Tag: Single-payer health care

Vermont Falls

I am Hal’s total lack of surprise:

Vermonters will not be part of a single-payer healthcare system.

Gov. Peter Shumlin had hoped to create the first state-based single-payer system in 2017, but skepticism from both state lawmakers and constituents has halted the idea.

“This is not the right time” for enacting single payer, Shumlin said in a statement.

Shumlin cited the big increases in taxes Vermonters would see that would be required to pay for the plan.

“These are simply not tax rates that I can responsibly support or urge the Legislature to pass,” the governor said. “In my judgment, the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families and the state’s economy.”

Federal funds available were also $150 million less than expected, Shumlin added.

Note that Jonathan Gruber was involved in this, just in case you might be wondering what his overall intentions for Obamacare were.

I’m sure this will be blamed on the “greed” of Vermont voters, wanting to keep more of their money. But Megan McArdle called this months ago. The plan was slated to cost $2 billion, requiring Vermont to raise taxes by 75% at least.

Especially when you consider that estimates for this plan’s cost are likely to err on the optimistic side, because, well, people drawing up proposed budgets for their pet ideas tend to be a little optimistic. Yes, yes, there may be fabulous cost savings from using the government’s monopoly buying power to bargain prices down with providers. But Vermont is already the beneficiary of significant monopoly buying power: One insurer has 74 percent of the state’s small-group business. It’s a Blue Cross/Blue Shield, so don’t count on fabulous savings from squeezing out profits. The large group market is even more concentrated, though on a for-profit insurer.

Nor can you get much administrative saving at the provider level, because they still have to deal with out-of-state insurers quite a bit. And the once-vaunted fabulous savings from preventative care have mostly turned out not to exist.

So this is going to be expensive. So expensive that I doubt Vermont is actually going to go forward with it.

Supporters of single-payer healthcare tell us constantly that such a system would be massively more efficient than what we have now. They base this partially on bogus claims that Medicare and Medicaid have low overhead costs. They base this partially, as McArdle points out, on comparisons to a healthcare system that is already, in many states, a monopsony, one that Democrats have fiercely resisted challenging by allowing insurance to be sold across state lines.

But, in the end, it’s mainly wishful thinking. We’re supposed to believe that socialized medicine magically keeps costs down. But the cost curve in the evil capitalist US system has basically matched that of socialized systems for the last twenty years. Most of the explosion of medical costs occurred in the 1970’s and 80’s and is baked into the system we have.

Vermont has now shown that switching to a single-payer system would be expensive and intrusive. Can’t we try anything else before we go there?

Day After Thoughts on Hobby Lobby

So I’ve had a few days to digest the Hobby Lobby decision and wanted to put up some further thoughts.

First, a lot of Leftists are claiming that this decision “proves” that we need single payer to make all these issues go away. Of course, the Left saw yesterday’s World Cup game as proof we need single payer. But the argument from the Hobby Lobby case is so poor that even Ezra Klein sees right through it:

At the core of the case is the fact that Obamacare had to decide which health-care services absolutely needed to be covered and which services didn’t. One of the services Obamacare deemed essential was contraception. That’s what led to the Hobby Lobby case: prior to Obamacare, there was no federal law forcing employers who offered insurance to cover contraceptive care, and so no need for employers to seek exemptions to that law.

A single-payer system heightens the stakes on this kind of decision. The assumption behind some of the Hobby Lobby-based arguments for single payer is that a single-payer system would cover contraception and that would mean everyone’s insurance covers contraception. But a Republican-led government could decide that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be going to cover contraception at all, and then a single-payer system means no one’s insurance covers contraception.

An example comes from one America’s current single-payer systems: Medicaid. While Medicaid does cover contraception, Congress decreed years ago that it can’t, under any circumstances, pay for abortions. So while people buying private insurance can choose a plan that covers abortion if they want (and, in fact, about two-thirds of private health-insurance plans cover abortions), people in the Medicaid system have no option to choose a plan that covers abortion.

