Obamacare Is Coming Undone



Obamacare is coming undone. You can see it happening day by day, provision by provision, as the administration postpones or scales back key parts of the law, and other signs continue to suggest that the law as written simply won't work.

Last Tuesday, in what was apparently intended to be a pre-July 4 holiday news dump, the administration made the embarrassing announcement that it would delay by a year the health law's requirement that employers with 50 or more workers offer health coverage or pay a penalty. The administration also said it would delay the law's reporting requirements for employers who offer health coverage.

That raised a major operational question about the law's health insurance exchanges. How would those exchanges be able to determine whether someone applying for subsidies to buy individual coverage on an exchange already had access to employer coverage? The law says that people whose employers provide coverage aren't allowed to get subsidies.

Late on Friday, we get another news dump—and an answer. The 16 exchanges run by states won't have to verify an individual's health insurance status at all. Nor will the state-run exchanges have to verify an individual's income level.

Instead, they'll rely on "self-reported" information. And then subsidies will be available to anyone who simply attests that they do not get qualifying, affordable health insurance from work, and that their household income is low enough to be eligible for subsidies.

As Ben Domenech writes in this morning's Transom, what this means is that "the most significant entitlement increase since the Great Society will be operating on the honor system." And as Yuval Levin says, it may turn out to be "an open invitation to fraud." Even if outright fraud does not become a major issue, the combination of the delays may increase the cost of the law relative to what it would have been: No employer penalty, and no health status or income verification, means that more people will end up on the exchanges, receiving subsidies. And more subsidies means a more expensive law. The deficit reduction it was supposed to have achieved, already significantly reduced, is almost certainly reduced further—and perhaps gone entirely.

The delays also constitute an admission that the administration simply could not make the law's verification technology—the infrastructure that is arguably the core functionality for the exchanges—work properly before the October 2013 launch of the exchanges. Doing so, according to the rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services last Friday, "would involve a large amount of systems development on both the state and federal side, which cannot occur in time for October 1, 2013."

The postponements were unexpected—even, apparently, to the officials running the exchanges at the state level. But trouble with the verification technology should not have come as a surprise. Obamacare's critics have warned about the potential difficulties practically since the law was passed. In my October 2010 feature on implementating the law, for example, I noted that "fast, accurate income verification presents a particularly serious difficulty," and spoke to several health policy experts who warned of difficulties ahead. Nor were critics the only ones seeing trouble. It's been clear from the reporting for over a year now that officials in charge of implementing the law were having serious problems making the exchange technology work. By the time that the official in charge of the exchange technology told insurers that he was "pretty nervous" and had resorted to working to "make sure it's not a third-world experience," it was pretty clear that the project was a mess.

The delays aren't only recent sign that Obamacare is struggling.

Just a few days before the employer mandate was postponed, Bloomberg News reported that a third of the hospitals involved in a high-level test of the law's most vaunted health care savings programs—its Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program—are threatening to cease participation. The 16 hospitals were part of the ACO "pioneer" program, which was intended to show off how some of the law's most ambitious health care payment reforms would work. Right now, however, it looks suspiciously like they aren't.

The same goes for a lot of Obamacare. Earlier this year, officials in charge of the law delayed the essential functionality of the law's small business exchanges. The law's early retirement program ran out of money and shut down early. The law's high-risk pool program signed up far fewer people than anyone predicted—and yet, thanks to unexpectedly high per-beneficiary costs—still had to cut payments to providers and cease enrollment in order to stay afloat. The availability of national health plans that were supposed to be part of the exchanges is in doubt, probably because of insurer reticence. Large swaths of rural, low-income Mississipi may end up with no insurers at all to choose from in the exchange. Officials in states that are building their own exchanges continue to say they are struggling to meet deadlines. The list goes on. 

None of this means that Obamacare will collapse under its own weight. The most likely scenario at this point (though not the only one) is that the exchanges will still open on time, enrolling all who claim eligibility in subsidies. But the law's rocky implementation continues to reveal the significant flaws in both the law's legislative design and management. There's still much that's unclear about the inner workings of the exchange-creation process, but the fact that the administration is jettisoning key provisions this late in the implementation calendar suggests that it is not going well, and it is reasonable to suspect that the bad news for the law will continue. The big question, then, is which piece of the law will come undone next? 

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  1. It also appears that my alt-texting training is coming undone.

    1. And talk about a photo that begs to be alt-texted.

      1. “If he’d just shut up, I might be able to get out of here before any of them realize I’ve peed myself.”

        1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job Ive had. Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, http://goo.gl/yJQCa

          1. That would be interesting alt-text.

      2. “Are you sure the IRS homing beacon is secure on their financial records? I’m taking an awful risk here Vader.”

        1. Damn it! Beat me to it…

        2. “Your sad devotion to the ancient religion of fiscal sanity has not helped you conjure up moar free shit for the democrat constituency. Bernanke’s printing press is now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use it MOAR.”

      3. “Ms. Sebelius! Are you trying to seduce me?”

        1. [barf]

          1. I feel honored.

            1. Although, I did get a flash of you floating in the pool Dustin Hoffman-style. And screaming “Elaine!”

        2. My god, I now need to break into my office scotch.

          1. “It’s not just my neck… my whole body is covered in labias.”

            1. “Come… I want you to wallow in my erotic flesh tangles.”

          2. what are you drinking? I had some Corsair’s Triple Smoke the other night .. which is a whisky, I suppose.

            1. I’ve got some Macallan 12 year in my desk for bonus days…

              Or penaltax days.

            2. That Triple Smoke makes a decent manhattan (although I’d still rather use rye).

      4. “Will someone please pass the fucking asparagus?”

