Obamacare

ObamaCare Is Six Months Old And The Obama Administration Wants Everyone To Know How Proud It Is

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Those who insist on commemorating every meaningless partial-year anniversary may be pleased to find that this week marks the six month anniversary of the new health care law's passage. In order to mark this occasion, President Obama and his team are planning a party, or at least a P.R. offensive, which may or may not be aimed partially at convincing anxious Democratic politicians—who'd been assured that, by now, the public would be grinning ear-to-ear every time they heard the word "ObamaCare"—that the steadily unpopular law was actually a good idea. Nervous party members need to stiffen their spines, quit trying to display an independent streak, and support team-D on this one, pronto.

Its my party and I'll cry if I want to.

You can't have a party without some goodies. In this case, the White House is counting on the roll out of some of the law's new regulations consumer benefits. Starting on September 23, health insurance plans will be required to fully cover some preventive care benefits (which will be touted as "free," despite the fact that they're not), cover dependent children up to age 26, and will be prohibited from placing lifetime limits on coverage. But as The Wall Street Journal oh-so-carefully notes, those "choices are expected to be more complicated and expensive as employers try to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will be phased in over a few years." All those new benefits, the Journal explains, come at the price of "higher premiums, co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses, according to industry surveys." You can add fewer coverage choices to that list, too; some insurers are responding by chucking certain types of coverage; Anthem, for example, is dropping child-only policies on the same day that the new benefits kick in.

Insurers, already beset with rising prices due to other factors, have been attempting to warn the public that the new rules will result in additional rate increases—as much 9 percent. The administration and its supporters have tended to respond in two ways: 1) No. 2) Shut up. Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal, for example, has expressed irritation that his state's department of insurance approved a slate of upcoming rate hikes, which he says are "outrageous," especially because the new benefit requirements had absolutely nothing to do with the hikes! "In so far as the companies are falsely blaming the health care reform law, these rate hike requests are particularly unacceptable," he told a local news broadcast. His implied question/complaint is becoming a common one: Can't we just order insurers to lower their rates? Connecticut might try, but that plan hasn't worked out so well in Massachusetts.

If there's an actual outrage to be found in this mess, though, it's Kathleen Sebelius' vaguely threatening recent letter to insurers. The letter starts by taking note that "several health insurer carriers are sending letters to their enrollees falsely blaming premium increases for 2011 on the patient protections in the Affordable Care Act" and then warning that "there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases." Which means what, precisely? It's not clear whether it's a threat to respond with snippy press releases (fair enough) or with regulatory retaliation (far more worrisome). But it does put the insurance industry in an awkward position. As one insurance industry spokesman recently wondered, "How can [insurers] be forced to increase benefits, then be prevented from telling customers why costs are on the rise?" Don't the insurers understand that it's ObamaCare's (half) birthday and no one is supposed to point out that this little baby isn't quite as cute and cuddly as the Obama team desperately wants us to believe?

NEXT: Is The Christine O'Donnell Win a Sign That The GOP Will No Longer Tolerate "Moderates" or a Sign That The GOP Has to Shut Up About Social Issues?

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  1. The baby is “breathtaking.”

    1. Remember when she took a picture of McCain for The Atlantic and then photoshopped it?

      Good times.

    2. Sometimes you just say things to be nice.

  2. I believe it would be called the sixth menseversary.

  3. I am betting that 99% of the US population including Congress and the Administration don’t even know how ObamaCare works

    1. You’re being far too optimistic. Who is this magical 1% that understands it?

      1. The Unicorn-American population.

  4. I used to think that Obamacare fucked us all, but I have a feeling it’s going to fuck Democrats a hell of a lot harder, just solely because it’s so vague that no one knows how to implement it.

  5. If we call this anniversary the end of the fifth trimester, perhaps we can abort this baby.

  6. Who is this magical 1% that understands it?

    The people lobbyists who wrote it.

