treatment” of this nonobjective category of complaints will create a cost burden that will inevitably be exploited to push for even more government control.

In sum, the laws of economics say that government cannot subsidize demand for services and respect freedom of choice and fulfill its promise to “bend the cost curve downward.” Something will have to give. That something will be freedom of choice. As subsidized demand pushes up prices, government will impose service restrictions or price controls (it’s already happening with doctor and hospital reimbursements). This in turn will create shortages and long queues, which the government will contend with through rationing, that is, limits on choice.

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  • Fluffy||

    Let’s stipulate that most people who favor the ACA have honorable intentions

    No.

    How many favor it merely because it builds up government power and takes money from the well and well-heeled?

    If we look at the second half of your question, I imagine the answer is "a very great number".

    The Community Rating element of the law quite nakedly and openly asserts as its basic principle the notion that it's just not fair that some people are essentially healthy and others are not, and some people are young and some are old, and some people have complicated lady parts and others do not...so it's further just not fair that some people have low actuarial costs-to-cover and others have high. To fix this, the law deliberately and specifically takes from the well and gives to the not well. The people who support this are in fact "supporting the ACA because it takes from the well". They see this as righting a universal injustice.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    To fix this, the law deliberately and specifically takes from the well and gives to the not well.

    A trend Medicare (and later Medicaid) began and due to their giant sizes and related demographics are bankrupting the country. The ACA was the lone chance to alter that cost structure with its admittedly untested cost containments.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Hello, I am David Weigel's cock ring. I sit around David Weigel's cock, which has seen the inside of many a man's greasy, disgusting butthole. As you might imagine, it's not a particularly easy or pleasant life being Weigel's cock ring.

    I greatly prefer it when the blood rushes out of his tiny little cock and up to his tiny little brain, like it does when he trolls sites like Reason.com pretending to be the world's greatest libertarian.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    TL:dr

    More socialism will fix the shortcoming of socialism.

    FORWARD!

  • Brian||

    Apparently, there's no other way! Just one big false choice, really.

  • Sevo||

    ..."The ACA was the lone chance to alter that cost structure with its admittedly untested cost containments."...

    What a cockamamie statement.
    ACA is just one more rathole in which to dump money.

  • Brian||

    Saying the ACA is the last chance to alter the high price of healthcare in the US is like saying that drinking seawater is the last chance for a man lost at sea, dying of thirst.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    "To fix this, the law deliberately and specifically takes from the well and gives to the not well."

    So IOW...Welfare. I believe John have me a ration of shit, the other day, for calling it that.

  • Acosmist||

    John has a point. The very poor not-well were already getting aid. The above-very-poor not-well will still be paying through the nose for this. So not much of a welfare plan.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Let’s stipulate that most people who favor the ACA have honorable intentions

    No, Sheldon, you can't do that. Calling stealing something else doesn't change what it is. People who favor Obamacarousel stealing do NOT have honorable intentions.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Yeah that's too generous an allowance, even just to make a clean point.

  • cavalier973||

    There's no sugarcoating it; providing affordable health care insurance to one part of the population requires some enforced charitable giving by other parts of the population.

  • DJF||

    Plus in order to look fair they will give the same type of medical care too all even if they don't need it.

    For example everyone from 15 to 65 years will be screened for HIV even though they have no risk factors for the disease.

  • DJF||

    For anyone interested here is a list from the US Preventive Services Task Force on preventive services for the Affordable Care Act. I see lots of them which have no relevance to me but I will have to pay insurance for.

    http://www.uspreventiveservice.....abrecs.htm

  • Rich||

    Awesome list.

    refer [6-year-olds] to comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions to promote improvement in weight status.

    This in itself will bankrupt the country.

  • SweatingGin||

    Fat camp?

  • Snark Plissken||

    Wouldn't it be cheaper to stop feeding them crap carbs and telling that SFAs are evul?

  • ||

    It would be cheaper and economically sound to stop subsidizing corn. End the fat epidemic? Easy. Stop subsidizing carbs and pouring them into everything in the grocery store.

  • Rich||

    Well, this presumes that the purpose of the "comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions" is *only* to "promote improvement in weight status".

  • Pathogen||

    "requires some enforced charitable giving by other parts of the population."

    Nothing stimulates the charitability gland quite like an IRS gun barrel in your back...

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Calling stealing something else doesn't change what it is. People who favor Obamacarousel stealing do NOT have honorable intentions.

    So the centuries old distinction between act and motive that is a pillar in our common law legal system does not work for you? He is not saying that a wrong act, such as stealing, goes from being wrong to right because of the intentions, just that wrong acts can have benign intentions. This should only bother you so much if you really feel the need to go beyond arguing that your opponents have endorsed actions that harm others and violate their rights but instead must say they are seeking to do evil.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I robbed Bo's house because I wanted to feed my kids (and work is such a drag).

    My intentions were noble, so no harm no foul - right?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    My point seems to have sailed like a bird o'er your head VG.

  • Irish||

    The distinction between act and motive only actually matters when that distinction is mitigating. If I kill someone in self-defense, I wouldn't go to jail because I had no intention of committing a homicide and only did so to save myself.

    Obamacare, on the other hand, is flat out theft. There aren't any similarly mitigating distinctions when it comes to stealing from one person and giving it to another.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -There aren't any similarly mitigating distinctions when it comes to stealing from one person and giving it to another.

    Of course that is not true, a judge or jury could, and likely often has, give a more lenient sentence to someone who stole under certain intentions than others.

    It does not make theft right, but it might mean that the people we are trying to persuade are not total devils.

  • ||

    Bo, nice try. But you are leaving out the rationalizations one must use to convince themselves that good intentions justify evil acts.

    Those rationalizations do not nullify the evil aspect of the acts or neutralize the actors culpability.

    These are adults, not children, and they are seeking to do evil.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Again, so you handwave away a distinction important in our legal system for centuries?

    And remember, I said 'not saying that a wrong act, such as stealing, goes from being wrong to right because of the intentions, just that wrong acts can have benign intentions'

  • Marshall Gill||

    'not saying that a wrong act, such as stealing, goes from being wrong to right because of the intentions, just that wrong acts can have benign intentions'

    Are you claiming that the majority of those who voted for this turd believed that they would be paying for it? Because unless they believed that they personally would be paying more, their intentions were not neutral, or slightly moving the goalpost as you love to do, benign. Their motherfucking intentions were evil, even if they rationalized that evil.

    Through the power of voting a huge number of people believed that other people would be robbed at gunpoint to pay for still other people's "health insurance".

    I defy you to show a word of Stalin or Mao where they have bad intentions. Some of the greatest crimes in the history of Men have been committed with "good intentions".

  • ||

    I defy you to show a word of Stalin or Mao where they have bad intentions.

    This, too, is a bullshit cop out. Foreseeable consequences are not unintended. An ethical system based upon the utter moral depravity of the subjugation of the individual is, by nature and definition, not based on "good intentions". This is why, when encountered with the debate point "Well, communism is a good idea in theory, it just doesn't work in practice", I never let it slide anymore. Communism is every bit as bad in theory as it is in practice. It is so horrible in practice by perfectly natural consequence of how horrible it is in theory.

  • ||

    Again, so you handwave away a distinction important in our legal system for centuries?

    The ethical implications of a desperate man stealing food to feed his family are somewhat more compelling than a political class creating a system intended by design to steal for the sake of an end arbitrarily deemed desirable to the expense of all others by the designers of the heist. Can you actually cite a single case in our cherished, centuries old legal system where Machiavellian ethics served as a mitigating factor in an armed robbery?

  • OneOut||

    Robin Hoooood !

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I see that I wasn't the only one who stopped at that sentence.

    Most people who favor, or who have favored, Obamacare (I believe we should keep calling it that) do/did so because they thought it was about free shit. Many still think it's about free shit. And just about all of the people who have signed up through the exchanges have signed up for Medicaid, not private insurance, so...free shit.

  • Sevo||

    "Most people who favor, or who have favored, Obamacare (I believe we should keep calling it that) do/did so because they thought it was about free shit. Many still think it's about free shit. And just about all of the people who have signed up through the exchanges have signed up for Medicaid, not private insurance, so...free shit."

    And when it turns out it's not free shit, they are not about to blame themselves for being snookered by some lying con artist.

  • Plopper||

    So, how long do we have to wait for the death spiral realistically?

  • Fluffy||

    The death spiral is not our immediate concern.

    When April 15th comes and everyone whose insurance has been cancelled and who cannot afford the ACA substitute discovers that they've been fined, not $95, but 1% of their income by the IRS, the wheels are going to come off the whole works.

  • GILMORE||

    Fluffy|11.3.13 @ 8:32AM|#

    When April 15th comes and everyone whose insurance has been cancelled and who cannot afford the ACA substitute discovers that they've been fined, not $95, but 1% of their income by the IRS, the wheels are going to come off the whole works.

    Wouldn't the same result happen if they CAN "afford" it, but it still costs so goddamn much it takes a bite out of their living standard? Which is what I expect will impact many more.

  • Lord Humungus||

    exactly this - when I was a younger man, I was more concerned about buying a car than my health. I only saw a doctor at the Med-Center if I got a sinus infection. So maybe once every three years.

    Asking me to pony up for insurance, no matter how trivial the amount: $50-$150mo or whatever the cost would be, is a simple no starter. Even the tax "subsidies" would seem like too much work.