        1. Watersports later, eh?

      5. “So you’re saying that central economic planning won’t work? I really don’t need to hear that right now.”

      6. “I cannot believe they all think I’m a woman.”

    2. The buttplug is not as comfortable as I was lead to believe it would be . . . .

      1. “The butt plug has been pushed deep. Pray I don’t push it deeper.”

      2. Did she borrow it from Palin?

  2. like Johnny implied I’m blown away that a single mom able to get paid $4012 in four weeks on the internet. did you see this webpage… http://www.Blue48.com

    1. In other news, Johnny’s mom is a slut.

      1. I’m sure she’s just “working her way through college” like so many other single women out there.

        1. The only thing I love more than strippers is the lies they tell me.

        2. Hey, at least she hasn’t taken one of those usurious loans!

          1. All honest work is honorable.


    There, I’ve spared the trolls the effort.

  4. The Obama Doctrine: When you see you’re driving into a brick wall, step on the gas.

    1. No, NutraSweet: When you see you’re driving someone else’s car into a brick wall, laugh and step on the gas just before you bail out.

      1. “We” are the government. You approve of all of this because you wouldn’t vote for Romney.

        1. Listen, TulpaSweet, I realize that you think that’s a winning argument, but let’s face it: by not voting for Obama, I voted for Romney. Or something. It’s your retarded logic, you figure it out.

          1. Epi, by not listening to your argument, I have listened to Scared-of-Candy.

          2. You could have at least tried to cancel out Steve Smith’s vote.

            1. I tried…and failed. He…he…raped me.

              1. Yeah, yeah… We’ve all seen the YouTube video.

                1. How…how many views do I have? Do I have more than that little bitch Tay Zonday?

                  1. The remix of you being raped to “Chocolate Rain” has like 12 million.

                    1. I win! In your face, Zonday!

      2. laugh and step on the gas just before you bail out.

        “Wild card, bitches!”

    2. Maybe he thinks he’s Buckaroo Banzai.

      1. Don’t insult the memory of the Buckaroo that way.

        1. Laugha while you can, Monkey Boy!

          1. BIG-BOO-TAY! TAY! TAY!

  5. Instead, they’ll rely on “self-reported” information. And then subsidies will be available to anyone who simply attests that they do not get qualifying, affordable health insurance from work, and that their household income is low enough to be eligible for subsidies.

    Insurance exchange bureaucrat: “Okay, so it says hear you have four dependent wards and are claiming to live below the poverty line. Is that correct Mr. (looks at form) Scrooge McDuck? Well okay then, you should be eligible for all the subsidies granted by the law.”

    1. Nice. Someone needs to draw up a cartoon with the Monopoly guy.

    2. Anyone who would complain about such an arrangement only wants grandma to die in the gutter.

  6. Could this in any way be related to finally finding out what’s in it?

    1. Passing it was a necessary, but not sufficient, action to finding out what’s in it.

      1. They consider this a feature, not a bug. What better way to take us to single payer than to just subsidize the insurance of anyone who wants it?

        And, of course, if you see any of this coming during the passage debate, you’re being unfair to the law, since you’re not taking it’s projections as reality. You were really only allowed to start bitching…now.

        1. It’s not fraud when it’s done for great social justice.

          1. You have no chance to survive make your time.

            1. All your diagnoses are belong to us.

              1. Somebody set us up the mandate!

        2. We’ve already bought the box of chocolates and are now finding out that every single one is fucking coconut.

          1. More like Crunchy Frog. Some people like coconut.

      2. “Passing it was a necessary, but not sufficient, action to finding out what’s in it.”

        Yet one more thing Obamacare has in common with a bowel movement

  7. “the administration made the embarrassing announcement that it would delay by a year the health law’s requirement”
    From the article:
    “Valerie Jarrett, a senior Obama adviser, said in a blog post announcing the move that the administration decided on the delay”

    I’m still awaiting some information here:
    Does a political advisor speak for the president?
    Can the president simply decide what portion of a law to enforce or ignore?
    Exactly what are the powers this guy claims to hold?

    1. I only accept announcements as official if they come from court eunuchs – that’s how we roll in the imperial palace.

  8. Does a political advisor speak for the president?

    Actually, in this case, I think it’s the other way around.

  9. Is someone interviewing Diana Moon Glampers again?

  10. Caption:

    “Now, when you say ‘special’….”

  11. Obamacare is the legislative/regulatory equivalent of designing and building a new Space Shuttle. So complicated, then we all burn up because some bureaucrat in the o-ring division screwed up.

  12. The deficit reduction it was supposed to have achieved, already significantly reduced, is almost certainly reduced further?and perhaps gone entirely.

    Peter, you’re far, far too kind. Obama used an old Jedi mind trick on you. There never was an deficit reduction.

    1. Oh come on. Of course providing healthcare to 33 million more people while enforcing all sorts of new requirements on everyone else was going to reduce to the deficit.

      1. That people could even say that speaks volumes about our culture, doesn’t it?

      2. Even Saturday Night Live made fun of that claim at the time.

        1. Yeah, but the NYT didn’t.

      3. Increasing demand while keeping supply constant always costs less money, right?

        (And that’s assuming supply stays constant, though it’ll probably fall due to higher regulation.)

        1. This is actually true in the free and unmanipulated gold market.


          But their dishonesty will be their undoing. Keep beating gold down while physical demand is unprecedented, and I will be happy to keep buying it from you.

      4. now now, there is a difference between care and insurance. They’re providing insurance to 33 million people who mostly didn’t want it by making them buy it unless they are ballsy enough to commit fraud for it.

  13. “Price controls will totally work this time. Trust me.”