  7. CNBC’s obnoxious little dweeb Carl Whats-his-name is giddy with anticipation of the impending love-in. He’s already got some Presidential dignity running down his chin.

  8. Five years from now, Obamacare will be as accepted and cherished as Social Security and Medicare, and you right-wing asswipes will be opposing some new demon of the modern world.

    1. Re: Max,

      Five years from now, Obamacare will be as accepted and cherished as Social Security and Medicare[…]

      Five years from now there won’t be Social Security or Medicare, Max – at one point, people run out of money to support this big luxury good we call “Socialism.”

    2. Wait until the 3.5% medicare tax kicks in in 2013. Renters are going to love having their rent jacked to pay for Obamacare, and all of us will enjoy that little extra bite off of dividends, interest, and the sale of our houses. that is almost as good as the tax on grandma’s new knee. BTW–I don’t want to carry my 26 year-=old’s insurance. If they aren’t old enough to get their own insurance, they should not be allowed to vote.

      1. Keeping your twenty something on your insurance is fool hardy. Might as well write that check out directly to grandma.

    3. I don’t think it will be all that well accepted when people see all the rationing resulting from fewer doctors and overuse of the system.

      I don’t think it will be well accepted when people see the price tag in higher premiums and higher taxes.

    4. And you can have us to thank for Obamacare.

    5. And you can have us to thank for Obamacare.

  9. I used to think that Obamacare fucked us all, but I have a feeling it’s going to fuck Democrats a hell of a lot harder, just solely because it’s so vague that no one knows how to implement it.

    But they don’t need to understand it to defend it.

    “Wait, doesn’t this provision mandate and prohibit coverage at the same time?”

    “You think Obamacare doesn’t make sense? This is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. THAT does not make sense.”

    1. No! The Chewbacca defense! We’re doomed!

    2. Balderdash; after the destruction of the second death star Chewbacca went on to liberate and reform the government of Kashyyyk.

  10. Do I detect salty ham tears?

  11. Ecstatic rockstar welcome for the Ascended One. I think I’m going to puke.

  12. I think he’s winding up to blame you-know-who.

  13. It’s not clear whether it’s a threat to respond with snippy press releases (fair enough) or with regulatory retaliation (far more worrisome).

    What’s not clear? Insurers will be getting plenty of both for the foreseeable future*, so what does it matter what the companies do?

    *what future there is left.

  14. *empty platitude*

    *wild sycophantic applause*

    Does this qualify as an example of evil corporate manipulation of the electoral process? Will our Progressive protectors cry, “Halt! Enough!”?

    Or is InsidiousCorporateMindControl only dangerous when practiced by conservatives?

    Fuck it; I couldn’t watch any more of this disgusting display even if I were being paid.

  15. Obamacare has plenty of things to critique, and rightfully so-it’s an awful horrible, no good bill that will create unintended consequences that dwarf whatever problems it was intended to solve.

    There are much bigger problems than this one, but is anyone else bothered by the “26 year olds qualify as children covered under their parents” as much as I am?

    A kid is now TWENTY SIX? When are parents going to let their precious little muffins fly free?

    1. A kid is now TWENTY SIX?

      Just wait until they roll out the new child-porn laws.

      1. You can pry my hot 18yrolds from my cold, dead, sticky, hands.

    2. I want to know who decided that I should be the last generation to pay for my own education but the first generation to pay for my kids’ as well… and now I’m going to have to continue to pick up the tab on everything else as well until they’re 26???

      1. the same people who decided that a college education should cost thirty thousand dollars per year.

      2. Somebody has to be responsible around here.

    3. Yes a 26 year old should be covered! I am in law school and was dropped because I turned twenty-five. How am I supposed to afford to go to the doctor on top of my 30 k a year tuition when I don’t have a job because I go to school full time. Don’t punish people for trying to get a good education so that they can make money when they enter the workforce and pay taxes… What should I do: drop out and work at McDonalds to be able to pay to go to the Dr??? That would be a great alternative I’m sure!!!