    I can't imagine it being all that different for the current generation, but I could be wrong.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    The current generation will see it as their duty in the furtherance of their cause.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    At least some will. The rest will complain that they should have to pay part of their scant income, when it could be paid by those who have more expendable income than they do.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    But the current generation was not doing that voluntarily so compelling them to do something that they don't want to do is not going to be popular.

  • Irish||

    The current generation will see it as their duty in the furtherance of their cause.

    I disagree. Young people I know were in favor of Obamacare when they thought it was going to be some nebulous collective of 'the rich' giving poor people health insurance. Most of them never considered the kind of premiums they'd be paying or the fact that they were the ones who were going to be paying for other peoples' health insurance.

    American liberals tend to get a little angry when they have to pay for the programs they're in favor of. That's why they're always in favor of taxing 'the rich' which is always defined as someone making more money than they are.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    The first thought was written as sarcasm. After I posted it, I thought about it and figured some probably will but the rest will simply ask that their share be taken from the rich.

    Scrambled two thoughts together there. Sorry, need coffee.

  • OneOut||

    There has never been a wait. It is ongoing.

    The movie has it's different speeds is all.

  • LynchPin1477||

    How political fear was pitted against technical needs

    People always say that this administration is arrogant but it is also remarkably insecure. Coupled with a total lack of real-world experience or leadership its no wonder the ACA is failing. But of course (spoiler alert) it was at least partly the Republicans' fault. Shocker.

  • Irish||

    People always say that this administration is arrogant but it is also remarkably insecure.

    Narcissists are always afraid someone will realize that their narcissism is just for show and they don't actually have any idea what the fuck they're doing.

  • Snark Plissken||

    People who've never really earned it are usually aware, at least in the back their mind, of this.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Don't you think arrogance and insecurity often travel together in bipolar fashion?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The article is a (perhaps quixotic) attempt to appeal to wavering supporters of the ACA. These are guys and gals who thought the law was a good thing. To convert them, you don't start by saying "you're a bunch of dumb statists who want to steal from your neighbors!" You start by saying that "you guys have honorable intentions, but you're mistaken because A, B and C."

    Now, when the issue of "good intentions" comes up, I would prefer saying something like "a subjective, smug and ill-informed feeling of benevolence."

  • GILMORE||

    +1 "I am your number one fan. There is nothing to worry about. You are going to be just fine. I am your number one fan."

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Yes. I agree with Eduard. It's fine for commenter's on H&R to point out the ugly totalitarian nature underpinning the motivation of those who support OC, but pundit types need to go gently-gently instead of preaching to the choir. Persuasion is a necessary art form for conversion. And, yes, we need converts.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    pundit types need to go gently-gently instead of preaching to the choir. Persuasion is a necessary art form for conversion. And, yes, we need converts.

    I agree, but there is a bit of a moral hazard in this. You soft peddle issues for so long that it becomes politically incorrect to call a spade a spade. The word "spin" came into use in the PC mid-90s, so reporters didn't have to take the uncomfortable action of calling politicians liars. Now, calling folks out as liars is completely verboten. Redistribution of wealth, is theft, pure and simple. At some point you need to call those advocating it the immoral pigs that they are, least they start believing theft is okay, because we made up a cute little phrase for it.

    So, yes, when looking for converts, go easy. But know when you've gotten all the converts you can, and then be brutally candid, with the intent of shaming the action.

    My .02

  • Redmanfms||

    Now, calling folks out as liars is completely verboten. Redistribution of wealth, is theft, pure and simple. At some point you need to call those advocating it the immoral pigs that they are, least they start believing theft is okay, because we made up a cute little phrase for it.

    This.

    It is possible to be harsh and honest in your criticism without gloating. If you don't call out the people who supported this in very specific and brutal terms they'll get the idea that the motivations that prompted their support were noble and good. In people for whom intentions mean everything you cannot stipulate to them that they had good intentions or else they won't understand the criticism.

    Most workaday progs haven't really thought through any of their positions and if they are confronted brutally, but honestly, it will force them to start thinking about the implications of their grand intentions. That is the only way (in my experience anyway) that a prog can be cured.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Good point, and well said Eduard.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    That's a good point. I can't play this game, but I guess it needs to be played.

  • Blueman||

    I agree, Eduard.

    I have a number of progressive friends who support the legislation. They are well-to-do and figured they would never be affected by it, so were confused that anyone would object to such "humanitarian" legislation. IOW, clueless as fuck, but not evil. I think it would be best to try to get as many people to our way of thinking by letting them come out smelling like a rose than by beating them about the head. (although I do want to get a bitch slap in there somewhere for their stupidness)

    Now, the people in Congress who forced this? Yes, evil. Or criminally stupid, or both.

  • GregMax||

    Ideologues do not generally respond to "you guys have honorable intentions, but you're mistaken because A, B and C" in the way open-minded rational people would.
    "Her Hitler . . . jews are good people because A, B and C."

  • Xajow||

    Why can't we stipulate that the people who want what Obama et al. have promised the ACA will provide have good intentions? Yes, we see it for what it is, and we don't like it. And probably Obama and pals all see it for what it is and want that. But some people do not see it for what it is. They know they want people to get help, and they think the ACA will help people. Why can we not allow then that they have good intentions?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ignorance may be bliss, but it's not noble. And good intentions don't include shifting burdens from one group onto another against their will.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I agree with Xajow. Coverage of the ACA was, up until recently, overwhelmingly positive, and I'm personally willing to forgive the average person for not knowing what it was really about or what the consequences would probably be. And the intention of most people was not to shift burdens from one group to another, the intention was to increase access to medical care. Shifting the burden was of course the necessary consequence of that, but see my first point -- most people didn't understand how the law would work because good information on it was hard to come by.

    Now that people are seeing the consequences laid bare there are no excuses, and if people still try to support it then they lose the benefit of the doubt regarding good intentions. I think the reaction now says a lot more than previous support.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You know who else ignored the consequences of their "good" intentions?

  • Rich||

    Jesus Christ?

    *** ducks ***

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Amen.

  • Xajow||

    Indeed. Donald Duck and Daffy Duck (no relation) did always seem to ignore the consequences of their intentions. Though I am not sure Daffy's intentions were ever all that good.

    And don't get me started on Huey, Dewey and Louie.

    And that little duckling in the Tom and Jerry cartoons, clearly an agent of evil.

    I suppose I should mention Mallard Fillmore here too, but I have not seen his stuff in years.

  • Sevo||

    "You know who else ignored the consequences of their "good" intentions?"

    Every sleazy bastard who knows what's good for someone else.

  • ||

    Everyone who argues with Tony or Shriek?

  • ||

    LynchPin1477 I disagree. Discovering that Ocare is theft is not what is changing people's attitudes.

    Finding out that they are personally suffering from it financially is what is changing their minds. They still think it is ok to steal from the rich so that the poor can have insurance, they just dont think it is ok to steal from them personally.

    From top to bottom I see nothing noble about Obamacare.

  • BLEEDINELL||

    "Finding out that they are personally suffering from it financially is what is changing their minds......they just dont think it is ok to steal from them personally."

    In a nutshell; when people start to realize they're on the hook for several hundred bucks a month, they'll start rioting.

  • Xajow||

    Fist, I mostly agree with you. However, to assume the intentions of those who support the ACA are all ignoble seems as bad as assuming those who do not support the ACA are all just selfish and cruel. I am all for pointing out that good intentions are not enough and that authoritarian central planning solutions do not provide results that match up to those intentions. But I see no reason to assume everyone who supports the ACA has dishonorable intentions.

    That is not to say those who support the ACA should not be criticized for doing so. At this point, anyone who still supports the ACA (and the Obama administration) is doing the intellectual equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling "La la la, I'm not listening!" But I think our starting point in that conversation with those people should be why the ACA (and/or the Obama administration) is bad, not that those who support it are being ignorant.

  • prolefeed||

    And good intentions don't include shifting burdens from one group onto another against their will.

    Good intentions can include ANYTHING, even the most horrible deeds imaginable. If you're ignorant of the outcomes of your preferences, it may not be noble, but it isn't actively malign. It stops being good intentions when the people, oftentimes politicians, know that what they are doing harms others but benefits themselves.

  • ||

    "Why can't we stipulate that the people who want what Obama et al. have promised the ACA will provide have good intentions? "

    Because most of them dont.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Let's see...should I post the C. S. Lewis article ("C.S. Lewis the occultist and other rather obvious errors") or the article about the Australian who sought workers' comp for being injured while having sex in a motel during a business trip.

    What to choose, what to choose...

    "The woman was injured in 2007 when she or her companion pulled a glass-light fitting from its mount above the bed during the sexual encounter, the court said. She sought compensation from government insurer Comcare, arguing that she was at the motel because of the business trip, so that the injuries occurred during the course of employment."

    She lost in Australia's highest court. Ah, well.

    http://www.abajournal.com/news.....rce=feedly

  • LynchPin1477||

    No pics?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Maybe you can ask the Australian Sex party for pics:

    http://www.sexparty.org.au/about.html

  • LynchPin1477||

    Most misleading name ever.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    No, The Neverending Story was worse.

  • GILMORE||

    Wolfgang Petersen has a sad

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I would like to see the Lewis one. Big fan of Lewis.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I'm happy to take requests.

    "Religion News Service dropped a brick (several in fact) in its article entitled “Fifty years later, C.S. Lewis’ legacy shines in US, not his homeland”, making mistakes of fact that fans of Lewis would spot in an instant....