    1. Now that we have the power to tax them for not buying, we have solved the incentive problem.

      1. After the Obamacare Supreme Court case, it seems the government can make you do anything as long as the punishment for not doing it is a fine.

        1. No, a tax. A fine tax.

  14. Mmmm, the delicious taste of central planning failure.

  15. Dammit, Sudermensch, you raise my hopes SO HIGH with an opening sentence like that. And then in that last paragraph, you snatch away the football right before I kick it. 🙁

  16. Does anyone else think she looks like Grand Moff Tarkin?

    1. Evacuate?! In our moment of triump?! I thin you overestimate their chances!

    2. The free-marketeers are extinct, their fire has gone out of the universe. You, my friend, are all that’s left of their religion

    3. The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us

    4. The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away forever.

    5. You want a target, a military target? Then submit to the system!

      1. You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

        1. Many Bothans died giving me this information.

          1. To this day, I don’t know what the fuck Bothans are. I mean, I get that many of them died–thanks–but what are they?

            1. Dead

              1. I don’t remember those guys.

                1. They never appear on screen, which I guess emphasizes how sneaky they are?

                  1. They never appear on screen

                    That’s what they want you to think.

                2. well, they are spies. that’s the idea.

                1. I’m mildly surprised Lucas didn’t CGI them into the original trilogy.

                2. The Bothans were able to interbreed with the other species, as exemplified by the Jedi Lord Valenthyne Farfalla.[4] Such hybrids somewhat resembled baseline humans with haunches, hooves, fur, pointed ears and a long tail.[5]

                  Weird, I remember Star Wars universe being more racist in terms of hostility to other species and inter-breeding.

                  Unlike the Star Trek universe where no one has qualms about mixing human and Vulcan, Romulan and Klingon etc.

                  1. Because different species from different planets interbreed so easily. Even the stupid TNG explanation was stupid, because it’s not like primates on Earth can all interbreed. Well, with a few notable exceptions.

                    Were the Bothans supposed to be some sort of Kzinti knock-off?

                    1. Sheesh, Pro L. Don’t you realize the writers got together and voted? The science is settled.

                    2. Maybe they mated as lizards after going Warp 10, then brought their offspring back to normal however they did that thingee?

                    3. I don’t understand how Spock is half-human. Everything about him is Vulcan, including, as Bones says, his heart being where his liver should be, having copper based green blood, and several times the strength of a the average human.

                    4. They mention some human blood factors one time, and he’s apparently got some human emotions. And he hit on that girl one time without being in Vulcan heat.

                    5. Yeah, about that emotion thing. Isn’t that just due to nurture and being indoctrinated with Surak’s philosophy from birth to adulthood?

                      I don’t see how it is possible to genetically eliminate emotion. Sarek is full-Vulcan and admits to feeling love for his wife and son, so it’s obviously a stoicism thing and not genetic.

                    6. Dude, if you are actually looking for logic in any incarnation of Star Trek, you need to get your head examined. On a related note, I got really baked on Saturday morning and watched Wrath of Khan for the umpteenth time. Highly recommended.

                    7. Meh, sometimes its fun to nitpick these things. I’m doubly amused that we shouldn’t expect logic when discussing fictional beings that live and die based on logic.

                    8. Dude, Data was an emotionless android who…desired emotions. Which is an emotion in itself. Roddenberry clearly wasn’t too good with what actual logic is.

                    9. He had a fucked-up chip.

                    10. Yeah, but that’s Vulcan love. Spock’s got human love. Totally different.

                    11. Actually, Spock had blood type T-, which is rare, even for a Vulcan.

                    12. Maybe he has a human wang, throbbing with green Vulcan blood.

                    13. Well, for a male, I think we can all acknowledge that’s half.

                    14. Only half?


                    15. Vulcan brain, human wang.

                    16. Vulcan brain, human wang.

                      I dunno, that girl from the episode where he gets high on spores seemed satisfied.

                      “And you’ve got the GALL to make love to that girl?” is easily one of my all-time favorite Kirk lines.

                    17. That’s the episode when his brain and wang were in harmony.

                    18. So does he have a little blue-green monster?

                    19. I don’t know but one thing few people remember is that Kzinti are actually part of Star Trek Cannon, They never appeared in any of the live action shows but they did appear in the 1970’s Saturday Morning Cartoon and they were lifted word for word from Niven’s Ringworld

                    20. The Kzinti are also in the game Starfleet Battles, which was produced under license from before Paramount bought the rights.

                      And the Kzinti were in the video games Starfleet Command but they were renamed (Mirak)and slightly re-skinned. The bat ears were gone.

                      Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kzin#Star_Trek

                  2. Not to mention the intergalactic STDs Kirk got from that green chick.

  17. I’m not sure if it will be next, but the exchanges will not be ready in time. Far, far simpler government IT projects (e.g. totally within one department) have failed miserably, abandoned after billions of dollars were spent. This monstrosity has to follow HIPAA laws and interface with the public and dozens of other systems. I don’t see how they can be done by October, if ever.

    1. Hell, man, we’re still “testing” IE8 at this gubmint agency!

      1. Really? Our gubmint customers are already on IE9. Or is it the contractors who use our software who are on IE9?

        1. Each agency is responsible for its own IT. But yeah, it could be the contractors using non-gubmint systems who are on IE9.

    2. Just consider how hard it was to implement something as simple as online filing at the Patent and Trademark Office.

      1. Our greatest defense against the state is its overarching incompetence.

        1. Sadly that is so true. Their sheer incompetence is all that stands between us and absolute tyranny.

          1. Even tyrannical regimes are incompetent. Why do you think so many people starve when a tyrannical government controls the food supply?