  16. Ellie:
    “This is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. THAT does not make sense.”

    what about the rumor that Chewie is starring in autobiographic slash fic with Waldorf and Stattler in a sawdust-filled, wholesomely-horny threesome?

  17. Your world frightens me, VM.

    1. It frightens us all, Naga.

      1. Wow. Even you got in on the action. Good to see you on these here tubez sir. Have you ever met up with AR over there yet?

  18. The key to understanding the PPACA is to recognize that it was designed to fail. It’s a 2000+ page cipher, a placeholder kind of like the original TARP legislation. The objective for its passage was to signal legislative accomplishment. The end result will only faintly resemble the promises of legislators.

    WRT to the insurance companies, there are two facts worth remembering. First, the HMOs contributed about three times as much money to the Democrats as to the Republicans. Second, they didn’t actively oppose ObamaCare when it counted; there were “Harry and Louise” ads this time around.

  19. err, there were no “H&L” ads this time around.

  20. I think, down the road, people will be shaking their heads in astonishment that Big Insurance actively supported the law that destroyed it.

    What were they thinking?

    1. If I feed the crocodile maybe it will eat me last?

  21. Naga – fear not. Embrace your inner “tickle me Elmo” and save room for serious batin. We can even have a clownsuit for you to wear, if that would help prolong things!

    1. But contact your physician at once if it’s prolonged over four hours.

  22. what about the rumor that Chewie is starring in autobiographic slash fic with Waldorf and Stattler in a sawdust-filled, wholesomely-horny threesome?

    VM, I can neither confirm nor deny any autobiographical ghostwriting gigs I’ve taken recently. Now, if you’ll excuse me, “Chapter 23: Let The Wookie Thrust” isn’t gonna write itself.

  23. Just make sure that word gets out to heed DAR’s warning!

    or: remember Pee Wee from the beginning of Porky’s: “IT’S SHRINKING!!”

  24. Off topic link:

    Just got done reading an excellent mma style take down of Pauly “Stimulate Me One More Time” Krugnuts in Foreign Policy online magazine.

    It was a four page beat down; blood, teeth and feathers littered the web site.

    A taste for everyone:

    I agree there is room for legitimate differences of opinion on the quality of data, and the extent of government responsibility, but to argue that the government had no role in directing credit, or in the subsequent bust, is simply ideological myopia.

    Oh, snap!

  25. What were they thinking?

    You know what they say:

    “When you’re sitting at the table, and you’re not sure who is getting fucked, it’s probably YOU.”

  26. VM! You swore to never tell about my clown fetish! Seriously, no one seems to think about hot women in clown outfits except me.

    1. Coulrophiliacs sicken me.

  27. …the new rules will result in additional rate increases?as much 9 percent.

    Ha, ha! Man, that’s fucking rich! As much as? Last week I just received a letter from my employer stating that our company is starting the process of shopping around for a “scaled down” policy from pretty much anybody that has such a thing for sale and is willing to sell it to us because our premium just got bumped 16%.

  28. The HR hacks at my company still aren’t sure what Obamacare is going to “do” to us. I do know that I’m making less money each week because our insurance rates went up.

  29. Hi,

    Just wanted to suggest a offices who handle misdemeanor, felony, DUI, and juvenile cases throughout the Bay Area including: San Mateo, Santa Clara, and San Francisco counties. We handle all types of criminal cases including:

    http://www.defendca.com/

    Contact the Law Offices of Thomas Greenberg today for a FREE initial consultation:

    Warm Regards,

    Mac Hassan

  30. Hi,

    Just wanted to suggest a offices who handle misdemeanor, felony, DUI, and juvenile cases throughout the Bay Area including: San Mateo, Santa Clara, and San Francisco counties. We handle all types of criminal cases including:

    http://www.defendca.com/

    Contact the Law Offices of Thomas Greenberg today for a FREE initial consultation:

    Warm Regards,

    Mac Hassan

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