The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Obamacare Escapes the Chains of Law

Mickey Kaus
Contributor

You Want to Sell Obamacare You've Got to Take Care of Obama: Megan McArdle notes that Obama's HHS has "reached the limits of its November strategy of using last-minute rule-making to implement on-the-fly changes to the law." No more rules! Now insurance companies are being "encouraged" and "strongly encouraged" to extend deadlines, accept late payments, pay for some out-of-network doctors and out of plan prescriptions. Many of these things violate the formal terms of the deal the government had made with insurers and will cost the latter money. "They're asking insurers to pay for the mistakes" the administration made in the launch of the program, complains Avik Roy. The key word is "asking." But, as Roy notes, there's a club HHS is holding behind its back--the threat that if insurers don't play along HHS will be "considering" that factor in the "renewal process."

Yet Another Path to Corporatism …

6:28 AM 12/12/2013

The Obama Administration continues to blaze new paths to corporatism (the cozy alliance of government with a few big businesses in each industry to the exclusion of smaller players). Last month, it was the Obamacare two-step, in which government so screws up a new policy that it has to throw itself on the mercy of the industry it is trying to control--in this case the insurance industry, called in to save the exchanges.  Obama owes them now--both for technical help with the website and for not jumping ship as expected customers fail to materialize and HHS shifts deadlines and makes other crude fixes on the fly.

The Great MacGuffin

4:59 AM 12/09/2013

4 Things the MSM Won't Tell You About Obama's Inequality Speech: Now that the excitement has died down  You have to admire President Obama for choosing to give a speech declaring that the fight against "growing inequality"--specifically economic inequality--is "the defining challenge of our time" and the "focus" of "all our efforts"--given that:

Big Obamacare payoff for tax cheats?

8:53 PM 12/08/2013

Dept. of Maybe-Not-So-Unintended Consequences: Doesn't Obamacare create a big new incentive to fudge your income on your tax returns? The subsidies available on the health care exchanges seem to be based on adjusted gross income (line 37 on Form 1040)-- and there's a huge, conspicuous difference between the subsidy available at, say, a $25,000 income and a $46,000 income. (The subsidy cutoff of is $45,960 for a single person). In California, for the "bronze" policy I'm interested in, at $46,000 I'd pay $507 a month. At $25,000 I'd pay ... $63. A difference of $444 a month.

Needed: An Obamacare Doohickey

2:38 AM 12/04/2013

For every Obamacare health insurance policy you buy we'll give a second policy to a needy geezer! Back in the early days of hybrid cars, when the Prius was starting to sell, some manufacturers (e.g. Honda) introduced hybrids that looked just like their regular cars. People presumably like the way regular cars look, or they wouldn't look like that, so sales expectations for the normal-looking hybrids ran high. But they bombed. Why? It seems people who were in the market for hybrids weren't just trying to save money and the planet--they wanted the world to know they were trying to save money and the planet. The strange-looking Prius did the job. Soon manufacturers were trying to add distinctive hubcaps or grills or bumpers to their hybrids in order to serve this "cueing" function.

Eddie Murphy in Reverse

3:59 AM 12/02/2013

Last Monday's  item argued that the crabbed, seemingly arbitrary, targeted form of redistribution inherent in Obamacare's structure--basically punishing those Americans who make more than 4 times the poverty rate and are unlucky enough to be in the individual insurance market--was peculiarly unappealing. But it's really not as bad as all that.  Politically, it's worse.

3 Problems with Today’s Obamacare Excuse

1:48 AM 11/25/2013

No, you didn't have to break these eggs to make an omelette: The latest, and probably most durable defense of Obamacare's launch trouble appeals to the ancient liberal urge to redistribute. Pushed by semi-official Obamacare spinner Jonathan Gruber, this line most recently suffused a piece by John Harwood on the New York Times front page. The idea is basically that Obamacare is secretly ("shhh!" says Tim Noah) redistributive. Obama can't use the term lest he scare the right, says Harwood. And if youre going to be redistributive, well, there have  to be losers :

Why Nuke Now?

3:35 AM 11/22/2013

It's about jobs. Why did Majority Leader Harry Reid decide to get rid of the 60-vote rule on administrative and lower court nominations now? There are at least three theories. I'd like to add a fourth:

Sticker Shock May Be Here to Stay

10:27 AM 11/18/2013

One Fair Price? Democrats who've supported Obamacare (and I'm one) may be consoling themselves with the thought that today's "cancellation" problem represents a temporary crisis.  Once those cheap old policies are gone--in 2014, 2015 or whenever-- there won't be any more left to cancel. The problem will be "in the rear view mirror," as health insurance expert Drew Altman told the L.A. Times.