    "Working back to front with this list, The Problem of Pain was written in 1940, before Lewis met his wife. The book he wrote after his wife’s death was A Grief Observed.

    "[G.K.] Chesterton was not one of the “Inklings.”...

    "While Lewis, like his friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkein, was devoted to the Norse sagas and mythology, he was not an occultist....

    "This RNS piece would have benefited from fact-checking."

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/g.....-from-rns/

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    PS, they misspelled Tolkien

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Thanks, that is interesting. It is not the first time I have seen Christians fret about the 'occult' (magic) in the work of Lewis and Tolkien (or fantasy books in general). I think that is unfortunate and misguided, of course.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    OK, then, do I post the article about some Russians raising the moral of persecuted Syrian Christians by erecting a statue of Jesus, or the article about the indignant progressive whose insurance is threatened?

    "the administration and its progressive allies -- and I consider myself one -- aren't facing up to the PR disaster emerging from both the balky healthcare.gov website and how millions of people are facing cancelled coverage they now have. No matter how it's explained away or packaged, the prospect of dropped coverage impacting possibly millions of people simply doesn't square with repeated assurances from Obama and his allies that, essentially, no one would lose their current coverage. Most of the people offering reassurances that finding new plans on the exchanges isn't such a big deal are salaried employees of organizations, news outlets and companies that pay for their insurance; they might feel otherwise if they had to search for comparable plans that provide coverage for themselves and their families as the January 1 deadline approaches. It also could directly hurt many of the independent, freelance workers, influential creative people and self-starting tech and small-businesses entrepreneurs who could serve as a loyal base for Democrats in the years to come, but who may feel betrayed by what appear to be some broken promises on health care by President Obama."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....76187.html

  • GILMORE||

    My favorite 'trying to cut through the fog-line' =

    "Just because the Tea Party extremists and their right-wing media allies have spewed essentially nothing but lies and distortions since Obamacare was first proposed, still doesn't mean that the critics are completely wrong about the dangers these changes could pose.""

    PEOPLES! YES, the rethuglicans and the teabaggers are a bunch of meanie shits! They want the poor and the blacks to die! HOWEVER!!.... This thing *does* really suck, even though that sounds like something "they'd" say...

    He's a pussyhair away from calling Soylent Green, 'people'

  • LynchPin1477||

    What I don't understand is how they can be "lies and distortions" but also not be "completely wrong about the dangers these changes could pose".

  • GILMORE||

    Your inability to write off horrible cognitive dissonance as the cost of Having Right-Feeling-Beliefs is where you fall apart.

    It must be taken for granted that the same views, when spoken by 2 different groups, have entirely different 'meanings' = because Right Wingers hates the poors, and the Lefties Loves thems. So if the lefty policy = BAD FOR POORS???

    It confuses.

  • Juice||

    I think we need to let them simultaneously admit that Obamacare critics were right without admitting that they were right.

  • prolefeed||

    What I don't understand is how they can be "lies and distortions" but also not be "completely wrong about the dangers these changes could pose".

    They're saying Teh Rethuglicans are Evul People and of course spouting lies, but that there was a tiny grain of truth buried in all those lies, because the ACA was not the glorious socialist paradise promised.

    Cognitive dissonance is a bitch to overcome.

  • Dave Krueger||

    Single-payer would compound the error.

    That's a bummer because single payer is what comes next after Obama Care falls on its face. It's inevitable because going the other way, back toward a free market, is out of the question.

    The American medical industry is a corrupt partnership between the medical providers, insurance companies, and politicians. There is no place in the debate for the people who use it. None of those three partners have any incentive to go back toward a free market.

    The wealth transfer isn't from rich to poor. It's from the middle class to the three partners. How do we know this? Because the three partners all supported Obamacare. Does anyone actually think they did that because of their compassion for the poor?

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    We are soooo close to getting it right, it will only take another iteration or two, you will see, perfection is within reach if we only stay the course and make those small necessary corrections which come to light from time to time but are not indicative of mistakes, just imperfections necessitating tweaks of the most minor sort.

  • juris imprudent||

    I actually had some asshole argue "process improvement" as the justification for going from PPACA to single-payer. When I challenged him to name ANY progressive policy that empirical evidence caused progressives to abandon - he vanished like a fart in a hurricane.

    Yeah, I got yer process improvement alright.

  • ||

    Also, doesn't process improvement generally involve improvement in outcomes due to reduction of variance? I'd love to see a data set showing either occurring under a single payer system any place on planet earth.

  • wheelock||

    It would be a lot easier to ascribe good intentions to the supporters of this law if it was truly a direct transfer from the well and well off to the poor and sick. The fact that it is actually a transfer from the middle class to a powerful cabal of insurance companies and other connected cronies makes that a little tougher.

  • ||

    Thanks Dave. That is the single best analysis of the whole debate that I have seen yet anywhere.

    I am saving this comment.

    What will be interesting is how what lies will be told later when it turns out the poor are no better off than before Ocare.

  • Rich||

    Why should a man have to pay for maternity benefits he will never use? Questions like that are better left unasked.

    Let me rephrase. Why does Democratcare not simply require *everyone* to have the *same* coverage?

  • SweatingGin||

    IT'S A MARKET BASED SOLUTION!

  • Rich||

    But, some markets are more equal than others. Am I starting to get it?

  • Anomalous||

    I guess they figure he's going to get pregnant after the government fucks him.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Bob and Kristine Bernt are not going to participate in the exchanges because of a very bad experience with the health insurance industry 20 years ago. The couple, who operate a 700 acre organic farm, say they were almost bankrupted by a legal dispute with a health insurance company.

    “It left us in a really bad way,” Bob Bernt told Harvest Public Media. “We were unable to purchase any food – nothing. And that’s when we walked away.”

    "The Bernts have not had health insurance for nearly 20 years because of that experience. Instead, they pay all of the health care costs for themselves and their 12 children out of pocket. Their family includes a daughter Rosie who has cerebral palsy and is forced to use a wheelchair.

    "Instead of buying health insurance, the Bernts will pay the tax penalty mandated by Obamacare....

    "Part of their objection to Obamacare stems from their belief in organic food. Bob Bernt believes that promoting better diets and lifestyles will do more to reduce health care costs."

    http://www.offthegridnews.com/.....obamacare/

  • LynchPin1477||

    I wonder how long it takes for Child Services to take the kids away.

  • ||

    I wonder how popular Obamacare will be when people like this have their children taken away and end up in jail, or shot.

    The people reading news stories about those cases will mostly be people with a chapped ass from their own experiences with Ocare.

  • ||

    Kulak wreckers!

  • Dave Krueger||

    Let’s stipulate that most people who favor the ACA have honorable intentions: they want everyone, including people in ill health, to have access to good and affordable medical care.

    This might apply to ordinary people, but not to the medical providers, insurance companies, and politicians who created it. To them, it's all about what they personally gain from the ACA. But, like most people, to clear their conscience, they've rationalized their corrupt self-serving support for Obamacare into something ethically palatable.

  • blcartwright||

    Some people are digging in.

    I'm in the middle of a conversation on Facebook

    Him:
    "Unfortunately, in order to secure health insurance coverage for all, a very very very small percentage of people will be temporarily inconvenienced. They will have coverage, it will be frighteningly similar; it will be minimally inconvenient. This is a tempest in a teapot. Anti-Obama-ists will act like this is a mountain. It's a molehill."

    Me:
    "15 million is very, very, very small? (we haven't changed group policies yet)"

    Him:
    "Yes"

  • Redmanfms||

    So bring up the fact that there haven't been 15 million victims of gun violence in the entire history of the United States and ask him if gun control is therefore completely unnecessary.

  • Rich||

    Exclusive: HealthCare.gov Users Warn of Security Risk, Breach of Privacy

    After multiple attempts to access the problem-plagued website, Hadley finally made it past the registration page Thursday. That’s when he was greeted with downloadable letters about eligibility — for two people in [another state].

    *Well-intentioned* letters!

  • SweatingGin||

    I believe they've been leaking email addresses already -- if that's all they leak...

    Given the "forgot password"/"forgot account name" stuff on it, it's pretty easy to get an email address out of it, as well as the security questions. Given those, what do you think the chances are you could find the answers to those questions on Facebook?

  • Rich||

    FTFA, apparently they leak street addresses.

    The Post Office knows *those*, so no biggie, right?

  • DJF||

    I am no hacker but I would think that with all the problems the site is having it would be a big help to hackers since the operators of the site would have difficulty telling the difference between someone hacking or just more problems with the site.

    Is someone trying to log in 15 times just someone having problems or are they hacking.

  • Rich||

    I am no hacker

    "That's what they *all* say."

  • SweatingGin||

    Is someone trying to log in 15 times just someone having problems or are they hacking.

    Good point. They probably don't have anything setup for alerting someone to repeated failed login attempts (it would be an afterthought). I'd imagine they're frantically adding a throttle this month, and that will lock out legit users, as well, so they need to not make it too strict.

    The big one won't be through the web front end, it will be when the DB gets compromised. Someone will toss a dump of it up on a site -- 9 million users who signed up, complete with name, ssn, income data, address, security questions, and password hash (hopefully).