Ding! It boggles my mind that people can claim single payer will “take the politics” out of healthcare decisions. I have to believe that the “this supports single payer” claimants really mean something else: with single payer, Obama will be able to force a liberal vision of health insurance on the rest of the nation. That’s fine … as long as he’s President. But what will they say when President Santorum strips out birth control coverage and mandates coverage for gay conversion therapy? This is what conservatives and libertarians warned about from day one: the further you involve the government in healthcare, the more politicized healthcare decisions will become.

I oppose encroachments of government power. I oppose them even when I like the guy in office. The reason, as Lee pointed out endlessly, is because I know that he will not be in office forever. Eventually, someone I don’t like will be in. And he’ll have all the power we gave the last guy and take even more. See: Obama, Barack and Surveillance State.

Second, I am amazed at just how silly some of the commentary has gotten. Many commentators have clearly not read the decision or even vaguely familiar with its contents. Megan McArdle deals with some of the silliest talking points here. Eugene Volokh explains the narrowness of the ruling and why it was a statutory not Constitutional decision here. I’m hoping Ann Althouse, who has read the entire decision and is an expert on Constitutional Law and religion, will do some more blog posts on it. One of her first posts is this one, taking on the talking point that businesses can now do anything if they say it’s in the name of religion:

Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, when the federal government imposes a substantial burden on the exercise of religion, it must justify that burden by showing that it is the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling governmental interest. In Hobby Lobby, the compelling governmental interest is comprehensive preventive health care for women, and the majority said that requiring the employer to include coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptives in its health care plan was not the least restrictive way to to serve that interest. There are other ways the government could get the cost of contraceptives covered, ways that wouldn’t rope in the employer.

So the government’s interest could be served without imposing the burden on religion.

But when the government bans race discrimination, it is serving a compelling interest in banning race discrimination and there is no alternative way to achieve that end.

Exactly. The RFRA is designed to apply a common-sense limitation on government action where religion is concerned. It’s not a blanket that can allow human sacrifice or a refusal to pay taxes. In this particular case, the Court decided that the government can make sure women have access to birth control without requiring religious people to compromise their beliefs. And that was all it could rule on at this time.

Importantly, the Court did not decree that “corporations are people” or give them First Amendment rights (although they do have First Amendment rights in the context of free speech). They ruled that the people running closely-held businesses have First Amendment rights and that the RFRA requires the government to respect that. Don’t like it? All you have to do is revise the RFRA. Good luck with that.

Third, what’s amazing about the commentary is the number of catch-22’s the liberal intelligentsia places the Court in. When the Court ruled that birth control coverage could be refused for religious reasons, they started screaming, “Well, what about blood transfusions! What about psychiatry? What about gelatin? Huh? Huh? Huh?” But when the Court declined to specifically address those issues — because they can’t — the liberals then accused the Court of foisting their own religion on the country and ignoring everyone else’s.

They accused the Court of scientific illiteracy when they ruled on the methods Hobby Lobby believes are abortifacients (although, having poked around, I don’t the case that they aren’t is as ironclad as claimed). But when the Court clarified that coverage for all methods of contraception could be declined, they went ape again that the ruling was overly broad.

(I also must keep harping on this point: insurance-provided birth control is not “free”. You pay for it with your work. And you pay for it specifically with money your boss gives to the insurance company instead of you. Mother Jones — always a good source of mathematical garbage — put up a calculator showing how much birth control will cost a woman over her reproductive life. But she’s going to pay that price whether she is insured or not. In fact, there are good reasons to believe she will pay more by getting it through her insurance. What happens is that people get birth control through their employer’s insurance … and then wonder why their insurance premiums went up $50 a month.)

The one idea I keep returning to, however, is this: the Left should not be angry. Miffed a bit, sure. But they shouldn’t really be angry.

They should be ecstatic.