            1. Are incompetent regimes tyrannical?

              1. Are incompetent regimes tyrannical?

                Look everyone! It’s a lawyer-speaking fallacy fellator! Tony 2.0!

                1. It’s just a question.

                  Is there a tyranny to a government being incompetent even when that government is properly limited in scope?

                  1. All governments are incompetent. Not all governments are tyrannical.
                    Because government is incompetent, it is best to keep it limited in scope, because that is the only thing that keeps it from becoming tyrannical.

                    1. I don’t disagree with you, I was just thinking about a properly limited government, but one that was so rife with incompetence that it’s nonfeasance becomes tyranny. For example, think of a government that deprives people of their property by regularly losing deeds or one that is so incompetent looters and muggers roam free to steal and kill.

                    2. Anarchy is tyranny? You sure you’re not Tony 2.0?

                    3. Maybe anarchy can be a form of tyranny, I’m thinking of Hobbe’s pre-state. But more precisely I’m thinking of extreme incompetence in a minitarian state, one that has been granted the authority to oversee something like property lines but regularly performs so incompetently people’s rights end up violated.

                    4. If it was that incompetent at keeping records, then I’m sure someone else would replace them. Even if they had a legal monopoly, then there would be a black market in records. That’s a very stupid example. Very Tony-Esq.

                    5. I don’t think you get it. Minitarian states would decide property lines and rights, it could be enforced in courts. I’m not sure how a black market in deeds would even ‘work’ in the sense of compelling others to recognize them.

                    6. I don’t know, sarc.

                      Let’s say you had a nice limited government that devoted its time to nothing more than protecting citizens from force and fraud.

                      But because of sheer, incredible incompetence, this government routinely (as in, let’s say, 90% of cases) brought the wrong man to trial for any and all criminal infractions and managed to stumble into convicting all of them.

                      In that case, we’d have a government that got the content of the laws right, but where the prisons were full of innocent men.

                      Is that government a tyranny? Maybe, maybe not. Although I’d submit that the likelihood that you’d vote “maybe” would go way up if you were on the unjustly accused and convicted.

                    7. That’s a more stark and better presented example of what I’m talking about. Thanks.

                    8. I don’t think so Fluffy. If criminal infractions were limited to force and fraud, and the sheriff got the wrong man every time, people wouldn’t put much faith in the courts. Assuming too that that’s all the government did, and it left the economy alone meaning people could act without asking permission and taking orders, then great wealth would be created. With that great wealth people would establish an alternate means of resolving disputes than the piss-poor government.

                    9. With a free / armed populace, looting would not be tolerated. As sarcasmic said, people would simply hire lawyers or title companies for record keeping. And security guards to patrol the streets.

                      As long as the incompetent government isn’t a big financial burden, who cares?

                    10. “With a free / armed populace, looting would not be tolerated.”

                      Well, unless the looters were just as, if not more, armed.

                      As to who cares, what I’m getting at is that even in a minitarist state you will have the state enforcing contract provisions, property lines and such, and that’s pretty important things to be screwed over on.

                      I’m certainly not arguing that a big incompetent government would be better or course, just wondering when, even within a properly limited government, non-feasance and/or incompetence becomes something like tyranny.

                    11. Tony by any other name is still Tony. Equating anarchy to tyranny.

                      Just like inaction is action, not taking is giving, and not giving is taking.

                      Silence is sound, dark is light, and vacuum is mass.

                      Blah, blah, blah.

                    12. Perhaps you are too fixated on this Tony character, but you seem to have not understood what I wrote.

                      I’m pointing to the parts of a minarchist where the government takes action and can take.

                    13. If the government courts in your fictional minarchy failed so miserably, then people would find other means to resolve conflicts, as they so in Afghanistan and Somalia.
                      Anarchy is not tyranny.

                    14. You don’t think Afghanistan is a great example of tyranny through corruption and incompetence?

                    15. You don’t think Afghanistan is a great example of tyranny through corruption and incompetence?

                      If by tyranny you mean anarchy, then yes.
                      Since anarchy does not mean tyranny, I’ve got to say no.

                    16. You don’t think Afghanistan is a great example of tyranny through corruption and incompetence?

                      A lack of government is not tyranny. A tyranny is explicitly an oppressive government.

                      You can’t just ignore the definitions of words and reach any kind of logical conclusion.

                    17. Reading Tony’s idiotic arguments always makes me think of this song. I think it’s the song he listens to every day before coming here.


                    18. Yeah. That’s his theme song alright.

          2. It’s not an adequate defense. Governments are usually far more inept than competent. Yet they’ve murdered hundreds of millions and oppressed billions.

            1. Yes, they seem to excel at violence on a massive scale. Massively expensive violence, to boot.

              But, hey, once we’re killing people, who cares about efficiency?

              I think that’s a recurring theme: who needs to worry about scarcity, when you can just inflict violence?

              1. who needs to worry about scarcity, when you can just inflict violence?

                Things can only be scarce when compared to a demand, which is proportional to the number of people. So just make people more scarce, and the commodity is no longer scarce!

            2. And they’d have done so much more if we’d a let ’em.

              1. Which is why we need to shackle and constrain government and not let it out of its cage. If any individual did the things even our government did, he’d be executed. Just sayin’.

                1. Which is why we need to shackle and constrain government and not let it out of its cage.

                  It doesn’t work that way. Government is only constrained by the self-restraint of people with power.

                  That worked back in the days when self-restraint was a virtue. But those days are long past.

                  1. Why not do what the Founders tried, which is the opposite of reliance on self-restraint. They knew that wouldn’t work and instead counted on people’s ambitions, but tried to set up a system where ambitions checked each other.