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Now I have a choice of two articles - one about Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated thugs in Egypt who is extorting large sums from Coptic Christians under the guise of jizya, OR this Michael Tomasky article about Republican wreckers ruining Obamacare:

    "All across the country, Republican governors and insurance commissioners have actively and directly blocked efforts to make the law work....

    "Now, with people trying to sign up, some Republican legislators are openly saying that they won’t permit their staffs to answer constituents’ questions about Obamacare....

    "Purdum quoted Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp as saying he instructs his staff to refer callers to Kathleen Sebelius. But Huelskamp is not alone. Tennessee’s Diane Black says she doesn’t feel comfortable referring people to navigators. Utah’s Jason Chaffetz is referring people back to the administration, saying: “We know how to forward a phone call.”

    "...to find obstinacy like this, you have to go back, yes, to the pre-Civil War era. The tariff of 1828, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which led to the civil war in “Bloody Kansas” and ultimately to the Civil War itself. Not comforting thought. But it’s where we are."

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/a.....sters.html

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "The administration’s cockups are a legitimate story. I’ve never said otherwise. My first column about the website was quite tough on the administration and on Obama personally, when I wrote that I found it shocking that he apparently wasn’t riding herd on staff to make damn sure the thing worked. I said on television, to some host’s surprise, that yes, I did hold him accountable for the mistakes.

    "So I get why that’s a story. But the sabotage is a story, too. A huge one. It’s almost without precedent in American history, and the precedent it does have includes some of the ugliest chapters in this nation’s history. It gets coverage, yes. But not nearly the coverage it deserves. As is so often the case—as with Benghazi, as with Fast and Furious, as with the IRS—*the bigger scandal is on the Republican side*." [emphasis added]

  • ||

    The bigger scandal is on the Republican side with Benghazi Fast and Furious and the IRS? Didn't that "Lerner (who only took the 5th because the Republicans were big meanies to her) leaked directly and illegally to the FEC" story just break recently?

    Not to mention, heh, F&F or Benghazi. Kulaks! Wreckers! Hoarders!

  • LynchPin1477||

    But it’s where we are.

    Sometimes I really think they want this to be true, that they want a violent uprising.

  • cavalier973||

    They didn't vote for it, so they should feel no compulsion to help it along.

  • SweatingGin||

    Plus, that whole "rammed through in the middle of the night" thing. We'll just "deem it passed".

    Yea, get on board, it's the LAW OF THE LAND!

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    So civil disobedience is being used against a community activist?

    Sweet, sweet irony.

  • ||

    "...to find obstinacy like this, you have to go back, yes, to the pre-Civil War era. The tariff of 1828, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which led to the civil war in “Bloody Kansas” and ultimately to the Civil War itself. Not comforting thought. But it’s where we are."

    What reaction did you think you were going to get by forcing people to pay a lifestyle damaging amount of their money for a product they dont want? Coercion inspires resistance. The harder you push, the harder people push back. This has been explained to you ( author ) in great detail many times.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Anyway, "stipulate" simply means "assume for the purposes of discussion so we can move on the the issues I *really* want to talk about, without distraction."

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    - the D.C. Circuit ruled on Friday that profit-making corporations cannot make a religious challenge to the new health care law’s mandate that workers get birth-control and related medical coverage; however, if the firm is owned by only a few individuals, they can challenge it to defend their own religious objections, and they may well win.

    http://www.scotusblog.com/2013.....ore-171251

  • blcartwright||

    A reason not to have employer provided coverage. Just pay the employee, then they are free to spend their pay on what they wish.

    A third party gets caught in the crossfire between the govt and the individuals.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Eduard, You Are Not the Only One with Stories of Christian Persecution

    -Palestinian Christians are under attack in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli settlers have been vandalizing Palestinian churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and other Christian institutions and property in alarming numbers over the past three years.

    These crimes are thought to be part of the larger “price-tag” movement, a campaign started by Israeli settlers in 2011 both to intimidate Palestinians into leaving their land and to establish a punitive “price” Palestinians must pay for perceived setbacks to the security and geographic expansion of the Jewish state.

    "Price tag" attacks are not aimed exclusively at Christian Palestinians. Secular and Muslim Palestinians are regularly victimized by the price tag attacks as well. But many attacks have, indeed, targeted Christian institutions."

    http://www.pcusa.org/news/2013.....er-attack/

  • ||

    j00000000000s

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Obamacare creepiness: ‘How did they know?’ Jim Angle shares disturbing experience with Obamacare 800 number

    Jim Angle @JimAngleFox
    I call the http://healthcare.gov 800 #, give my name & address, then put on hold. The guy comes back & says you appear to be in the media.
    6:51 PM - 1 Nov 2013
    Jim Angle @JimAngleFox
    I was calling from an unlisted number & gave personal cell as my phone. How did they know? I have no idea but he wouldn't answer questions.
    Jim Angle @JimAngleFox
    He told me a "an advanced resolution specialist" would call me in 2-5 business days. That will be interesting.

    From the comments:

    BAW • 14 hours ago −
    No surprise. The only thing the Obama administration has ever been good at is politics.

    So epic failures at actually helping people yet being highly efficient in protecting themselves from possibly negative press coverage is entirely consistent.
  • Rich||

    He told me a "an advanced resolution specialist" would call me in 2-5 business days.

    "Honey, there's a Mr., uh, *Guido* for you."

  • The Late P Brooks||

    More propaganda from the folks at NBC. "FREE RIDERS!"

    Fuck you, you lying sack of shit.

    Healthy young people who make an economically rational decision to forego health insurance are not free riders.

    Oh, goody, now they're talking bout Saint JFK. If he were alive and giving those speeches today, he'd be a fucking teabagstard.

  • Irish||

    Oh, goody, now they're talking bout Saint JFK. If he were alive and giving those speeches today, he'd be a fucking teabagstard.

    Exactly. JFK was president when they put in one of the largest tax cuts in American history.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    And if you think JFK would not have used drones in Cuba or Vietnam I have a bridge to sell you.

  • Irish||

    That doesn't really have anything to do with being a Tea Partier though. There seems to be a bipartisan consensus in favor of drones.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I only meant that many liberals are pearl clutching about Obama's use of drones but still present a hagiography about Camelot.

  • Irish||

    Well, if Ted Kennedy hadn't left Mary Jo Kepechne to die, then he would have helped her in her old age with Medicare.

    They're just all around great people. /Charles Pierce

  • Pathogen||

    "Healthy young people who make an economically rational decision to forego health insurance are not free riders."

    Yeah... They're much better off with the yolk of the irresponsible, elderly, infirmed, and chronically ill around their necks, pulling their weight.. Suck on some justice, young & healthy freeloaders!

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Do they not know the difference between health insurance and healthcare, or are they being intentionally obtuse?

    What if I told them that I went to the doctor without INSURANCE but received HEALTHCARE by taking money out of my wallet and handing it over to his assistant? Would they be shocked by this free exchange of money for service?
    Would I be a free rider?

    See, when I see something like this, that's why quotes like this - "Let’s stipulate that most people who favor the ACA have honorable intentions" - piss me off.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Do you not know what they are talking about, or are you being intentionally obtuse?

    When they talk about the free rider problem they are talking about the fact that people without health insurance are still 'covered' if something catastrophic happens to them because care will be mandated to them under federal law, and the costs are distributed to society broadly.

    Now, I take that moment to note that the law is fixing a problem caused by another law (the first law is the 'free rider' problem), but your rant about healthcare and insurance strikes me as non-responsive at best.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "When they talk about the free rider problem they are talking about the fact that people without health insurance are still 'covered' if something catastrophic happens to them because care will be mandated to them under federal law, and the costs are distributed to society broadly."

    Huh, I thought the uninsured didn't receive healthcare, and were left to die in the streets? That was the whole fucking point of the Obamacare sell.
    So to now have liberals, of all people, complain about free riders, is mendacious bullshit. And you eat it up.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You are not accurately representing what the proponents said. Obama quite prominently talked about people with no insurance going to the emergency room and then everyone else paying for it. You either missed that or are being mendacious about it yourself.

    The better response to these people is that it is their federal law that caused the free rider problem that their new federal law is supposed to 'fix.'

  • SusanM||

    It's funny to watch progs who want to help all the little bunnies and puppies and poor people turn around and bitch that those very same poor people should take responsibility and stop mooching off of them. The irony of it is somewhat lost on them.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Right, so instead of paying for them, we pay for them. Huh? That's right, now we give them explicit subsidies to buy insurance instead of simply absorbing the cost in other payments to hospitals. Obviously that fixes everything. Fuck, lawyers are idiots.

  • ||

    Fuck, lawyers are idiots.

    No wonder Bo is entering the field. I see a bright career forthcoming.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    When they talk about the free rider problem they are talking about the fact that people without health insurance are still 'covered' if something catastrophic happens to them because care will be mandated to them under federal law, and the costs are distributed to society broadly.

    I hardly see why leftists would have a problem with this.

    People without health insurance receiving health care--"irresponsible parasites."

    People using Medicare and Medicaid--"necessary safety net."

    Logically speaking, mandating service without requiring proof of ability to pay should be at the top of left-wing healthcare requirements. They just don't like the fact that this approach has proven economically flawed.

  • blcartwright||

    They are not a free rider until they consume a service and then refuse to pay for it. Not purchasing insurance in the period before seeking treatment is simply running a risk, which some people have calculated to be worth it.

