October 12, 2010

Setting Records in Breaking Promises (Obamacare)

Filed under: American Revolution, Health Racket Bailout — Tags: , — Russ @ 3:24 am


The health racket bailout was sold with a welter of promises. Yes, we were to be coerced into buying these policies, but the bill contained so many safeguards and inducements that we’d be the beneficiaries of the exchange.
In fact, even if everything in the bill came true, that would not be anywhere near sufficient recompense for yet another major assault on our economic and political freedom, and yet another major entrenchment of criminal corporate tyranny. But, as critics of the bill recognized and warned from the start, even the alleged crumbs are lies.
The fact is that this bill has no purpose whatsoever but to extort revenue from an already staggering population and provide nothing in return except for a worthless piece of paper which certifies that one went through a predatory toll booth and paid the toll. Since the American colonists similarly were to have revenue extracted from them by an Empire whose benefits were nowhere near sufficient to justify the extraction and the debasement of freedom; and since they were to get in return a wretched piece of paper, a Stamp; so here too I propose we refer to these forced “insurance” papers as Stamps, and the Mandate to purchase them is the Stamp Mandate.
The core political lie of the Stamp Act was Obama’s constant mantra, “if you like what you have, you’ll get to keep it”. But this is already being proven a Big Lie. Already the rackets and employers are moving in parallel tracks toward the real intended goal of driving people out of employer-based insurance and onto the far more expensive, far less protected individual market where we’ll have to face the rackets alone to buy our individual Stamps. This is how they plan to solve the problem of getting employers out of the responsibility of providing health insurance while letting the government still refuse to exercise its own responsibility to do so. The real goal is to revoke organized health care itself for large swaths of the population. I’ll develop this idea further in an upcoming post, The Health Racket Bailout As An “Austerity” Bill.
For today I’ll just focus on two particular lies which are already drawing their consequences. One is the subversion of the bill’s vaunted “regulations” by granting prolific waivers to employers. The other is the racket campaign to gut the 80% rule. (They’re also already stonewalling on covering “children” up to age 26 on parents’ policies, threatening to stop writing policies for children altogether. But this too was a showcase promise of the bill, and the reason young adults can’t get their own insurance is because there are no jobs for them, and these jobs are not coming back.)
Employers like McDonald’s have already received waivers allowing them to continue to offer inferior Stamps which don’t meet the standards of the bill. The administration has already granted 30 such waivers. Remember, this is waiving all the provisions that Obama, Krugman, and all the other hacks promised would make the bill such a great thing. They’re already gutting it all. (And not a peep from Thugman, who was so garrulous last winter. I guess his work here is done. Just like on the war he pretended to oppose when it was Bush’s war.)

How much the administration can, or should, compromise in ways that could dilute the effect of the new law in the next few years is a subject of much debate, depending on the politics from state to state or the economic dynamics in a particular market.

There’s no debate here at all. Maybe there’s a “debate” among the hacks still pretending and “progressives” who still refuse to see the truth, but the fact is that the administration and the rackets always planned to dilute, as the NYT calls it here. Or as we citizens always said, they always planned to refuse to enforce any of the “regulations”. We’re already being proven right. McDonald’s and others have already gotten waivers to provide Stamps which cover far less than Obama promised. And the rackets are getting waivers to sell Stamps which cover far less than Obama promised. While we’ll have to buy Stamps, McD’s, Walmart and others won’t have to help their employees pay for them. So our taxes will also have to go to helping to pay for these Stamps.

The waivers issued so far include the policies offered by McDonald’s to its fast-food workers, typically capped at just a few thousand dollars, sold by a profit-making company owned by Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. As a result of the administration’s efforts, McDonald’s says it is “confident that we’ll continue to provide health care coverage for our 30,000 hourly restaurant employees.”

Aetna and Cigna have also received waivers to continue selling limited-benefit policies, according to the list released by the Department of Health and Human Services, as have small employers like Sanderson Plumbing Products and Guy C. Lee Manufacturing. HealthMarkets, which offers policies through MEGA Life and Health and other insurers, says it also plans to apply for a waiver for some of its plans.

Meanwhile the states, upon whom Obama placed much of the unfunded burden for administering and enforcing Obamacare, are trying to evade these burdens by also granting exemptions.
This leads to the second example.

These early exemptions offer the first signs of how the administration may tackle an even more difficult hurdle: the resistance from insurers and others against proposed regulations that will determine how much insurers spend on consumers’ health care versus administrative overhead, a major cornerstone of the law.

Several leading insurers, including WellPoint, Aetna and Cigna, have also objected to new rules requiring them to cover even those children who are seriously ill, warning that they will stop selling new policies in some states because the rules do not protect them from having to cover too many sick children.