We now live in a country where insurance coverage of contraception is mandated by law for all but a small segment of employers. And those will almost certainly be covered when Obama expands the compromise that the Court gave their assent to (although he will probably let women swing in the wind until after the election). The conservative wing of the Court did not dispute that the government can provide birth control coverage. Nor did they dispute that insuring women have access to birth control was a compelling interest of the government. Griswold is in no danger of being repealed. A slight wrinkle has been thrown out in how birth control is paid for. And there are some states where Republicans are attacking programs that help pay for birth control for poor women. But overall, women are in a far better position with respect to controlling their reproductive systems than they have ever been.

I know people want to see this in terms of absolutes: that women have an absolute right to birth control. But living in a country of 300 million people means none of us get everything we want. There are no absolute policies that will work for the entire country.

And yet, with a near complete victory — the provision of almost “free” birth control; a goal they have wanted for decades — they are in hysterics because it wasn’t a complete victory. They are angry because a compromise was reached for people who have a moral objection to certain types of birth control. They are angry because they didn’t get everything they wanted. 85% of employers covered birth control before Obamacare. Nearly 100% will now and the remainder will get it through some kind of compromise. You can be a bit disappointed that it’s not 100%. But proclaiming that SCOTUS has now imposed Sharia Law and made women second-class citizens? Seriously?

Damon Linker:

Where once the religious right sought to inject a unified ideology of traditionalist Judeo-Christianity into the nation’s politics, now it seeks merely to protect itself against a newly aggressive form of secular social liberalism. Sometimes that liberalism takes the relatively benign and amorphous form of an irreverent, sex-obsessed popular culture and public opinion that is unsympathetic to claims of religious truth. But at other times, it comes backed up by the coercive powers of government.

That’s how the Hobby Lobby case needs to be understood: as a defensive response to the government attempting to regulate areas of life that it never previously sought to control. Like, for instance, the precise range of health insurance benefits a business must provide to its employees under penalty of law. Hobby Lobby doesn’t oppose contraception as such, as some Catholic businesses do. It merely opposes four out of 20 forms of contraception that the Obama administration wants to force them to cover — because its owners believe those four to be abortifacients.

From advancing an ideological project to transform America into an explicitly Catholic-Christian nation to asking that a business run by devout Christians be given a partial exemption from a government regulation that would force it to violate its beliefs — that’s what the religious right has been reduced to in just 10 years.

Exactly. The Left Wing has been running up victory after victory in the Culture War. Gay marriage just became legal in fricking Kentucky. Colleges are so eager to make birth control available, they’ll shove it down throat if you sleep with your mouth open. Marijuana is legal in two states and the edifice of criminalization is imploding. Public prayer has been reduced to few non-denominational utterances. Their only conservative “wins” have been a few recent restrictions on abortion and public funding for birth control, policy changes that are likely to be short-lived.

For a long time the Left has claimed that they are the side that wants to compromise and it is conservatives who are intransigent. Yet what is this but rejecting a compromise? What is this but going to tired “war on women” rhetoric at the slightest provocation? No one is being denied birth control. No one’s boss is interfering with their birth control. This is ultimate result of the Hobby Lobby decision: the Federal government will have to make a deal to provide birth control coverage for employees of a small fraction of businesses..

That’s a War on Women? That’s treating corporations like people and women like second-class citizens?

I humbly suggest the rhetoric over this decision needs to be toned down. Because if the Left shout down the heavens for something like this, who’s going to be listening when a state tries to outlaw abortion? Or repeal sexual discrimination laws? Or place heavy restrictions on birth control?

When it comes to long political struggles, you have to choose your battlefields. As much as I oppose much of what the religious right is doing right now, this isn’t the field on which the banners should be unfurled. Accept the near complete victory and move on.