What’s the Obamacare line today?

3:28 AM 11/14/2013

I'd like to toe the party line on insurance cancellations, but it keeps changing!

Unveiling the Dem’s 2014 Slogan

4:43 AM 11/13/2013

Given the state of Obamacare, it looks like the Dems already have their 2014 campaign slogan:

Panic is an Option!

6:43 PM 11/11/2013

Too Big To Fail, Because We Might Need Their Help: The Obama administration has pioneered a new path to corporatism**: Screw up a government initiative so much you have to call in the big boys from the industry to fix it. ... You think the White House owes the large insurers now that they've dispatched their experts to save healthcare.gov? It's easy to think of dozens of situations in the next three years--assuming Obamacare survives--where Obama's regulators will have to choose between more competition and cozier big-firm oligopolies. The first benefits consumers. The second benefits insurance company profits. They now have a big reason to favor approach #2.. ..

Kausfiles vs. Facile Contrarianism!

9:54 PM 11/06/2013

Who you gonna believe, clever bloggers obsessed with exit polls or your own eyes? Bloggers on the left--and some on the right--are trying really hard to deny the obvious: that the Obamacare rollout debacle hurt gubernatorial candiate Terry McAuliffe down the stretch in a way that should (and will) terrify Democrats. McAuliffe looked like he was cruising to a big victory. Then the Obamacle happened and he barely escaped with a 2 percent win. There was no last minute scandal that helped him. His main opponent, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, didn't "take some magic personality pills the last two week," as Conn Carroll put it.  What happened was Obamacare.

Kausfiles Gets Constructive!

12:01 AM 11/05/2013

A Hack Idea Whose Time Has Come: I admit that all the recent Obamacare troubles are ... well, let's face it, they're huge fun.

First, We Pull the Plug on Granny!

10:00 PM 11/04/2013

The Curve-Benders' End-of-Life Obsession: Buried in the now-famous May, 2010 David Cutler memo--warning the White House that their Obamacare launch team was "not up to the task"--is this complaint:

Bring On the Wise Men! But Are There Any?

11:40 PM 10/31/2013

The Obama administration is thisclose to being the object of one of the most vicious forms of condescension in the MSM arsenal: the Call for Wise Men. David Gergen almost gets there in this interview on NPR, and the night is young.

Did Obama try to break his promise?

10:55 PM 10/31/2013

Forbes' Avik Roy says a hot Federal Register doc shows that the Obama administration knew the Affordable Care Act would wind up causing millions to lose their existing insurance.  Alert Reader J., a Democrat and Obama voter, sends an email arguing that it's not that bad. It's worse!

Obamacare–The Cosmic Diner Problem

7:45 PM 10/30/2013

Somewhere Joan Walsh is smiling: WaPo's Ezra Klein is back on message with a sunny piece on the success story that is Obamacare. It seems premiums are coming in at 16% less than predicted by the Congressional Budget Office, according to this study of early, not-quite-complete data. OK. But here's my beef with this sort of allegedly reassuring news. Forget that a) the CBO predicted that rates would go up, in nominal terms, though many people will get subsidies to counteract this, and some of the premium increase may reflect better insurance provisions (like mental health care) that consumers may or may not have wanted; and  b) rates (as Klein offhandedly admits**) may still go up dramatically in Year 2,  especially if Obama doesn't recruit enough healthy young payers into the system. That's not the beef I'm talking about.

Lou Reed at Beverly High

1:02 AM 10/28/2013

In 1968 I got the Velvet Underground to play at a mandatory student assembly at my high school in Beverly Hills, California. Nick Gillespie of Reason asked me about it a few years ago--the account is at the end of this interview.

Rubio Bails on Amnesty

3:04 AM 10/27/2013

Forgive and Forget? Sen. Marco Rubio really does seem to have retreated on immigration amnesty. The key isn't his support for the House's "piecemeal" approach--after all, the pro-amnesty lobby now says the same thing,  hoping that the House's various little bills will then lead to a negotiation with the Senate and a bigger mass-legalization bill. The key is Rubio's admission that of the issues in the amnesty bill