                    1. They knew that wouldn’t work and instead counted on people’s ambitions, but tried to set up a system where ambitions checked each other.

                      Didn’t exactly work out that way. They seem to do more colluding than checking and balancing.

                    2. I’m wondering why. It seems like a good idea on paper. Is it that Parties became so prominent? But then that can’t explain why someone like Boehner doesn’t stand up to someone like Obama more.

                    3. I’m wondering why. It seems like a good idea on paper.

                      Incentives matter. There is no incentive to check and balance each other. What is there to gain?

                      I like Heinlein’s idea outlined in ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ where all one house of congress can do is pass legislation with a two-thirds majority, while all the other can do is repeal legislation with a one-third minority.

                      Then there would be an incentive. People would run for office based upon what they would undo.

                      Though I’m sure even that would be corrupted after enough time passed.

                    4. The whole idea of the Founders is that the incentive would be the natural though regrettable ambition and power lust of the elected officials themselves. The Speaker of the House would want to check the President and vice versa, etc., because each would want to aggrandize their own sphere and power.

                    5. But then they discovered that if they collude with each other then they all benefit and increase their power more than if they were to work against each other.

                    6. Because the Fifth Estate has crucified Boehner any time he’s tried. Partly that’s Boehner’s own fault, but the Obama fawning press has made it easy for Obama.

                  2. You’re right. What we need next time liberty-minded people create a government is cattleprods and the unfettered right to use them on anyone in or associated with government.

                    1. The conundrum is that for government to govern, its people must have the last word in violence. Yet for there to be liberty, government must be restrained.
                      How can there be liberty if the people who are attracted to government power and violence lack self-restraint?

            3. Incompetent malice is still incompetent, ProL. If the Nazis weren’t still incompetent in their way, there would be a lot fewer Jews than there are now. If the Turks weren’t incompetent there’d be a lot fewer Armenians. If the Soviets weren’t incompetent there’d be a lot fewer Ukrainians. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

              1. So you’re telling me that there’s a chance the government won’t get around to rounding me up in a camp, thanks to its incompetence? I find that somehow less than reassuring.

                1. Governments can easily destroy individuals, it just can never accomplish its long term goals because it will always collapse under its own weight.

                2. Government’s incompetence won’t stop it from rounding you up and putting you in a camp. However its incompetence will assure that it will find the least efficient and most expensive way to accomplish the task.

                  1. Well, that’s a relief.

    3. Oh, yeah. Like I said in the MLs, while they just dropped ALL of the interface requirements and are now just a database with a frontend, there’s no way they get done on time.

  18. Alt: Mindy Sterling is to be replaced by Kathleen Sebelius in the next Austin Powers installment.

    1. “SCOTTTT!!”

  19. By the time that the official in charge of the exchange technology told insurers that he was “pretty nervous” and had resorted to working to “make sure it’s not a third-world experience,” it was pretty clear that the project was a mess.

    If the NHS is any indication, government-run medicine is a third-world experience no matter where it happens.

    1. Just one more ‘reform’ and NHS will be wonderful!
      Oh, and we offer free beer. Tomorrow.

  20. What’s interesting to me is the same, simple thing that’s interesting about every ‘universal’ care system:

    Passing a law demanding everyone be provided healthcare is easy. Actually providing that healthcare is hard… very hard.

    1. I have an idea. What about a free market for medical services and health insurance?

      1. Next thing you know people will actually expect the government to follow this Constitution thingy, and we can’t have that.

        1. Say, yes, why not? I mean, we haven’t tried that yet, have we? Might work.

      2. Yeah, look what the free market has done with Veternary medicine or Dentists… Oh wait…

        1. The LASIK I am considering is an awful risk. I’m pretty sure that the doc is plotting to steal my eyeballs and sell them to someone else.

          1. Hannibal Lechter likes liver and fava beans, not eye balls. Sheesh.

  21. Weird ACA related news:

    Just opened my mail, I got a rebate from my health insurance for 2012, because they only spent 76.5% of the premiums, so they had to rebate 3.5% due to the law change. Apparently that part is already in effect.

    Of course, my 2013 premium went up way more than this check covers.

    And its a stupid law, but Im going to cash the check.

    1. There’s an insidious genius at work there in that people getting such notices will credit the rebate check to Obamacare, but will blame the premium increase on the insurer…

      1. Of course.

        And if we had a free market in health care any company able to be more efficient would be able to pass the savings on to their customers by holding premiums steady or some other efficient company would undercut them on price.

      2. The more I hear, the more it seems like the only actual designing that went into Obamacare was to hide the costs and push the ‘benefits’ in your face.

    2. It’s an incentive to become inefficient. It’s better to get 20% of a higher premium than 23.5% of a lower. We’re gonna see this a lot in the coming years.

  22. Why do you want to deny Granny her hip replacement? [/progtard]

    1. Because granny is a free-loadin’ bitch who never saved a dime

      1. You want her to eat catfood because of that? EBIL!

    2. Why should I care what happens to your Granny? If I did, I would send her to a charity, not the central government.

      1. I’m sorry, the correct response is “If I cared about what happened to your Granny, I’d be your Gramps.”

    3. She could make $6,914 a week on the internets – but she won’t will she?

      1. She couldn’t get the camera on her computer working or she whould have made that in a week from Warty. or so I am told…

  23. Obama knew ObamaCare was crap when it passed. He just pushed it through becasue it was the only thing he could get though–and because not getting anything through would have made him look like a HillarCare failure and might have hurt his chances at reelection.