  • ||

    For many people, the added benefits or mental health and substance abuse coverage will come at the cost of out-of-network coverage. That means that if you are a drug user or are mentally ill, you benefit, but if you have (say) kidney problem, you won't be able to see the specialist of your choice. You'll be restricted to in-network doctors.
    That means that the quality of your care will decrease.

    The "losers" don't merely include the relatively healthy who will be paying higher premiums, they include sick people who have illnesses that require specialist treatment. The "winners" include the relatively sick the poor, the mentally ill, and drug addicts.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I've wondered about this nonsensical way Obamacare handles networks, and wonder if the plan is to use it as a back door to control doctors. They can't force doctors to accept Medicare or Medicaid, or to do other things, but they probably could force the networks to only accept doctors who agree to whatever rules they want to set up. If it's too expensive for most people to pay for out of network care, then most people and doctors will be locked into whatever network rules have been forced by the government.

  • ||

    What's likely to happen is an evolution towards a tiered system. At the top you will have relatively wealthy people who can self-insure, or will pay for gold-plated health plans that cover all the benefits and have quality networks but are priced to exclude the less well off by virtue of cost. Or there will be concierge fees. So the high-tier doctors will filter out the poor by pricing coverage out of their reach.

    Then in the middle will be middle-class professionals with employer-based care. Employer based plans will cover out-of-network doctors at 70-80%. The network physicians will be the same as in the third tier, but the out-of-network coverage will allow you to jump the line and see a specialist outside the network if you need to.

    Third tier will be individual market purchasers who will end up with very restricted provider networks with long wait-lists and no out-of-network coverage. So you can't jump the line by going out of network. Care will be thus rationed by wait-list.

    The people really getting fucked over in all this will be the young and relatively healthy middle class self-employed. They will be stuck in the same shitty provider networks as the poor getting subsidized plans and they won't be able to escape by using an out-of-network doctor.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Agree 100%, and I almost added a bit about this creating a tiered system.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Welcome to much of Europe and Canada. If single payer were truly so great, why do those countries have thriving private care?

  • Gordilocks||

    There is no private health care in Canada; unless, of course, you pay for health care while visiting the United States.

    In Canada, it is actually ILLEGAL to provide private health care services which compete with the government. Other countries which feature this mendacious rule are Cuba and North Korea. Great company we're keeping up here, eh?

  • Rich||

    They can't force doctors to accept Medicare or Medicaid

    Ahem.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Let’s stipulate that most people who favor the ACA have honorable intentions:

    IOW let's delude ourselves.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Oh, noes: radical anti-government America-hating terrorist lunatic!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "We need healthy young Americans to keep the Good Ship Obamacare afloat!"

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    White Ribbon Against Pornography Week Comes to an End

    -The White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Campaign began with one woman in Butler, PA in 1987. Norma Norris heard a sermon against pornography delivered by the pastor of her Catholic parish. Msgr. Francis Glenn lamented that local prosecutors and law enforcement had been deluded into thinking that people didn’t care about the hardcore porn being sold in her community. Norma looked at the full pews in the church and said, “That can’t be; we’re here and we care!” Norma then gave herself the challenge to inspire her community and to send out the message: WE CARE! WE COUNT!

    Norma then worked with Msgr. Glenn, the Butler County Citizens for Decency, and the Butler Fellowship of Churches to organize the first White Ribbon campaign. Ribbons were distributed; huge white ribbon bows were sent to the Governor and the Attorney General of Pennsylvania; petitions were signed; and a motorcade was organized.

    The highlight of the campaign was the bulldozing of a closed porn bookstore. The Butler County Citizens for Decency bought the property especially for the purpose. A judge signed an eviction notice against the store, and on a sunny day in fall, in front of a large crowd of citizens and cameras from local TV stations, the bulldozer smashed the porn shop to smithereens.

    http://pornharms.com/beaware/about-wrap

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Is bulldozing a building that you own now unlibertarian?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It would be interesting to know how they got to own that building given what I have documented about how these snit-SOB (sexually oriented businesses) work. Hint: getting the Governor and the Attorney General on board might have played a role.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    A little digging, and indeed it seems the heavy hand of the state is found in Norma's campaign. The link below has an older newspaper account of her crusade, it notes the campaign to 'close down' the adult bookstore in question and the 'court order' that made it happen.

    http://news.google.com/newspap.....50,1065503

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It merely recaps that the court order enforced an eviction of the tenant by the building owner.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    What do you think the court action was about? The adult business certainly thought its rights were being violated. And of course the Governor and Attorney General who joined the cause did not influence proceedings one bit.

    Additionally, we know where this campaign went:

    -Since then, MIM's legal team has proposed, helped draft and helped defend in court countless federal, state and local obscenity and related laws, including proposing and helping defend the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations) -- obscenity law, which is the "legal weapon" that pornography racketeers fears the most.

    http://www.wrapfamily.com/wrap.htm

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Did you read the newspaper article that you posted?

    It clearly states that the legal action was an eviction of the tenant.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    http://reason.com/archives/201.....nt_4106890

    The tenant sued and won in court, the judge saying his lease was valid and in effect. The local Catholic Msgr. went to the DA for help. Norris' campaign, including pressure from the Governor and Attorney General, caused the DA to intervene and a court to 'reconsider' the case. The eviction was then granted and the building demolished.

    The campaign was then 'picked up' by MIM which promoted obscenity convictions by state and federal prosecutors.

    This is what you are defending my SoCon friend.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Ah, here is the link for the claims supra:

    http://newspaperarchive.com/be.....-04/page-2

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I don't see any calls for government action on that website - if I missed them then copy and post it directly.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You need to read better:

    -Since then, MIM's legal team has proposed, helped draft and helped defend in court countless federal, state and local obscenity and related laws, including proposing and helping defend the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations) -- obscenity law, which is the "legal weapon" that pornography racketeers fears the most.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Ok I missed that - I agree that makes them douche bags.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Fair enough, 'SoCon' charge retracted.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Or the owner just sold the building - the porn shop was clearly a tenant and not the property owner. And it's unclear whether the porn shop had closed before the property was transferred.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Those underinsured dopes will all be better off once we just steamroller them into uniform government issued policies.

    David Gregory wakes up screaming in the middle of the night, terrified that the people will stop believing in the ability of the government to cure all ills, and successfully impose vast centrally planned economic programs on them.

    KEEP CLAPPING, AMERICA!

  • Irish||

    Bill Maher is Shrike.

    “I think the country in general is on a decline,” Maher explained. That’s because, Maher said, Americans are getting “stupider.” And that means that they must be lied to: “It sure is hard if you’re a politician—not that I’m really that sympathetic to them—to try to get information into people’s heads. I don’t think Obama should’ve lied to people…”

    In fairness, the fact that a gibbering idiot like Bill Maher has a television show does seem to indicate that Americans are getting 'stupider.'

    Note: Has anyone ever used the word 'stupider' who was not themselves really, really dumb?

  • Pathogen||

    There's a niche market for everything, even Maher. He's like the "Neuticles" of the punditry market. Celebrate the diversity, and the availability of choice...

  • Sevo||

    ..."That’s because, Maher said, Americans are getting “stupider.”"....

    Take him off the air, and watch the aggregate IQ rise.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Isn't the notion of the "noble lie" a concept that dates to Plato's The Republic?

    I remember my classics class debating that work and about half the class thought Plato was trollin', trollin', trollin'.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Huh. Bernie Kerik was surprised to discover prison sucks.

    Of course, it doesn't matter when you're the one doing the sending. It matters a lot when the doors clang shut behind you.

    Gregory says there is some sort of Bill being put forward in the Senate; oddly, he did not mention who is sponsoring it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    That’s because, Maher said, Americans are getting “stupider.”

    THANK A TEACHER

  • The Late P Brooks||

    They're much better off with the yolk of the irresponsible, elderly, infirmed, and chronically ill around their necks

    Just smile and think of that glorious day when you will be sponging off your children and grandchildren, Comrade! You will be atop the pyramid (scheme) one day.

  • Pathogen||

    Grinding poverty is a dish best shared...

  • juris imprudent||

    Sheldon, you appear to have missed the Matthew Fleischer bit in the LA Times. He stated it quite clearly - he was very happy that all of the people were going to get health insurance, and equally dismayed that he was having to pay for it.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    George Stepho is wringing his hand about leaks from the Obama white house.

    WTF has happened to the press?

  • Pathogen||

    They're all bucking for positions in this, and future administrations...

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Stepho is not really press, he just moved from the political to the propaganda branch of the DNC.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Towing the lion: NYT: Insurance Policies Not Worth Keeping

    Congressional Republicans have stoked consumer fears and confusion with charges that the health care reform law is causing insurers to cancel existing policies and will force many people to pay substantially higher premiums next year for coverage they don’t want. That, they say, violates President Obama’s pledge that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it.

    Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that.

    See? Obama never lies. He merely misspeaks. A lot. All the time, really. But lie? Never!

    By law, insurers cannot continue to sell policies that don’t provide the minimum benefits and consumer protections required as of next year. So they’ve sent cancellation notices to hundreds of thousands of people who hold these substandard policies. (At issue here are not the 149 million people covered by employer plans, but the 10 million to 12 million people who buy policies directly on the individual market.)

    Looks like Obama's not the only one who misspeaks. I'm quite sure that the NYT editorial board has seen the leaked reports showing that the same thing will be happening to the employer plans.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    cont.

