Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Government Shutdown And ObamaCare Roundup

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It's the first official day of the government shutdown and of ObamaCare's rollout..here are some worthy reads on the matter:

The Other McCain: Fear And Loathing In Moocher Nation:"People who don’t currently have health insurance are likely to believe that ObamaCare will “help” them, if they think of it as a something-for-nothing giveaway — “Free Stuff!” — but as P.J. O’Rourke once observed about rent-control policies, the problem with something-for-nothing is that you quickly run out of something and end up with a whole lot of nothing. Demand for anything worth having will inevitably exceed the supply, and this is why we have prices. Attempts to evade the market mechanism of prices, whether through mandates or subsidies or some other government regulatory apparatus, tend to produce market distortions and shortages.

Federal and state governments have been interfering with the market mechanisms of the medical industry and health insurance for decades, and have “succeeded” in the way such interventions usually do, by making everything more complicated, and more expensive for everybody except for those who get health care “free.” Of course, someone must pay for “free” health care, and the transfer of this cost from the recipient of treatment to taxpayers has consequences.

If people need “free” health care because they are able-bodied but unemployed, wouldn’t we have more jobs and better jobs if the economy were prosperous and growing? And if we had lower taxes and fewer regulations, wouldn’t the economy be more healthy?

Furthermore, wouldn’t the economy be stronger overall — wouldn’t there be more demand for goods and services — if people had more incentive to work harder, work more efficiently and work longer hours, in order to make themselves so valuable as workers that employers would compete to hire them, offering health-insurance benefits as a bonus to secure their services? Yet if we establish a system where people receive health insurance whether they are working or unemployed, whether they are efficient and diligent or unproductive and slothful, haven’t we thereby removed a basic incentive to hard work? And, when you think about it, haven’t we removed an incentive to good health?

Have another donut, fatso! Don’t worry about the consequences, because the government will pick up the tab for your heart medicine, your diabetes treatments and therapy for your bad knees.

Also, they’ll pay for your Viagra, because fat guys need love, too."

PJ Media Despite Three-and-a-Half Years to Prep Obamacare, A Fiasco Takes Shape: "The facts, whatever the PR turns out to be, are that the administration and the press have failed Obamacare tests for three-and-a-half years. Admittedly, they have had assistance from the law’s opponents, who have inexplicably failed to highlight easily understood and financially crippling design flaws which — if conveyed to the public — would have caused the program’s meager popularity to crater.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has had since March 2010 to prepare for open enrollment’s October 2013 rollout. Besides churning out thousands of pages of regulations, what have she and her army been doing?

Someone performing as Sebelius has in the private sector would have been fired at least a year ago, when it become obvious that her implementation plan — having already missed critical deadlines almost two years ago – was still hopelessly behind."

Edward Isaac Dovere and Reid J. Epstein/Politico Government shutdown: President Obama holds the line: "President Barack Obama started September in an agonizing, extended display of how little sway he had in Congress. He ended the month with a display of resolve and strength that could redefine his presidency.

All it took was a government shutdown.

This was less a White House strategy than simply staying in the corner the House GOP had painted them into — to the White House’s surprise, Obama was forced to do what he so rarely has as president: he said no, and he didn’t stop saying no."

Nick Gillespie Welcome to the Age of Unlimited Government! :"It’s a telling coincidence that the latest scandalous revelation about the National Security Agency (NSA) is hitting the front pages just as the enrollment period specified by the Affordable Care Act (ACA, a.k.a. Obamacare) is getting started.

Each of these things underscores different but related aspects of the virtually unlimited state that has ruined the peaceful slumber of libertarian-minded Americans for decades. Whether we’re talking about surveilling citizens without any sort of serious legal oversight or forcing them to participate in economic activity in the name of health care ├╝ber alles, the answer always seems to favor the growth and power of the state to control more and more aspects of our lives. Is it any wonder that a record-high percentage of Americans think the federal government is too powerful?"

Dana MilBank, WAPO In Congress, a not-so-brief case of delusion over government shutdown : "I almost shut down the government.

As I waited outside a meeting of the House Republican caucus in the Capitol basement Monday afternoon, I put down my briefcase next to a flowerpot and walked around the corner to catch lawmakers as they exited. Minutes later, an aide to Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) came bounding down the hall toward me, calling out, “Is that your bag?”

The Capitol police had identified it as a suspicious package and isolated it. Had I not claimed the briefcase, they may well have evacuated the Republicans from their strategy session — and I would have been responsible for them failing to come up with a final plan to avert the shutdown.

As it turns out, the Republicans didn’t need help from me to blow things up."

Michelle Malkin Obama Lied, My Health Plan Died : "Like an estimated 22 million other Americans, I am a self-employed small-business owner who buys health insurance for my family directly on the individual market. We have a high-deductible PPO plan that allows us to choose from a wide range of doctors.

Or rather, we had such a plan.

Last week, our family received notice from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield of Colorado that we can no longer keep the plan we like because of “changes from health care reform (also called the Affordable Care Act or ACA).” The letter informed us that “(t)o meet the requirements of the new laws, your current plan can no longer be continued beyond your 2014 renewal date.”

In short: Obama lied. My health plan died."

Sean Trende The Politics of the Government Shutdown : "With the government having lurched into its first shutdown since the 1990s, many commentators are focusing on the potential ill effects that it might have for Republicans. Almost all of these analyses use the shutdowns of 1995-1996 as their starting point. While I don't think this development will be great for Republicans, many of the concerns are likely overwrought. Here are four points to ponder:

1. While the GOP’s tactics are similar to those employed in the mid-’90s, the goals are different. The earlier budget debates were broad in nature and dealt with the scope of government. The 104th Congress, led by Newt Gingrich, believed that they were the culmination of the realignment supposedly begun by Ronald Reagan, that Bill Clinton’s election was a fluke caused by Ross Perot’s candidacy, and that they had been elected with a mandate to shrink the size and scope of government dramatically."

Jay Cost/Weekly Standard Roll It Back: "Obamacare remains decisively unpopular with the American people, and most Republicans are staunchly committed to its repeal. And why shouldn’t they be? The ideological core of the bill runs contrary to the vision of limited government, market-based solutions, and individual choice that has formed the foundation of the party’s economic program since the statism of the First New Deal. Moreover, the party’s purpose is to win elections, and Obamacare still looks like a winning issue for the GOP.

Against the airtight ideological and political arguments for Republican repeal efforts, Democrats and their liberal allies in the mainstream media have resorted to variations on a single theme: Opposition violates our sacrosanct political traditions. The Supreme Court upheld (most of) Obamacare; the president won reelection; ergo, continued efforts to undo the health law, especially those to defund it, are in grossly poor form. As Harry Reid so gracefully tweeted last week: “We will not bow to Tea Party anarchists who deny the mere fact that Obamacare is the law.” According to Reid, the effort to defund this particular law is tantamount to opposition to the concept of law itself.

The position that leftists have adopted here is absurd, for two reasons. First, the notion that Obama’s reelection in 2012 was a plebiscite on the relative merits of Obamacare is wishful thinking. American elections are rarely, if ever, plebiscites. Politicians work to make elections about a whole host of things; more often than not, electoral campaigns scrupulously avoid the big issues of the day. It is much better, from the politicians’ perspective, to turn the election into a contest of personalities or valence issues, those on which the public concurs."

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