    We rationalize what powerful people like the president do–we imagine the people doing it really have us in mind, that they’ve weighed the implications of how it will affect our lives, etc. But the only consideration most of the time is what whatever proposal does for their election chances at that point in time.

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau came into existence in order to give Elizabeth Warren a national name and keep her national profile up once TARP was over.

    In situations where major changes like ObamaCare and the CFPB are made for personal reasons like that, we really should stop arguing about the policy implications and start going after the people involved personally. If so many of us support whatever people like Barack Obama do because we think they care about us, then trying to talk to people about the pluses and minuses of whatever policy really is just a red herring.

    1. “Obama knew ObamaCare was crap when it passed. He just pushed it through becasue it was the only thing he could get though–and because not getting anything through would have made him look like a HillarCare failure and might have hurt his chances at reelection.”


      It’s the same with Bush and Dodd/Frank and TARP. Presidents just want to be able to point to something to say they ‘responded’ to the scandal, promise or emergency of the day.

      1. Weve got to do something.

        This is something.

        Therefore, we must do this.

        1. It’s quite amazing. The something doesn’t have to be relevant or good. In fact, it’s often quite bad and irrelevant. But hey, that’s the next administration’s problem, right?

          1. It’s like moving the effective cold medicines behind the pharmacy counter. It’s done nothing to stop the production of meth, but if you suggest stopping doing something that demonstrably hasn’t worked, people will scream that you don’t care about the children.

            I like to point out that continuing to inconvenience people and doing something we know doesn’t work sends a terrible message to the children that we should boss other people around based on emotion, and that you can’t care about the children if you want to teach them lessons like that.

            1. Speaking of children and that subject, the anti-meth stuff has led to changes in children’s cold medicine that now do nothing to help children struggling with colds. For the children indeed.

          2. Even if the effects are bad on their watch, it doesn’t really matter. Will Obama pay a price for all the fucked up shit Obamacare causes while he’s still in office? No. The American people will pay the price, and as long as he and his supporters can spin it away, what does he care? Like Bush with the wars, FDR with the New Deal, etc., etc. The politicians take their chances, and the people pay the price.

    2. The problem was they were morons who had no clue how to fix healthcare. Once they started it was clear they were writing a disaster. But passing nothing would have demoralized the left. So they had to pass something. They passed this to save Obama’s sorry ass in 2012. Now they keep delaying it because they know once it hits Democrats are going to get crushed for it. Their only hope is to delay it long enough their low information low IQ soft supporters will forget who passed it.

      1. Or the low information voters just start thinking about those rebate checks they got.

        1. The Dems do know their audience.

          1. Is that a Democrats thing? From what I understand Obama narrowly won the < college education demographic, narrowly lost the college educated demographic, and narrowly won the post-college graduate educated demographic.

        2. ooooooh, $51.72!

          I think I will spend my rebate at Holy Grale sometime later this week.

          However, if the company buys the health insurance, they get the rebate, right?

        3. “Or the low information voters just start thinking about those rebate checks they got.”

          Low information voters will always be with us.

          Again, it isn’t about any particular policy–it’s about Obama. If the low information voters support ObamaCare becasue Obama supports it and the Republicans are against it, then what’s giving them more information going to achieve?

          The Birthers had it right, they just went with something seemingly too implausible. But by all means–attack Obama! The solution is to make people question their love for Obama–not to argue with them about whatever policy. Arguing with most of these people about policy is just like arguing with Tony–a pointless exercise.

          It’s just that we notice the futility with Tony because he only exists in text. With the other people we meet like that in real life, they talk to us as real, three dimensional people in the real world–and they think they have reasons for their support of whatever policy. But most of them don’t. If the Republicans had been in favor of ObamaCare, and Obama had been against it, they’d have been against ObamaCare, too!

          It has nothing to do with information.

          Success is about blowing holes in the Obama mystique. For some reason, they believe he cares about them like my grandmother believed that Jesus loved her. Blow that ridiculous Obama worship up, and you’ve solved more than half the problem (and that’s the half that has nothing to do with reason or logic).

          1. That’s what it comes down to for most of them: they think Obama cares about them, and they don’t think Republicans and libertarians care about them.

            We need to convince people that we care about about them, no doubt, but the most important thing is to convince them that Obama (and his ilk) really don’t really care about them at all.

          2. “Low information voters will always be with us.”

            I agree here. I think all the talk about “low information voters” is GOP sour grapes over the last election.

            Libertarianism has regularly prided itself on being a philosophy that can be clearly, concisely, and simply presented. For a recent example, see Epstein’s famous book on Simple Rules for a Complex World.

          3. If the Republicans had been in favor of ObamaCare, and Obama had been against it, they’d have been against ObamaCare, too!

            I forget if it’s Tony or Buttplug, but one of them tries to argue that we should like the mandate because it was thought up by the Heritage foundation.

            1. Exactly.

              It isn’t what the position is–it’s all about who supports it.

              It’s all about the authority in question.

              If somebody who loves you supports it, then you’re supposed to support it, too.

              And the Republicans don’t love you, or anyone else who isn’t like them, e.g., gay people who want to get married, black children who benefit from affirmative action, and immigrants.

              If we want to save any hope for a bright economic future for this country, we have to convince the Republicans to stop harping on those issues. They’re killing us. And if the Republicans steadfastly refuse to stop shooting themselves in the foot like that, then, at some point, it stops being the low information voters’ fault. It even stops being the fault of the Obamas and Warrens of the world.

              1. So your platform needs to be to institutionalize racism?

                Libertarians, folks!

          4. Why did Jesus not love your Grandmother ?

            Was she a bad person ?