    The article goes on to unwittingly point out one of the paradoxes of Obamacare:

    Premiums are apt to come down for older patients and sicker patients with chronic illnesses. Premiums will likely go up for younger, healthier patients.

    and

    Federal analysts estimated last week that, after subsidies, two-thirds of the uninsured young adults in 34 exchanges around the country could get coverage for less than $100 a month, and almost half could get it for less than $50 a month.

    So young adult coverage will be paying for seniors and sick people, but young people's coverage is largely subsidized (and will only become more so because subsidies automatically rise to cover plan increases). So how can you do that without blowing up the federal budget? Answer: you can't.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Or they're lying again.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Hard to believe that contradiction made it past an editor.

  • blcartwright||

    the 2/3 of young adults that get coverage for under $100/mo do it by going on Medicaid, which means subsidized by tax dollars.

  • Pathogen||

    "See? Obama never lies. He merely misspeaks. A lot. All the time, really. But lie? Never!"

    It's not comrade Obama's fault... He was sabotaged by his treacherous teleprompter... I denounce his kulak teleprompter... to the gulags with it...

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "Let’s stipulate that most people who favor the ACA have honorable intentions:..."

    "It was not a lie, let’s just be very clear," Wasserman Schultz said. "So let me knock that down right away. When the president and myself and every other Democrat that talked about that if you like your health care, you can keep it, that was referring to the overwhelming majority of Americans who had health care.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....05123.html

  • Rich||

    Yeah, Axelrod was spouting this crap on MTP this morning.

    Apparently if a statement is untrue for a (small enough) portion of the population then it's not a lie.

  • Juice||

    I can't believe no one called her on that LIE she had just told. I can't believe Bill Maher, Rob Reiner, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson didn't immediately dogpile her for such total bullshit.

  • juris imprudent||

    Well, of those three you just mentioned I would have expectations of honesty from only one.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Obviously they were talking about people who had health care (insurance?). Who else could like a health insurance plan other than the ones who had one?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The roll out of Obamacare does not match Obama's expectations and as soon as he finds out who is running this rogue entity, the Federal Government, he's going to send him(self) a strongly worded letter stated how disappointed he is.

  • Irish||

    New York Times: Obama 'mispoke' when he said you can keep your plan.

    That, they say, violates President Obama’s pledge that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it.

    Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that.

    There's no sugarcoating it. Hitler mispoke when he said he wouldn't invade Czechoslovakia.

  • Rich||

    Indeed, in all the furor, people forget how terrible many of the soon-to-be-abandoned policies were.

    Mein Führer!

  • Pathogen||

    Well, to be fair, those filthy Slavs were freeloading of the righteous Germanic peoples in the Sudetenland... Hitler simply misspoke out of pragmatism...

  • juris imprudent||

    And Chamberlain plagiarized Disreali with "peace in our time". Don't all you people understand THAT is what is the important part?

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    rigocolon524
    15 Fans
    Republicans including Mitt Romney in this morning Meet The Press show who said that Obama has misled the American people by telling them if they have a health insurance policy they can keep it and now these people are receiving letters of cancellation of their of their health insurance. Let me inform you on what has happened because I am also one of the health plan holder that was cancelled however I do not think that THE PRESIDENT has misled me because I was told by my insurance broker upon purchasing my plan not to ever call it a health insurance. As a matter of fact she told me that it was illegal to call it a health insurance. She told me that what I was buying is called "A DISCOUNT MEDICAL PLAN" that only cover $50.00 per Doctor visit and pay for generic medication. While I have this plan I have to go the hospital for an abscess on my right plantar. My hospital bill was $38000.00 which I could not afford. This situation end up affecting my credit rating. Obama did not mislead me or anyone. We did not have a health insurance, we only have a discount medical plan.

  • Irish||

    What did this moron buy and why does he think everyone else is as stupid as he is?

  • Sevo||

    Shorter rigocolon:
    'I'm a dumb shit and proud of it!'

  • Pathogen||

    "In Stalingrad, Comrade Rigocolon didn't think of himself.. He gave!"

  • Rich||

    I was told by my insurance broker upon purchasing my plan not to ever call it a health insurance.

    Emphasis added.

    "This purchase never happened, right?"

  • Juice||

    Every, let me repeat, EVERY individual plan is being phased out. A very small percentage of those were "scam insurance." Most of the policies were fine and already meeting state-mandated minimum standards, even in the so-called redneck states.

  • blcartwright||

    and this person also believes that everyone one who has an individual plan had a discount card like they did.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    CaptainFrogbert
    559 Fans
    Look there are two realities here:

    First: The GOP is opposed to ANYTHING Obama touches, regardless of whether THEY THEMSELVES INVENTED IT (as with ACA). They are a party mired in spite and arrogance. They hate democracy and freedom, do not believe that Democrats are a legitimate party. They prefer fascist one party totalitarian rule.

    Second: the GOP would rather see 10,000 Americans DIE than let a single billionaire lose fifty cents in profits. And that is not hyperbole. That is the core of this "debate." The GOP wants the billionaires of the insurance industry to make as much money as possible (legally or not, ethically or not) and they will allow millions of Americans to suffer and die to ensure those profits. The GOP supports profits (of any nature -- note that Forbes includes half a dozen international drug kingpins on its list of wealthiest people. They don't care WHERE the money comes from, ALL they care about is money) over human life, profits over freedom, profits over truth.

    The GOP is the sickness of which this nation must be cured if it is to survive as America and not a pale imitation of Soviet Russia with a bandaid placed over communism and labeled "capitalism" (but actually just a plutocratic form of totalitarian corporate socialism.)

  • Irish||

    The GOP is the sickness of which this nation must be cured if it is to survive as America and not a pale imitation of Soviet Russia with a bandaid placed over communism and labeled "capitalism" (but actually just a plutocratic form of totalitarian corporate socialism.)

    Yes. We need the Democrats to save us from socialism. They are shining lights of capitalism, those Democrats.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Captain Frogbert avidly awaits a hero to offer a final solution to the republican problem.

  • Pathogen||

    That solution is still bogged down in committee, they still need an eco-friendly, low carbon way to dispose of the bodies... And the Republicans are obstructing with rider bills...

  • VG Zaytsev||

    they still need an eco-friendly, low carbon way to dispose of the bodies

    Compost them - and fertilize organic food for teh poor an oppressed - the bastards would finally do penance for all their sins.

  • Pathogen||

    Good... but what about all of the (CH4)? That's like super AGW, and we can't let those Rethuglikkkans stick it to the environment... one last time..

  • Lady Bertrum||

    The obvious solution to both the environmental issue and getting rid of those pesky dissenters is soylent green.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Who is this Dan Pfeiffer asswhipe that's trying to polish Obama's turds?

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Mike Dennison
    1
    SUPER USER·735 Fans
    Don't blame Obama if your insurance company drops you. Blame your insurance company. Odds are, it was a crappy policy to begin with. ObamaCare has a very specific "Grandfather" clause saying that all old policies were valid as long as they didn't change. If insurance companies wanted to make a change, then the changed policy would have to meet ObamaCare requirements -- such as not allowing discrimination against pre-existing conditions. Some people just don't know a good thing when they see it.

  • Pathogen||

    How... how could I have been sooo blind?

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    espresso1
    116 Fans
    The affordable care act has minimum standards that these former Junk insurance plans do not cover. It is the insurance company that decides to change or dump your plan, not Obama. It's called the Free Market and it's the way our economy works.

  • Sevo||

    There are folks who post here who think those snookered by that lying piece of shit will blame that lying piece of shit and themselves for being snookered.
    Ha, ha.

  • Irish||

    Well, you have to take into consideration who we're talking about. These are HuffPo users. They are far less intelligent than average, much more gullible, and easily distracted by shiny objects.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Keep going with that line of attack, progs.

    I'm sure calling all the people that lost their insurance (that was cheap and they were happy with) dupes and idiots will really turn the tide. Hell, they'll be coming out in droves for the dems in the midterms, especially after you confiscate their tax return!

    Hey, maybe get the Light Bringer to go on the teevee and speechify about it. That'll really get everybody excited!

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Rand needs to tell the proggies to fuck off over this phony plagarism bullshit.

  • Irish||

    What happened? I haven't heard about this.

    I'm not sure how the progs can attack anyone else for plagiarism when their vice president plagiarized a law review article while in law school and ended up quitting the 1988 presidential race because he plagiarized a bunch of speeches from British politicians.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Madcow started it a week or so ago. Rand gave a speech that included a summary of the plot of Gattica. Said summary seemed to be based off of the Wikipedia entry for the movie. So MadCow has been ranting about what a plagarist Rand is for not citing Wikipedia in the speech.

    And then just now, uberdouche Stephanopolus asked Rand about his plagiarism controversy during an interview that was centered on Obamacare and foreign policy.

  • Irish||

    Apparently he also copied some pages from an article for one of his books, but he cited the article in his book and the people who wrote it said they didn't consider it plagiarism.

    So...he cited the article and the people who wrote the article think it was okay. What a terrible person.

  • Irish||

    I really don't see this as being all that big a deal though. Given that Obama just got caught lying about people being able to keep their insurance, I feel like no one other than crazed progs could possibly see this as anything more than a minor and inconsequential moral lapse.

    If this and Aquabuddha are the best they can get on Rand, there must not be much dirt.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -I'm not sure how the progs can attack anyone else for plagiarism when their vice president plagiarized

    Well, in fairness that can go both ways, those who attacked Biden might have trouble defending Rand on plagiarism in general (though I think arguments that Rand's plagiarism was not as egregious [plagiarism in a formal article or school assignment strikes me as worse than in speeches or a popular book]).