The Bill Comes Due

Remember all that talk about how Obamacare was going to save us all this money? Evil uncaring heretics like me pointed out that this was impossible. You can not insure more people and you can not outlaw cheap insurance without increasing healthcare costs. Romneycare saw costs soar after implementation because … funny story … when people have insurance they see the doctor more often. Even the dreaded ER visits went up.

But no, we just didn’t understand. We were letting our hatred of poor people cloud our vision. Why the cost curve bent down in 2009-2013, which was proof that Obamacare was keeping costs down even before it was implemented!

Um … oops:

As I reported earlier this month, there were already signs of growing health care spending in the fourth quarter of 2013, when it jumped 5.6 percent, which had been the fastest clip since 2004.

But the 9.9 percent jump (on an annualized basis) came in the quarter from January through March, which was the first three months in which individuals who gaining coverage through the law were able to use it. That was the fastest rate recorded since health care spending grew at a 10 percent rate in the third quarter of 1980.

The data released on Wednesday, as part of the government’s report on gross domestic product, is preliminary and subject to revision in the coming months.

Note that first quarter GDP growth came in at 0.1%, so the non-healthcare section of the economy shrank by 1% last quarter.

So … are the Obamacare supporters admitting that they were wrong? Uh, not exactly:

But let’s be very clear about what’s happening here: an improving economy is allowing Americans to now spend more on health care, while people who have previously been uninsured are finally getting insurance and are using their care. In the meantime, health care prices are still continuing to grow at low rates, reducing Americans’ health costs.

ThinkRegress goes on to say that, in the long run, healthcare costs will come down because the IPAB will force changes in healthcare reimbursement. Therefore we should be celebrating because the first half of the CBO’s prediction — healthcare costs will rise — has come true!

There are many many problems with this. The biggest is history. IPAB is not the first effort by the government to reign in healthcare spending. There is a whole alphabet soup of programs — RBRVS, GRH, SGR, etc. — that have completely failed in this regard. And that leads to the bigger point. Those of you who have followed the budget debates for the last twenty years know how this plays out: we get spending increases today with the promise of spending cuts tomorrow to balance them out. And those spending cuts never happen. Because tomorrow we are told that spending needs to go up because of the economy, the uninsured, the homeless or Venus being in Taurus.

So what will the Democrats and their apologists say when health care costs continue to rise? Well, besides blaming Republicans, I expect they will claim that this “proves” how much we need single-payer. To prepare for that, read McArdle today. Over the last twenty years, uber-controlled monopsony single-payer healthcare systems have restrained their spending growth to … about what we’ve had in the United States. The big growth in US healthcare spending occurred forty years ago and is now baked into the system. So … no, Virginia, socialized medicine will not cure what ails us.

Buckle your seat belts, friends. The ride’s only going to get bumpier.

The Triumph of Obamacare

I think it’s time for us on the blog to finally admit that Obamacare has been a roaring success, far in excess of what even the most optimistic supporters projected. I mean, just check out the numbers:

  • At least six million people have signed up for insurance on the exchanges, close to the seven million Obama hoped for. Now granted, only two million of those were previously uninsured; the rest were people who were already insured but had their plans — some of which they really liked and were much cheaper — cancelled because they weren’t compliant. And, granted, nine million previously insured people have bought policies by ignoring the marketplaces and dealing with insurance companies directly (which was a fairly typical number prior to Obamacare). But two million people! All we need is 24 more Obamacares and there will be no uninsured!
  • Actually, Obamacare is even better than that. About 4.5 million people have been swept into Medicaid. Now granted, Medicaid is not a very good insurance system. Many of the best doctors refuse to see Medicaid patients and Medicaid-intensive hospitals are some of the worst in the country. But still, that means only nine more Obamacares and we’ve got this uninsured problem licked!
  • Something less than a million people are uninsured right now because their insurance was cancelled by Obamacare regs. Meh. Serves them right for having jobs.
  • The CBO projected in February that 13 million more people would have insurance thanks to Obamacare. And here we are, two months later, and it’s looking we may actually have a whole third of that! A third! And almost all of that is by expanding the glorious Medicaid system!
  • We’ve gotten all this for the bargain basement price of, depending on who you believe, somewhere between $1 trillion and all the money in the world plus all the money on other planets that will be discovered by the James Webb Telescope. Now, granted, for that price, we could probably have bought high-deductible plans for all of the newly insured and given them a $5000 HSA to cover the deductible. That wouldn’t have disrupted anyone else’ insurance either. But then what would the poor bureaucrats do?
  • I think we all know the conclusion to draw from this: we need to now move to single payer. The success of Obamacare tells us that we need single payer. And the failure of Obamacare tells us that we need single payer. The canceling of perfectly legitimate insurance plans tells us we need single payer. The massive premium increases tells us we need single payer. Actually, when Venus is in the house of the ram, it tells us that we need single payer. When the sun rises in the east, we need single payer.

