It Is Not the Curve That Bends. It Is Only Obama.


There is no spoon.

At a White House press conference this morning, ABC News reporter Jake Tapper asked President Obama to respond to a study by the government's Center for Medicare and Medicaid services released yesterday showing that, over the next ten years, total medical spending in the U.S. would rise slightly. For the most part, the president danced around the question, touting the law's headline benefits.

But eventually, he did note that, despite the projected increase, the average cost per family insured would drop. But as I noted yesterday, averages don't tell the whole story. And accepting the study's small cost-bump means accepting the dubious assumption that Congress would let physician's Medicare payment rates drop by 23 percent in December.

The other problem with this response is that when the president and his advisers first started talking about bending the cost curve, they weren't talking about average cost per family insured. They were talking about overall medical spending. "The only way I think we're going to fix it is if we see those two problems in the broader context of bending the curve down on health care inflation," the president told reporters in 2009. And if you look at the Commonwealth Fund's influential 2007 report on options for bending the curve, you see that the term was used was used to describe ways "to lower health spending relative to projected trends." Yesterday's CMS report projected that, in total, over the next decade, health spending will rise slightly more than if the law had not been passed. This is not a surprising result, really. Subsidizing health insurance for tens of millions more individuals was bound to result in some sort of immediate bump in health spending. And to his (sort of) credit, the president admitted as much. "As a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people health care, at the margins that's going to increase our costs." he told Tapper. "We knew that."


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  1. He’s right when he say “We knew that.” We did. That’s why we opposed it.

    He just wasn’t in that particular ‘we’ back then.

  2. Huh, it’s almost like he wants the government in charge of health insurance regardless of what the outcome might be.

    1. No.. that couldn’t be..

  3. “We knew that.”

    I’m not a big fan of the “Liar!” attacks that Welch likes. I believe that Obama believed many of the things he’s said in the past, before he had to face the political reality of things and then adjusted his stance. But how can this not be taken as evidence of an out-and-out lie? “We knew that it wouldn’t bend the cost curve, but we said that it would.”


    1. So your counter-contention to the liar accusation is that Obama has a poor model of reality? I feel better about this presidency already.

      1. Yeah, I feel much better thinking the President is a complete imbecile rather than a liar.

        Unfortunately, he’s both.

    2. I don’t think he lied. I just think he is stupid. Somehow knowing we have an honest dumb man in the Whitehouse doesn’t make me feel any better.

      1. Except that he sat on the reports that the health care costs would be far more for a couple of weeks until after the bill passed, despite being ready the week before the bill. So obviously, he is a full out liar. The whole point is to break the system so there will be no choice but single payer. All the fiscal models don’t matter because he will bankrupt the insurance companies and then remodel it all as single payer. All that money they goes to insurance companies right now will be instead going to the feds as taxes for healthcare so why quibble about the costs?

  4. To the doctors who were clamoring for single-payer: Enjoy your single deadbeat payer you assholes.

  5. I briefly considered watching the Ascended One’s tent show press conference.

    But I can’t afford a new teevee.

    1. I must admit, I watched it. Despite the possible danger to my TV, I keep hoping for an utterance so egregious that the audience erupts in one “WTF!” Disappointed again. I was told, however, that the reason we are in Afghanistan is that is whence Al Qaeda launched its attacks, so at least I know what will happen when AQ in PRC strikes.

      1. I really wanted some self-destructive, seating-chart questioner to ask: “Mr. President, given your administration’s propensity to blame everything on the Republicans, who control neither the House nor the Senate nor the Presidency, do you take responsibility for anything?”

        1. 3 Million jobs “created” or “saved”.

  6. We knew that and we knew he lied

  7. Something something medical works different than normal markets something externalities.

  8. When Dick Nixon lied, you could see the wheels turning behind his eyes as he was calculating the political ramifications of every word.

    Obama has the startled look of a kid with his hand in the cookie jar.

  9. “Are you telling me I can dodge questions?”

    “When you’re ready…you won’t have to.”

    1. In this week’s episode, Bill Clinton will be playing Morpheus.

    2. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has long since passed the phase of Obama learning to use all of his cool superpowers and entered into the causality monologues.

      1. We’re only at The Matrix Reloaded. Just wait until we get to Revolutions. And think how (even more) repulsive the orgy scene will be with politicians involved.