  • Irish||

    I don't even think that the book one counts as plagiarism. He cited the source, albeit in a way that wasn't as clear as it should have been.

    As for the wikipedia one...I mean he was stumping for another politician and took some info from wikipedia. He didn't make any money off of this 'plagiarism' and had no personal gain as a result of it. It also wasn't taken from anyone else's paid work. The reason taking info without sourcing it is bad is because you're taking someone's hard work without saying who did it. Since Wikipedia is essentially anonymous, that reason for being opposed to plagiarism is also not going to fly in this case.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It's clearly just an attempted smear by political hacks - and a lame one at that.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    and ended up quitting the 1988 presidential race because he plagiarized a bunch of speeches from British politicians.

    Actually, he plagiarized Neil Kinnock's biography.

    You'd think if he was going to do that he'd at least steal the bio of a political winner.

  • Pathogen||

    Yeah Rachel, it's awkward when someone calls you out on a bogus plagiarism rap...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Some people just don't know a good thing when they see it.

    Yeah. Thank goodness his Zeroificness saved me from those fly-by-night gypsters at Blue Cross.

  • ||

    Their intentions may be honorable, but their methods are not.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Yes, and I would add their results (though you may have meant that included in their methods).

  • ||

    I have to disagree on this point;

    "How many favor it merely because it builds up government power and takes money from the well and well-heeled? I suspect it’s the same number as those who oppose it out of a dislike of the poor and ill. "

    "In light of that failure, it makes no sense to expand the partnership further under the central authority of the federal government,..."

    I makes perfect sense if expanding building up government power and looting the rich (read as middle class bitter clingers) to buy votes is your goal.

    The architects and prime supporters of this law want it specifically because it expands government power. It doesnt just line up with their interests, it is designed specifically to further them. The mental health provision especially is going to be used, I suspect, to bar anyone who uses it from owning guns. (That could have the effect of people avoiding using it and forestalling the price explosion mentioned. ) We really have no idea yet how many thousands of provisions the law contains like that that will be used against us.

    As for the popular support it enjoys, as scant as it is, the only motive I have personally heard mirrors that of the OWS crowd; envy and hate for anyone who has more than they do.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The only support I've heard for it from real people (as opposed to tv & internet personas) is that "we should have free healthcare, like they have in Europe". Always said by someone that is in or recently graduated from college.

  • alephnaut||

    Well since we've been paying for an empire building military for decades they've got good reason to envy the europeans who have placed mundane things like healthcare over blowing shit up all over the world.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The architects and prime supporters of this law want it specifically because it expands government power.

    David Gregory was explicitly moaning about the potential for an unmasking of the Obamacare as a gargantuan clusterfuck to undermine public confidence in the ability of the federal government to bring forth and manage vast centralized policy initiatives.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If I say, "Don't mention the war" or "That would be telling" in a context in which I expect my listeners to recognize it as a pop culture reference, and some ignoramus fails to get it, have I committed plagiarism?

    That seemed to be what happened with that stupid "Gattaca" reference.

    Also, Maddow is a dope who for some reason seems to spend a lot of time obsessing about Rand Paul.

  • Redmanfms||

    Also, Maddow is a dope who for some reason seems to spend a lot of time obsessing about Rand Paul.

    She, like many prog travelers, is fucking terrified of him. He promotes views that are very appealing to a whole lot of people who vote for Democrats without being in the "Good Party."

    I'm nearly positive that people like her see Paul as a possible Reagan-redux (by which I mean a Republican who splits the Democrats), or worse, an actual revolutionary.

  • alephnaut||

    Yeah who cares if an elected official pilfers the work of others as his own without attribution? It's not like this is a democracy where you vote for people based on their ideas or anything.

  • alephnaut||

    Overapplication of market principles to goods and services with unique characteristics. In other words healthcare isn't fruit or lumber. The critique of the insurance model, like so many libertarian arguments, falls prey to what the founding fathers warned us against: falling preyto reason for reason may decieve us.

    It's a lot harder to compare prices for a doctor to repair your torso when your guts are hanging over the steering wheel in a car accident. For one you are probably unconscious. For another, even if you were conscious the timeliness requirement would undermine the sensitivity (and therefore efficiency) of the market model because the purchaser is acting ubder duress.

    Modern medicine is so complex, with so many specialties and so much expertise required that most people are not capable of rationally comparing among alternatives. Even when the doctor summarizes them! Let alone comparing them for price efficiency.

    Once we decide that we no longer allow people to die for want of emergency care then requiring participation in the pool *is* applying market principles as best as possible while removing perverse incentives.

    The freedom to choose your job without worrying it will cost your newborn vaccinations does make us all wealthier. And more free.

  • prolefeed||

    Modern medicine is so complex, with so many specialties and so much expertise required that most people are not capable of rationally comparing among alternatives.

    Yes, we get it that you are smart and everyone else is too stupid to make good choices and so you and your ilk should decide for them, comrade.

  • Pathogen||

    We are truly fortunate to have Top Men relieving us of the burden of difficult, and incomprehensible choices. I, for one, will sleep better at night...

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Once we decide that we no longer allow people to die for want of emergency care then

    We've decided that we won't let people die of thirst or hunger also and did not require single payer to or a managed market to achieve that.

    The freedom to choose your job without worrying it will cost your newborn vaccinations does make us all wealthier. And more free.

    Why should your newborn's vaccinations be tied to your job? You can pay the $50 for the vaccinations the same way that you pay more than that for their pampers.

    Or is it your position that we need single payer diapers too?

  • alephnaut||

    Actually 2/3rds of the people the govt redistributes money to for food (women and children) are operating in a managed environment. But women and children always pose a problem for libertarians.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "The freedom to choose your job without worrying it will cost your newborn vaccinations does make us all wealthier. And more free."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh2sWSVRrmo

  • OldMexican||

    Re: alephnaut,

    Overapplication of market principles[...]


    This is as idiotic a statement as saying that there can be overapplication of the laws of physics. The implication is that people cannot float at will or cast magik spells because there are bad people out there.

    In other words healthcare isn't fruit or lumber.


    Anything that is scarce will be subject to the law of supply and demand. As long as the number of doctors and hospital beds and medicines and little amber containers are finite, then medical services will behave exactly like lumber or fruit when it comes to human economic behavior.

  • alephnaut||

    Lol. Netwonian dynamics can be overapplied at different scales (think really small), velocities (near c) and temperatures (think ultra high or near zero). The ideological purity you crave is a fantasy of focus. It's why libertarianism isn't practical. Behavioral economics has gone a long way to debunk the notion that humans are purely rational in the classic economic sense (e.g. loss aversion).

  • alephnaut||

    Suppose you've managed to best all of the competition in a given industry. And you decide you want the best and brightest to work for you and you alone.

    So you go to purchase a plan for your employees. You say "tell me you best offer and I'll double it". It's a pittance for you but has all of a sudden inflated the cost of healthcare for everyone in the market for it.

    If the good or service was something with plenty of substitutes or one with far less severe conseuquences one might well look the other way. But as the good or service becomes more critical to modern life the more important it is to prevent speculative excess unrelated to organic demand from poisoning the well for the rest of us.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: alephnaut,

    It's a lot harder to compare prices for a doctor to repair your torso when your guts are hanging over the steering wheel in a car accident.


    Same thing when it comes to plumbing services when the basement is flooding, yet I haven't seen calls to nationalize plumbers. And the price comparison criticism that relies on emergencies is just a canard, precisely because that's why we buy insurance in the first place, to hedge against catastrophic events.

    Modern medicine is so complex, with so many specialties and so much expertise required that most people are not capable of rationally comparing among alternatives.


    This is another canard. Computer science and electronics are also pretty complex yet people are perfecty capable of comparing pricing and value between Android tablets vs. Microsoft with ease without a requirement to have a solid background in computer science or electronics.

  • alephnaut||

    And wadaya know? In the real world living in a flood prone area typically comes with a requirement to purchase flood insurance. And the key distinction is obvious: my basement has stuff that can be replaced. My life cannot.

    ACA requires people that can't opt out of emergency care to contribute to its costs.

  • Sevo||

    alephnaut|11.3.13 @ 12:16PM|#
    "Overapplication of market principles to goods and services with unique characteristics...."

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I find that analogies between transportation and health care can help us debunk the assertions of alephnaut and like-minded critics of the free-market. Modern transportation often involves complex, expensive machinery that most of us cannot understand, much less design, build, or maintain in any more than a superficial way. It is routinely purchased on both an elective and an emergency basis. But the larger the elective transportation segment is, the cheaper, more reliable, and more available EMERGENCY transportation becomes, as innovations and competition on the elective side can be used to improve and/or lower the cost of emergency transportation, not to mention that the vehicles of elective transportation can often be pressed into service for emergencies. So it makes sense to allow the transportation industry to operate in "elective" mode as much as possible, in order to guarantee that emergencies are handled as competently and efficiently as possible.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I just wanted to add that the fact that you can usually find a reliable, safe carrier from any point A to any point B in an emergency, even if you have to pay more for a short-notice ticket, is a CONSEQUENCE of a free(er) market in transportation. A mostly free market in health care, such as we enjoyed prior to the mid-1960s arrival of Medicare, would increase the likelihood that the provider you "drew by lot" in an emergency situation would have the necessary skills and access to resources, in order to provide you with at very least, reliably competent care until you or your decision-maker could make different arrangements.