  24. I’m gonna repost Sevo’s question:

    Can the president simply decide what portion of a law to enforce or ignore?

    and ask what avenues are available to challenge this ? I’m guessing no person or business has standing to force the executive branch to enforce the law as written ? So…Congress has to grow a pair ? Or do we simply live in a dictatorship now, and it’s all good ?

    1. He’s the Decider.

      1. So you’re blaming Bush?

        1. My, you’re quite touchy.

          I’m making fun of Executive power and discretion using a Bushism which holds generally true.

          1. And you missed the counter-humor…who is touchy now?

    2. It is blatantly illegal. I think a person who has a job that doesn’t provide insurance would have standing to sue in federal court for a writ of mandamus forcing Obama to go through with this.

      Obamacare promised me a pony and said I got it in 2014. I pretty sure that would give me standing to sue Obama if he didn’t give me my pony as the law says.

      1. I’m pretty sure there’s not a cause of action provided for in the law (that would be uncharacteristic of the entire project) and the federal courts certainly frown on recognizing causes of action that are not explicitly recognized.

        1. There doesn’t necessarily have to be one. A private party who is harmed by the failure of a public official to do his official duty can sue in Federal Court to get a writ forcing the government official to do his duty. It doesn’t necessarily matter if the law creates a cause of action or not. It all depends on the nature of the duty imposed by the statute. Is it discretionary or is it mandatory?

          1. Hmmm. Is the law written so that it’s mandatory for certain things to be offered by a certain date?

            1. I believe it is. But it is a complex area of the law and I haven’t even thought about it in a long time. So, I wouldn’t say for certain one way or another. but it is entirely possible someone could sue to force them to follow the law.

            2. As I understand it, January 1, 2014 is a date certain in the law when businesses are mandated to offer health insurance.

              1. Mandates? I avoid those. I am not into dudes. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  25. She reminds me of a female Colonel Klink, all she needs is the monocle.

      1. He did wear a leather jacket…

        1. Too bad Bob Crane was murdered, because I’d like to see what Hogan did after the war.

          1. Werner Klemperer is awesome. I own all the Hogan’s Heroes DVDs.

            1. Amazing they could get away with that in the 60s. Not sure that show could air on network TV today.

              1. No – amazing the level of control we tolerate today.

                1. “No – amazing the level of control we tolerate today.”

                  Bingo to bad most people don’t understand that point.

  26. Barry made the final turn of the puzzle box and then clicked into place. Wind began blowing trash around the filthy apartment as the rift in reality tore open. He had been working on the box for weeks, feverishly trying to solve it before the mid-term elections. Lame duck, he thought. Let’s see how lame I they think I am when I drag them all to sex-hell.

    A figure appeared from the endless storm of chaos on the other side, walking slowly toward him. The far-off clanking of a million-million chains could be heard over the howling of the wind coming through the rift. Barry was naked, the device encasing his erection painfully tight. He shielded his eyes from the blowing dust, holding out the box with the other hand. An offering if they wanted it, an apology if he needed it. The wizened oriental that sold him the box said it contained pleasures beyond anything the human body could withstand. And pain so delicious that the distinction between the two was meaningless.

    The figure finally stepped through into our world, and rift sealed itself with a roar of noise. As Berry cowered from the noise, the box was ripped from his hand. He saw her then, silver hair standing out in a shocked nimbus, in a suit of creaking black leather made from no Earthly beast. The hell Barry summoned was an ancient white woman, indistinct in the gloom.


    1. “You solved the box and I have come,” she intoned. She held a hand out to Barry; the flesh was slack and wrinkled. Barry’s eyes adjusted enough to see that the palm was that familiar inverted V, and a swollen clitoris pulsed at the base of her thumb. He looked up and her face and neck were the same, all her exposed flesh was knotted and folded into labia of different sizes. The odor overwhelmed him, the sharp reek of two dozen exposed hell-cooters.

      “Come with me,” she said, her voice a thousand screams of ecstasy and terror.

      “But I can’t just go. I’m the President. I wanted to bring hell here. I was doing pretty good on my own, but you know how it is?”

      “Silence. You opened the box, you summoned me here.” She ripped open her outfit, revealing hundreds more writhing, seeping labia, and two gaping assholes in place of nipples. “Now it is time for you to know all the pleasures of the flesh.”

      “Kathleen? Is that you?”


      1. “No. I am an? explorer of the farthest regions of pain and pleasure. Cabinet secretaries to some, demons to others.”

        “Seriously, is that you Kathleen? Because, you know, except for all the, you know, all over you look just like Kathleen.” Barry’s fear drained out of him and he rocked back on his heels.

        “Mind if I turn on this lamp?” he asked.

        “No!” she screamed, flames leaping from her glowing eyes. “I’m here to take you to hell!” Chains shot from the corners of the room and wrapped themselves around Barry like ice cold snakes.

        “Neat! How’d you do that, Kathleen? Can you show me?” Barry was raised off the floor.

        “You shall drown in an endless ocean of night!”

        “OK, Kathy. I guess I can spare a few hours. I sure hope this night job as a demon whore isn’t interfering with your other duties.?

        Kathleen’s scream of rage stripped the flesh from his bones.

        1. Clive Barker should just hire you to ghostwrite for him. Seriously.

          1. I like SF”s politics better. And he’s more graphic.

            1. Just the one apostrophe, thanks.

            2. It’s like reading Lovecraft filtered through Penthouse letters.

              1. There came a dread knock on the door. A monstrous slithering could be heard beyond, the writhing of eldritch snakes brought forth from an older world. I was compelled to open it, forced by the flow of my patrician blood to know the face of horror.