        1. Especially since the logical fit for Trinity in this metaphor is Nancy Pelosi

          1. You disgust me…in a good way.

          2. I always pictured it as being Rahm Emanuel for some reason.

        2. No, please, tell me that’s not true.

          1. I’m certainly not going to write it. the sort of scene is better ad-libbed anyway.

    3. When Michelle sits around the Matrix, she really sits around the Matrix!

  10. HA! No one will care,really. They will swallow the pills they are given.

  11. Why do I get the feeling we’ll be asked to choose between the blue suppository and the red suppository?

    1. We won’t. Our betters will be choosing for us.

      1. No no, we get the double sized purple suppository.

    2. Both red AND blue suppositories won’t be covered under the government plan. They’re too expensive.

  12. Of course we knew that! We’re not stooopid!

  13. Look, let me make one thing perfectly clear:

    I am a narcissistic, hypocritical, lying sack of shit. I think the you know that. I think Congress knows that. And I think I’ve made that perfectly clear to the American people since before I was elected President.

    So that should be clear. And I don’t think anyone should be surprised by anything I say or do anymore, because everyone has known from the time I was running for office that I am a pathological liar.

    Oh, and it’s Bush’s fault.

  14. Also from this morning’s press conference:

    He said he will do all he can “to remind the American people that we are one nation under God. And we might call that God different names, but we remain one nation.”

    So, the 1.6 million Muslims are in, the 3.6 million atheists are out.*

    *Source: Wikipedia:

    1. Sorry, dude. Too many white atheists for minority status.

      1. Anyone notice that none of the major networks ever invite atheists to their little strategist/discussion panels? The debate involves Christians vs. Muslims (i.e. religion) yet nobody thinks to ask whether religion itself is the problem. The cosmic joke-tragedy rolls on, unabated.

    2. only 3.6 million atheists? really? i’m schocked it’s that low

      1. With the President saying shit like that, who would want to speak up?

        I bet you it’s at least 10 times that. More if you throw in the agnostics, the “I never really think about it,” and the vague “I think there is some sort of life force, man” hippies.

        1. It doesn’t matter; the Christians hate the Muslims, but they hate atheists even more. At least for the theists, even if they want to kill each other over their voice in the sky, they can agree that there is a voice in the sky.

          1. I feed on their hate. It’s delicious.

            1. Carl: That, you know, I don’t know if I believe in God, but…I think he must hate me.

              Frylock: Carl?

              Carl: Because he allowed you to create a dog that constantly rapes me!

          2. There’s plenty of hate all around. Once you’ve defined yourself according to a particular tribe, you begin to see all the OTHER tribes as a threat. The “Atheist” movement seems to follow the same pattern…

            1. Form tribes and kill each other. That is just what people do. Nothing could be more human than that.

              1. …every individual convinced they have discovered the Truth … and everyone that can’t see it are fools.

                1. So, why should I care if the other guy is a fool?

                  A fool is just another moneymaking opportunity.

            2. Only because ALL the religious groups despise us. Srsly. The approval numbers for satanists are better than the approval numbers for atheists (WTF!). And if you want a truly sickening display of hypocrisy find two religionists arguing over some doctrinal dispute; throw an atheist into the room and the two religionists will always and immediately forget their differences and turn on the atheist.

              1. Satanists throw better parties and are less likely to be assholes.

              2. But why do you care?

                If I saw two people arguing which celebrity is the hottest.. and I walked over and said that I thought people that idolized celebrities are stupid.. what sort of response would I get?

                If you don’t believe in Religion, why form a movement against it?

                1. do you really feel persecuted?

                2. If you don’t believe in Religion, why form a movement against it?

                  Defending yourself is not a form of aggression.

                  1. against what, exactly?

                3. Jesus Fucking Christ (get it?), it’s not a “movement against it”. You theists are so fucking navel-gazing that you think atheists are super-concerned about your sky daddy. We’re not. You are. Stop fucking projecting.

                  What we want is for you to fuck off. I care less for your sky daddy than I do for the Tooth Fairy (no homo).

                  1. If you are so unconcerned about it, then why the hell are you do you go to court every time you see a Christmas Tree? I don’t see any Christians or Muslims out there suing atheists. But atheists sure do love to sue everyone else.

                    1. Who is “we”, sky daddy boy? I like Christmas trees and decorations.

                      But hey, I can’t expect you to actually inject a little subtlety into your thought, because “OH NOES ITS DA ATHEISTS”

                    2. Dude, are you capable of having a discussion about this stuff without turning into a small child have a temper tantrum?

                    3. Dude, are you capable of having a discussion about this stuff without completely distorting atheist beliefs and positions? Oh, you’re not? Ok then.

                    4. Which specific beliefs and positions did I distort?

                    5. Epi,

                      You guys are always pissed off. And you people talk about God more than any group I know. Every problem seems to go back to religion and thus this God you claim doesn’t exist. Maybe you and this God need to have a sit down and work things out.