    We just need single payer dammit ‘cuz REASONS!

    Obamacare: How We Got Here

    In the fight over the debt ceiling and shutdown, it’s important to remember that Obamacare was brought to us and is still supported by a string of deceptions and obfuscations. You should really read Megan McArdle’s breakdown of 11 pieces of conventional wisdom about Obamacare. Here’s an example:

    4.Emergency room use will decline.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t actually seem to be true. In Massachusetts, ER visits actually rose post-Romneycare. It turns out that people use the ER for non-emergency care for a number of reasons — sometimes a painful-but-not-life-threatening condition like a urinary tract infection arises on a Saturday morning, and sometimes people who work for hourly wages don’t feel that they can afford to take off work to go to a doctor’s office. Or sometimes they have a primary care physician, but can’t get a timely appointment — a situation that got worse in Massachusetts after Romneycare passed.

    McCardle leaves out some other things, such as the idea that preventative care will save us money (it won’t) or that electronic medical records will (they won’t). Both might save lives but they won’t save money.

    But I’d like to focus on three particular lies that I consider the most egregious. The stuff McCardle talks about is wonky stuff that it hard to predict and about which there is some legitimate debate. But there are three claims about Obamacare that are not only false but were known to be false when they were uttered.

    First, the initial promise of Obamacare was that it would save $2500 a year for every family. This was the claim that Obama made during his initial presidential campaign. It was recycled, without the specific number, to get it passed through Congress. In light of spiking insurance rates, this claim now seems laughable. HS has been reduced to touting that premiums will be “lower than expected” which sounds good, but actually means, they aren’t quite as bad as had been feared.

    The claim that healthcare reform would immediately slice insurance rates was obvious garbage when Obama said it. Maybe, in the long run, healthcare reform will cut costs. But you simply can not expand insurance to millions of people and have costs go down. Reality doesn’t work that way. Maybe insuring those people is a good social goal; but that’s not how it was sold to us.

    It gets worse. Last week, we found out that the whole “save money” thing was just a throwaway line in an Obama speech:

    Soon-to-be-candidate Obama, then an Illinois senator, was thinking about turning down an invitation to speak at a big health care conference sponsored by the progressive group Families USA [in January 2007], when two aides, Robert Gibbs and Jon Favreau, hit on an idea that would make him appear more prepared and committed than he actually was at the moment.

    Why not just announce his intention to pass universal health care by the end of his first term?…

    “We needed something to say,” recalled one of the advisers involved in the discussion. “I can’t tell you how little thought was given to that thought other than it sounded good. So they just kind of hatched it on their own. It just happened. It wasn’t like a deep strategic conversation.”…

    The candidate jumped at it. He probably wasn’t going to get elected anyway, the team concluded. Why not go big?

    It was months later that Obama became even passingly familiar with healthcare policy. Dan McLaughlin was right when he called this the most Obama thing ever.

    The second falsehood we knew about was “if you like your insurance, you can keep it”. We’ve been over this before, so no point in rehashing it again. But it is worth remembering the changes to existing insurance policies was known when Obamacare was being debated. They knew this was incorrect; they knew it outlaws certain insurance policies. And they said it anyway.