The bill claims to require the Stamp rackets to spend at least 80 cents of every dollar extracted on patient care. But Obamacare intentionally left this vague. How are these to be measured:
1. What counts as premium revenue, 80% of which has to be spent on patients?
2. What spending counts toward the 80%?
The rackets have already set up a lobbying cabal to gut the provision by eroding both of these standards. Thus, for example, they want Stamp sales commissions deducted from the gross before the 80% is applied. And they want all sorts of administrative “costs” to count as part of the 80%.
This quasi-surreptitious lobbying attack was by prearrangement with the Democrats, as per the deal Obama and Baucus struck with the rackets. The NYT’s dry comment

The new standards may prove a challenge to the administration in its attempt to protect the limited-benefit plans. Under the legislation, insurers are required to spend at least 80 cents of every dollar in premiums on the welfare of their customers, and many of these plans spend far less.

is therefore true, though not in the way they want us to read. I suppose it is a challenge to oversee the intentional scuttling of your own centerpiece policy as you enter an election. (They’re counting on a lot of help from the “progressives”.)
According to this the administration will accommodate the rackets on the 80% rule, although the states are offering some objections.

The administration says it has the authority to change the way medical spending is calculated. But the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which has been charged with drafting the regulations that will go to the Health Department for approval, has so far rejected the notion that these plans deserve special treatment.
A committee looking at the issue concluded that there was no reason to calculate spending differently for these plans, saying state regulators could always request exemptions later if they foresaw too much market turmoil.

It looks like it’ll be a race to the bottom, as the states look for ways to weasel out of the impossible position Obama’s put them in. 
Our plight is far worse than that of the colonists, and our cause even more just. The colonies did not economically or militarily need the British Empire and rightfully concluded that there should be a flourishing trade relationship, and perhaps a loose political relationship, but absolutely not a relationship where the Empire could tax them and otherwise legally and forcibly subordinate them. But at least they did get great benefits from the trade relationship, and still did feel ties of emotional kinship, thus the long reluctance to make the final psychological break and demand Independence.
We, on the other hand, get absolutely nothing from these rackets, and have no bonds of any sort with them. The only relationship is one of fraud and soon force, from the smallest day to day dealings to the most momentous transactions of government.
There’s also the difference that the colonists were on the upswing of prosperity. They could have afforded to pay the British exactions without much difficulty. But they chose to make a stand on principle. We, on the other hand, are economically already suffering hardship or face the prospect of it, and therefore already experience the fear of it, which is already a reality. We can’t afford the predations of these criminals as it is, let alone having to buy this hideously expensive Stamp.
So what must we be by comparison with our forefathers if, in addition to having at least as good a principled claim, in fact a better one, we also have a far greater economic necessity, and yet we fail to rouse ourselves to assert our freedom and safeguard our prosperity with the same level of vigor, resolve, and confidence?
(Is that the real issue right there, the lack of confidence? Then that’s what we have to work on. Confidence can be supplemented by education, but is built most of all in the course of action itself.) 
We should have, as a solid mass, declared Independence of these rackets at the outset and demanded Single Payer, absolutely refusing to accept one jot less, or to listen to one lie more. Well, we didn’t do that when it would have been easiest. But the next best thing is to do it now. We must organize to resist the Stamp Mandate.


  1. Some of the plans at issue are practically unconscionable. I saw one with a $10,000 annual cap, with the usual co-pays and limitations… which is practically worthless, maybe enough if you break your arm or something, but any sort of serious disease will have you bankrupted and/or without care.

    What a stupid mess this turned out to be. And all the Krugmans and Kleins of the world will be chanting that familiar refrain, “How could anyone have known?”

    Comment by jimmy james — October 12, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    • They’ll blame bad apples among the otherwise decent, wholesome health insurance people, who are after all, according to them, “our friends and neighbors”. (That’s an actual Obama quote.)

      Comment by Russ — October 12, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

  2. Anyone who works for these thieves as some kind of worker drone denying claims and coverage to sick people is part of the damn problem and deserves contempt. I don’t care about your economic situation or your inflated mortgage, have some damn principles. “I was only following orders” is the refuge of the worst kind of scum.

    Regarding the New “Stamp Act” I’m reminded of the legalized Thieves’ Guild from Terry Pratchett’s Ankh-Morpork.

    While initially the main money-making venture of Thieves’ Guild members remained theft, albeit under strict guidelines and leaving a receipt, more recent books show a system of “insurance”, whereby people may pay a fee directly to the Guild and therefore become immune to robbery for a specified period.

    And of course the Lawyers’ Guild: “The basic principle of the Guild is the richer you are, the more likely you are to be innocent.”

    Comment by reslez — October 12, 2010 @ 11:38 pm

    • That’s excellent. It just goes to show you can’t write satire anymore. Real life is always too depraved already.

      Comment by Russ — October 13, 2010 @ 3:08 am

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