                    6. John, that’s incredibly stupid, even for you. We atheists aren’t the ones demanding that superstitions be taught alongside science, we aren’t the ones demanding creche scenes or ten commandments be displayed on govt property. Establishment clause, John, you’re supposed to be an attorney…

                    7. The establishment clause never meant that for nearly 200 years. All it ever meant was you couldn’t set up a theocracy. It never meant you couldn’t put a religious symbol anywhere near a government building.

                      And if religion is so self evidently ridiculous, what do you care if the ten commandments are on a building? Do you think it is some kind of magic talisman that is out to get you? If religion is so ridiculous, why are you so threatened and frightened by its symbols? And don’t tell me you are afraid of being oppressed. Atheists have never been oppressed in this country.

                    1. ^^ I don’t know it seems that some Atheists are pretty interested in the Sky Daddy after all

                    2. Oh noes, the tiny number of atheists are persecuting our incredibly vast majority of sky daddy believers! We don’t look insanely insecure or anything!

                    3. The conversation stems from my proposition that the vile seems to come just as much from Atheists as it does from Christians, or Muslims. are you proving this wrong?

                    4. I think Dawkins might be some evangelical who is posing as an atheist for the purpose of making atheists seem like pedantic oppressive assholes.

                  2. And if you are so unconcerned, why are you always so pissed off? Seriously, the guys over in Gaza blowing themselves up are generally more cheerful than the typical American atheist.

                    1. I guess assholes constantly comparing us to Stalin and Mao is supposed to make us happy?

                    2. yeah, because generalizations and comparisons are never used against Christians

                    3. Tell me again how all atheists are immoral by definition, Brother Wolf. That’s a fun bedtime story.

                    4. I don’t remember that. Could you please link to my statement?

                    5. Why do I have to, BW? John said it in another thread and because all atheists think alike, it’s OK to think all Christians think alike, right?

                      I mean we ALL worship Dawkins and protest Christmas trees, after all.

                    6. I usually throw myself into these arguments when people get into a “Christians are killing people” shit fit. I honestly could give a rats ass about people being atheists. In my experience, one’s religious beliefs don’t necessarily predict or guarantee a moral behavior. I will however, stand up and defend Sky Daddyists if provoked.

                    7. “In my experience, one’s religious beliefs don’t necessarily predict or guarantee a moral behavior.”

                      That is not just your experience. That is the truth.

                    8. I never said atheists were immoral. I said they are kidding themselves if they think “morality’ has any meaning in a universe without God. Doesn’t mean they can’t be fine people.

                    9. Is that why the local atheist gadflys have to make sure kids can’t sing Christmas songs in school anymore? Because someone called them Mao once?

                    10. Yes, and the Jewish, Muslim, Buddhists, and atheist kids can just fuck themselves during the Christmas songs, right?

                      I have no interest in forcing anyone to be an atheist, but I’m sure am interesting in not being forced to play along with religionists as a part of public life.

                    11. “Yes, and the Jewish, Muslim, Buddhists, and atheist kids can just fuck themselves during the Christmas songs, right?”

                      Sure. And they can all sing Ramadam songs and Hanukkah songs to. And gee maybe they will learn something and actually respect each other. You never know.

                    12. I’m cheerier than bowl full of Cheerios, John. I just don’t agree to listen to a bunch of bullshit about voices in the sky without commenting.

                      Sorry if you don’t like it, but your beliefs are fucking stupid. I know it sucks having that pointed out with reason and logic, but hey, tough shit.

                    13. And when it comes to this subject Episiarch, you are an insufferable insecure asshole. And it is no wonder no one can atheists because you are pretty much par for the course.

                    14. Oh, poor John (makes clown frown face). You do understand that from an atheist perspective, you are an insufferable insecure asshole who constantly shoves his persecution complex in our faces? I know it’s difficult for a whiner like you to understand, but your projection and complaints about being a fucking persecuted massive majority are so egregious as to be laughable, if you weren’t so fucking annoying.

                      Get it now? Can you grasp it? Can you try?

                    15. Episiarch,

                      If you didn’t have a giant persecution complex, why would my perceive me having one and be bothered so much by it? The only reason I can send you into an profanity laced tirade is because you are convinced that you are really the most oppressed person on earth. If you were not convinced of that, I wouldn’t be able to get under your skin so much by pointing out that atheists tend to be annoying gadlfys who spend their lives suing over public Christmas trees.

                    16. Maybe take a look back at this thread and watch how it evolved. What are my beliefs, exactly? Please remind me in great detail.

                    17. Good luck with that Brother Wolf. With these people there is no middle ground. You are either with them or a fundie lunatic. There can be nothing in between.