    This third lie, however, is the one I want to really talk about. When Obamacare was being debated, conservatives were pilloried (and labelled liars by fact-checkers) for claiming this was a government takeover of healthcare and a step toward socialized medicine. Liberal wags joked that if we thought Obamacare was socialism, we didn’t know what socialism was. We were outmoded hysterics. Even when we unearthed video of Obama bragging that single payer was the goal, we were bashed for taking him out of context or something.

    But I’ve noticed something in the last few days. Suddenly, all the liberals who said we were crazy for thinking this would lead to single payer are … claiming this will lead to single payer. Their claim is that the fierce opposition to Obamacare is because conservatives are afraid the public will like it and demand single payer. Here‘s Bill Maher, in an awful op-ed I plan to fisk later today. Here is Harry Reid. Check out the comments of every liberal blog out there. The claim that was once dismissed as conservative hysteria is now being touted as the major reason for Obamacare’s awesomeness.

    So … let’s sum up. We claimed that Obamacare would be expensive, would change insurance and would be a step toward socialism. We were branded liars and hysterics by people who knew everything we said was right. And now they’ve turned those memes around to support Obamacare.

    And they think we’re dishonest.

    As if this is an unexpected discovery

    While I could stress the “I told you so” part, the sad thing is that the left’s attempt to force healthcare money & decision making under the purveyance of an increasingly more hostile and totalitarian pseudo-fascist-marxist nanny state government, the reality is that we got screwed, and screwed hard by these fucking collectivist power hungry liars. From the article;

    Republicans have long blamed President Obama’s signature health care initiative for increasing insurance costs, dubbing it the “Unaffordable Care Act.”

    Turns out, they might be right.

    It was not just the republicans saying this, BTW: anyone with two firing neurons could clearly see that the problem with out of control and insanely fast rising healthcare costs has, and will continue to be, the government meddling that forces private insurance to only offer plans that provide coverage of “luxury special niche care items” that a small and special constituency then benefits from, but we then all have to pay for, and will likely never need. And they then accuse anyone that points out how stupid that is of being evil and greedy and in the pockets of the evil private insurers that to the collectivists are in league with Satan himself because they make evil profits.

    As I have sais numerous times, and will repeat: the main goal and purpose of the ACA, better known as Pelosi’s spawn or Obamacare, was never to reduce cost or provide more people coverage. Those of us that saw through the propaganda clearly understood the only driving goal was to destroy private healthcare by forcing even bigger costs increases, reduced quality and access, and overwhelming the system with millions of freeloaders, many not even citizens. So these discoveries are not news to those of us that knew better.

    For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they’re currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers’ monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act.

    No, this is not going to affect the vast majority of Americans negatively: it will affect all Americans that are not part of one of the special groups that were able to buy special exemptions from their democrat buddies. That also was a built in feature of Obamacare. It required some sweetheart deals to buy the votes of many donkeys in congress, and tax payers footed the bills for those sweetheart deals, and created a huge campaign coffer stuffing initiative that had all manner of special interest buy exemptions in return for campaign contributions to the donkeys. The biggest affront is how the tax payer will not only have to cover the ones that bought exemptions, but the extra costs of the loss of the penaltax the groups with exemptions now avoid. A triple FU.

    Health law proponents have excused the rate hikes by saying the prices in the exchange won’t apply to the millions receiving coverage from their employers. But that’s only if employers continue to offer that coverage–something that’s looking increasingly uncertain. Already, UPS, for example, cited Obamacare as its reason for nixing spousal coverage. And while a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 49 percent of the U.S. population now receives employer-sponsored coverage, more companies are debating whether they will continue to be in the business of providing such benefits at all.