  • blcartwright||

    That's why you should get insurance for hospital visits (they even called insurance "hospitilization" when I was a kid) that are necessary when your guts are haning out, but shop for price when doing planned things such as office visits or minor procedures, paying out of pocket of a medical savings account. But if you'd actually studied what our side believes you'd know that already.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Nicely done.

  • alephnaut||

    Naturr hasn't given us much in the way of calculating odds over timescales as long as 80 years. When you, as a youth wager you don't need insurance then show up at the hospital who pays? In an emergency? Should we lecture the person that wagered incorrectly on their foolishness and let them die? Little different than gambling wrong over where to have lunch.

  • blcartwright||

    if they had the money and chose not to be insured, treat them but stick them with the bill. that's how the rest of life works, there are consequences for actions and decisions. we don't let people die, but we can expect them to be responsible for their bills. If they have problems coming up with the money, apply for a subsidy.

    This is being said by a guy (me) who has a daughter with epilepsy, and multiple times have has had my wages garnished by the local hospital and still owe various medical providers in excess of $10k.

  • alephnaut||

    Ouch. We disagree but damn if that doesn't suck.

  • blcartwright||

    I've had insurance but with the frequent ER visits there were always parts of the bill left for me to pay that I couldn't keep up with, but I recognize it's my responsibility.

  • blcartwright||

    My wife and I each have a minivan. Her's is still owned by the bank, so we are required to carry collision coverage as well as liability (insuring the bills of the other guy). I do have a $500 deductible. I'm driving a 1998 POS with over 300k miles, it's been paid off free and clear for years so I do not carry any collision coverage, only roadside assistance. I hit a deer a couple years ago, crumpled the hood. Cost me $3000, but that's the chance I took. (Hit one with my wife's van too, $800 total, I paid the $500 deductible).

    Obamacare raises the premiums on healthy people but also raises their deductibles, so they are paying in more with less of a chance of receiving any payouts. With community rating, people can't be billed by the amount of risk they present, so it's just turned into a big transfer program, from the large numbers of healthy to the few heavy users.

  • Pathogen||

    Hmmm... Awkward...

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Overapplication of market principles to goods and services with unique characteristics. In other words healthcare isn't fruit or lumber.

    Of course it isn't. Those are products and healthcare is a service more akin lawyering or accounting.

    It's a lot harder to compare prices for a doctor to repair your torso when your guts are hanging over the steering wheel in a car accident.

    Obviously, but only a small percentage of healthcare is time critical. And even where it is, price signals, choice and competition in the other areas would create a pricing framework that would also inform the appropriate prices for critical situations.

    Modern medicine is so complex, with so many specialties and so much expertise required that most people are not capable of rationally comparing among alternatives.

    Prices in free markets are established at the margins. In other words, competition for the few people that do comparison shop set the price or service level for everyone. You don't have to get five bids on hamburgers everytime you go to lunch because the competitive market has created a range of price-quality levels that you are aware of.

    Besides, everything in modern life is complex and yet people are capable of making informed decisions.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: VG Zaytsev,

    Besides, everything in modern life is complex and yet people are capable of making informed decisions.


    Leftists will either rely on obnoxious condescension (i.e. people are too stupid) or cheap moralizing (i.e. these goods/services/take-your-pick are just "too important" to leave their just allocation to impersonal markets) to sell their wonderful ideas.

  • alephnaut||

    Yes but if I choose the "wrong" hamburger what am I out of? Vs choosing the wrong course of treatment for leukemia?

    The service has some pretty perverse ince tives and inordinately severe consequences. The hippocratic oath doesn't forbid a doctor from drumming up business (either nefariously or otherwise) by charging for treatment that isn't efficacious.

    When the services of an accountant are not up to par I am out of money that I might otherwise have kept. Not good sure but not death. When I choose a doctor what market signals do I have that he isn't doing that great a job? After a limb needs to be amputated? That's an entirely different kettle of fish particularly with an aging population.

    The service has unique characteristics that make a free market approach problematic.

  • SForza||

    When I need a tree removed, how can I be sure the tree service won't send the tree crashing into my home, killing me and my family?

    When I need a taxi, how can I be sure the driver won't be sleepy/distracted/maniacal and drive into oncoming traffic?

    When I order a (deep dish) pizza, how can I be sure it hasn't been made with artisanal mayonaise and circumcised foreskins?

    These services have unique characteristics that make a free market approach problematic. Please, government, save me!

  • alephnaut||

    You still dont get it. You can look at the tree remover while he is working. If yhe tree is moving dangerously close to the house you can say "Stop".

    In all of the cases you're talking about the service isnt *you*.

    Do you know how to read an mri? Or an ekg? To figure out which of the treatments has proven successful in treating *you*? Well enough to know when the doc is covering his arse vs not?

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  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I really like this essay, which sums up so much essential criticism of Obamacare in a few, short paragraphs. I will be recommending it to others. I do have one disagreement with the author, though:

    While requiring mental health benefits clearly exacerbates the bad situation into which Obamacare casts us, I don't embrace the hardline Szaszian view that mental illness is only "metaphorical," and that psychiatric care is of little or no utility. (Indeed Thomas Szasz himself saw utility in voluntary psychiatry, just not in the kind that one encountered in cases of involuntary commitment, even as he espoused the idea of commonly understood "mental illness" as being metaphorical.) I think that psychiatrists (i.e., actual MDs) can function usefully as the "triage" gatekeepers, sorting between true, neurological illness and "abnormal" personality problems. The psychiatrist could diagnose and treat low-level, minor neurological issues, or refer to neurologists for more serious or challenging cases. In that context, I think that psychiatric work could and should rightly be covered by a proper medical plan, just as visits to a general practitioner, who might then refer to another specialist who is better equipped to diagnose and treat particular ailments, should be covered. But therapy to allow square-peg people to continue to function in the round-holes society offers them is definitely not a medical issue, and, I feel, should be addressed separately from a "medical" plan.

  • ||

    I agree that there are real neurological mental illnesses, but that doesn't mean that every plan MUST cover mental health care.

    I don't believe there should be any mandatory minimum insurance, but if there is going to be a mandatory minimal insurance plan it should be *minimal*. If you have schizophrenia in your family tree, you should have the option of buying coverage, but it shouldn't be part of the minimal benefits that you are mandated to pay for.

    The mandatory minimum should really be nothing more than a bare-bones catastrophic coverage plan that protects you from medical bankruptcies due to major illnesses or accidents. It should not have to cover ANY of the things they are tacking on - substance abuse treatment, mental healthy care, maternity, pediatric dental care, etc.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I didn't say that every plan MUST cover mental health care. I said it was wrong to EXCLUDE mental health care from a plan because mental illnesses were only "metaphorical" and so their treatment didn't constitute proper medicine.

    Frankly, I would rather pay for all medical care out-of-pocket, or through individually and voluntarily purchased baskets of services offered by a healthcare provider or negotiated and bundled by a Costco-like, group-purchaser. Catastrophic coverage "insurance" should always be available as an option, but never a mandated requirement. Such an arrangement would, in my opinion, best harness market forces of supply, demand, competition, and innovation to produce the widest availability of high quality health care at affordable prices.

  • alephnaut||

    Yeah especially when it comes to communicable diseases. Those that you can spread to others. Maybe that's why every state requires you to purchase car insurance if you want to drive. You may not believe it but rumor has it you're not an island.

  • SForza||

    Non sequiturs are delicious.

  • Sevo||

    ..."In that context, I think that psychiatric work could and should rightly be covered by a proper medical plan, just as visits to a general practitioner, who might then refer to another specialist who is better equipped to diagnose and treat particular ailments,"...

    I have no problem if you choose an insurance plan that covers this or for that matter covers acupuncture, so long as you choose that plan for yourself.
    I have serious problems if you attempt to choose such plans for me.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I'm certainly not advocating insurance plans as we have come to know them, much less health insurance mandates of any kind, whether in terms of purchasing or coverage. I just had a problem with Richman's apparent bias against psychiatry (which seemed heavily influenced by Thomas Szasz, with whom I mostly, but not completely, agree).

  • Habeas Dorkus||

    But private insurance has been no better in the employee "marketplace" -- "private," but regulated and egalitarian.
    I drank a six-pack and a pint of whiskey every day for 10 years. Yet my vegan, psycho-fitness and much-younger colleagues paid the same rate I did in all that time.
    In the end, I crashed my motorcycle and broke my neck while dead drunk. In our plan, they subsidized me to the tune of $38,000.
    Did the "private" market screen me out as a risk who should pay much higher premiums? Nope.
    With Obama-the-fuck-if-I-care, this will be played out on a national scale, with tens of millions of people.
    The more I drink, the more your kids pay.
    Fuck you, America!

  • Mr_Honez||

    "Let’s stipulate that most people who favor the ACA have honorable intentions"

    How about we stipulate their good intentions when they stipulate ours.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Yeah, I'm still smarting from libertarians being likened to child molesters by that jerk on Salon, whose name I won't bother to look up because the venal bastard doesn't deserve it.

  • KarrenMahoney||

    my co-worker's sister-in-law makes hourly on the laptop. She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her payment was just working on the laptop for a few hours. pop over to this web-site........ http://www.works23.com

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