                I flung the door open in defiance of my dark fate. There stood two of the most beautiful creature human eyes had ever glimpsed. Their tresses were an otherworldy blonde, like savages of the frozen north, and their teats were as bounteous as a Negro wet-nurse.

                Their immodest dress made me forget the usual treacheries the weaker races indulge in and I rushed to embrace them. They held me in place with just their eyes, some terrible force emanating from their eyes, eyes a color that no human can describe.

                I know you must receive missives such as this with depressing frequency, but my experiences must be known and shared with the fragile world at large. They did soil me and exact terror upon my soul and loins.

                “The Horror in Whoresmouth”

          2. Are we sure SugarFree isn’t Clive Barker?

            1. SugarFree’s gay? NTTAWWT

              1. I’m only gay when I have sex with men.

        2. Longest alt-text ever.

    2. I’d have voted for Romney if it would stop a sex story with Sebelius.

  27. So let’s see…the pain is postponed until after the midterm elections, but the goodies get handed out immediately and without verification.

    Gee Mr. Obama, you are absolutely right! Why would anybody be even the slightest bit suspicious of government?

    1. Obama gave me a phone and health insurance. He is Jesus.

      1. Black Jesus, you racialist.

  28. Funny how the usual sock puppets never even bother to show up on the Obamacare threads anymore. They don’t even have any talking points to spew out.

    1. Hopefully Buttplug got suspended over that Herman Cain stuff earlier

    2. The only one they have left is the rethuglican obstructionism meme.

    3. i think the new one is “you must like the status quo.”
      but i’m fairly certain they don’t know what “status quo” means.

  29. Let’s see how lame I they think I am when I drag them all to sex-hell.

    I am in awe of the coolity of this sentence.

    1. Damn extra “I”.

    2. sex-hell

      Wasnt that a Spinal Tap song?

      Maybe on Shark Sandwich or Intravenous De Milo?

  30. And I just invented the word “coolity”.

  31. Can the president simply decide what portion of a law to enforce or ignore?

    Technically, no–a good example of this is Cheney refusing to spend money on development of the V-22 when he was SecDef, even though Congress put the money in year after year for that purpose. He finally had to give up when the courts warned him about not complying with congressional budgetary laws.

    But Obama gets a pass for things that his predecessors never would have been able to get away with, because everyone’s afraid of being labeled a racist by President Cornball’s juicebox brigade and his sheeple cult.

    1. See, I am not sure about this. I remember reading that under Bush the justice department was directed to go after producers of adult pornography that could be thought to fall under obscenity laws but that in the previous administration they were told to only go after child pornography. The way I understood it the law was never changed, just the ‘enforcement strategies and priorities.’ Supposedly this is how Obama gets away with the immigrant deferment.

      Of course, that might not apply to a law which has a specific provision scheduled for a specific date.

      1. Prosecutors get discretion about what laws they choose to prosecute. But this is different. This is the government enforcing a standard on businesses.

        The better analogy would be what if a President decided to no longer enforce the Clean Water Act. Could he do that? Seems to me that he couldn’t.

        1. “The better analogy would be what if a President decided to no longer enforce the Clean Water Act. Could he do that? Seems to me that he couldn’t.”

          And how about his ‘exemptions’; can he decide, after the law is passed, that it will apply to this class of people and not that one?

        2. Seems to me that he couldn’t.

          Not legally, but President Obama ignores the law when it’s inconvenient. I’m not a big John McCain fan, but on this issue he’s right. We should follow the law as written, because we are supposed to follow the Rule of Law, not the rule of men.

          If Congress wants to pass a new law granting a special exception to Eqypt in this case, I’m grudgingly ok with that. If they want to completely remove the existing law, then at least we remain a government of laws and not of men.

          But the President of the United States is not supposed to arbitrarily decide what laws he’s going to follow and which he’s going to ignore. He’s not supposed to have the EPA create regulations that have no basis in existing law. He’s not supposed to ignore the written law of Obamacare, because what he pushed for and signed is now politically inconvenient.

  32. Even more disturbing than that this law got passed in the first place is the fact that the administration can apparently do whatever it wants: pick and choose what to implement and what not, modify dates, enforcement, whatever. This is utter lawlessness. Obama should either enforce this p.o.s. legislation or it should get repealed.

    1. Mark22| 7.8.13 @ 4:18PM |#
      “Even more disturbing than that this law got passed in the first place is the fact that the administration can apparently do whatever it wants: pick and choose what to implement and what not, modify dates, enforcement, whatever. This is utter lawlessness. Obama should either enforce this p.o.s. legislation or it should get repealed.”

      Nixon’s legal staff got called on exactly this issue: If the executive decides it is correct, who is to correct him if not the courts?
      The courts must, but they must also accept standing from those who object.

  33. Nearly eight years of marketing and implementing this mess before the Republicans get into power and immediately vote down the whole thing. That’s my prediction.

  34. “Obamacare Is Coming Undone”

    We can only hope this is the truth.

    But I see it as all part of the plan, they will next say “We have to have the single payer system” because look the “market system” was too complex.

    This is going just as the Socialist Scum in DC want it to.

  35. we get another news dump?and an answer. The 16 exchanges run by states won’t have to verify an individual’s health insurance status at all. Nor will the state-run exchanges have to verify an individual’s income level.
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  36. Bamstercare’s probably not going away at all…please continue to assume the position….the Dems are determined to mount you….and those you think are your friends (the Repulsican Pahty) are doing all they can to supply the lube.

    1. “and those you think are your friends (the Repulsican Pahty)”

      New here? Not going to find a lot of support for the GOP.

  37. It was never “done”. There was nothing to support it’s implementation from the start, just a bunch of propaganda and promises to gain Democratic votes.

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