                    18. There is something in between, John. His name is robc and he never baits atheists or whines about being a persecuted majority. robc is a committed Christian and yet none of the “militant” atheist ever attack him. Why is that, John?

                    19. I don’t know, it’s fun to be attacked by the peaceful, non-threatening, logical atheists on this board.

                    20. When did I ever claim to be either peaceful or non-threatening? See Epi on projecting, upthread.

                    21. “Christian and yet none of the ‘militant’ atheist ever attack him.”

                      Do you even know what projecting means? This is from 3 posts up.

                    22. Answer NutraSweet’s question, John. Because I have a lot of respect for rob, yet he’s religious. I don’t have any respect for you, and you’re religious.

                      Try and figure out the differences.

                    23. Why do you respect Rob? He believes the same things I do that you say are so irrational. Do you just not like me being mean to you? Am I going to make you cry Episiarch?

                    24. Sugarfree,

                      I defy you to go get one post where I ever claim Christians are a persecuted minority in the United States. If you got one, I will take it back. But to my memory no such post exist. You guys project that on me because you don’t like what I have to say and don’t have a good response to it. I have never claimed that and do not now.

                      And I only bait the atheists because they bait the Christians so badly. And you attack me because I am the only one on the other side who gives as good as I get.

                    25. John|9.10.10 @ 2:53PM|#

                      If you are so unconcerned about it, then why the hell are you do you go to court every time you see a Christmas Tree? I don’t see any Christians or Muslims out there suing atheists. But atheists sure do love to sue everyone else.

                      OH NOES!

                      You don’t give as good as you get, John. That’s what’s so funny about it.

                    26. “You don’t give as good as you get, John. That’s what’s so funny about it.”

                      You sure seem awfully concerned and angry about it for it not be giving back as good as I get. I guess you are reduced to making personal attacks because you have so many other rational arguments to make. And again, show me a post where I ever claimed Christianity was an oppressed minority in the US or shut the fuck up and stop pretending I believe things I don’t.

                    27. “I’m cheerier than bowl full of Cheerios,”

                      You just run around pissed off all the time calling everyone who disagrees with you crazy. You are not an asshole as much as you are just funny. Like I said above, I think you and this God you claim doesn’t exist, yet seems to in his non existence rule most of your life, need to have a heart to heart and try to work things out.

                    28. You keep telling yourself that, John. It’s just another article of “faith” in your life that you will believe with no proof or truth. But hey, that’s what you do.

        2. Hey, you know what they say:

          If you’re not an agnostic/panthiest in your twenties, you’re not drinking enough. If you’re not an athiest in your 30’s and 40’s, your’re delusional.

      2. It says there are 34million people with NO RELIGION and only 3.6million are either agnostic or atheists?

        I’d use the 34 million people number for your argument.

        1. I thought the same, but took the more parsimonious number as I assumed they were at least self-identified as athiests/agnostics.

          1. You parsimoniousousness sickens me.

    3. OH, F**K!

      I have managed to kick off another Atheism/Believer pissing match.

      Sorry about that, chief.

      1. I’m an atheist, but I don’t go on about it, personally. I do think that being a Christian/Muslim/Jew/Hindu/whatever is delusional, but I don’t really discuss it much, unless someone else brings it up.

        I have seen and felt some pretty far-out shit that would seem to be ‘spiritual’ in some sense while tripping on LSD or mushrooms, but I usually just assume that it has more to do with biology and chemistry than it does with god (or God, for that matter).

        Anyway, I think it’s funny that folks get riled up about it…

  15. I follow the uncertainty principle — I suspect there is more to the world than we can sense with our senses or measure with our instruments, but who really knows — it could be god, or it could be sufficiently advance technology.

  16. He said he will do all he can “to remind the American people that we are one nation under God. And we might call that God different names, but we remain one nation.”

    Shallow multi-culti tripe. Pretty much par for the course.

    The really sad thing is, even if he’s turned out in 2012, I’ll spend the rest of my fucking life unable to completely avoid him. He’ll be like Carter, Gore, and Clinton wrapped into one – a bizarrely self-righteous, self-absorbed, self-promoting huckster, with a dewy-eyed brigade of gullible lackwits following him around.

    1. Yup. He is going to be awful as an exPresident.

      1. And you’re going to love him even more as a Supreme Court Justice.

      2. I expect Chicago or somewhere like that to install him as god-emperor.

  17. The Obamacle told you exactly what you needed to hear, that’s all. Sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path. And by walking the path, I mean passing a widely unpopular 2409 page monster of a bill that fundamentally alters 1/5th of the US economy without even allowing time for it to be read and with zero bipartisan support.

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