    These lying fucks are the ones that told us we would actually be saving money while covering everyone AND getting better care. Buyer beware. They are lying yet again, because we will all pay more, for a lot less, and be made to wait a lot longer for that substandard care. After all, the goal is to break the system and piss us off so bad that we let them do what they really want: single payer government controlled healthcare. These idiots somehow have convinced themselves that with private companies no longer in the mix and evil profit making gone, unaccountable and petty government bureaucrats will somehow make healthcare better. It’s the whole magic gnome underpants thing in some bizarre twisted marxist logic. Thanks for nothing you fucks.

    Economists largely agree there won’t be a sea change among employers offering coverage. But they’re also saying small businesses are still in play.

    Caroline Pearson, vice president at Avalere Health, a health care and public policy advisory firm, said there’s a calculation low-wage companies will make to determine if there’s cost savings in sending employees to the exchanges.

    Which economists are these? I bet it’s the same assholes that told us Obamacare would save us money, cover everyone, and make healthcare better back when saying that it won’t affect all of us people already paying too much for healthcare.

    It’s a choice companies are already making. The number of employers offering coverage has declined, from 66 percent in 2003 to 57 percent today, according to Kaiser’s study.

    Here’s some reality for these morons: as more and more employers shed healthcare coverage to avoid the crippling costs and remain competitive in an economy crippled by other stupid leftist wealth redistribution schemes and scams, this will result in a snowball effect that will force even the employers that didn’t plan to ever get off, to follow suit. In the end everyone will drop coverage because it will be cheaper and less of a hassle. And believe me, Obamacare guarantees it will be a hassle for the employer offering care. These negative consequences are however a feature the nanny staters built into Obamacare, and while they pretend otherwise, they know it’s going to happen.

    We can continue to pretend this thing can be made to work and then act surprised every time we find out it is causing more pain, costing us more, reducing access to care and the quality of that care, and completely undermining the healthcare coverage we already have, right up until Obamacare collapses our private healthcare system, but then we deserve to be fucked over by these power grabbing collectivist tyrants and their remake of our country into some version of Animal Farm.

    If you had any doubt about the end goal..

    Harry Reid, as bold as can be and without any reservation or shame, admits Obamacare’s real purpose is to facilitate the lefts dream of a government controlled single-payer healthcare system. From the horse’s mouth:

    In just about seven weeks, people will be able to start buying Obamacare-approved insurance plans through the new health care exchanges. But already, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is predicting those plans, and the whole system of distributing them, will eventually be moot.

    Reid said he thinks the country has to “work our way past” insurance-based health care during a Friday night appearance on Vegas PBS’ program “Nevada Week in Review.”
    “What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.

    When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”

    So there you have it. Don’t worry that Obamacare is about to destroy health insurance as we know it and force most of us to pay more for a system that will spiral out of control as it reduces access and quality of care, while prices keep climbing, because in the end that’s exactly what it was designed to do so we can end up with government controlling all access to healthcare.

    The left has wanted to control healthcare for a long time. Being able to guard the gates of medical care from those that fail their political purity tests, not to mention getting their hands on what already amounts to 1/5 of our economy and will only keep growing in numbers as more people live longer and our population ages, is power incarnate. And while these evil fucks pretend to do what they do to “help’ the little guy, only idiots miss the fact that they only people being helped is these power hungry fucks themselves.

    BTW, have you seen this blatant admission by the left that Obamacare was designed to fail, so we shouldn’t worry our pretty heads about the details and problems, because the prize has always been a single payer system, anywhere else in the LSM? Wouldn’t you figure any responsible and real media would be all over such an incredible admission by one of our country’s main power brokers? If this isn’t news, then what is? Well, don’t be surprised. The reason it is not front page news is precisely because Harry Reid committed a faux pas admitting this fact everyone on the left knows is true, and they all have no desire to get this out in front of the people that they still need to keep in the dark to march on to that single payer system they all have that raging boner for.

    In the long run the big losers are always the productive American people. But the left despises those people more than anyone else, so there.

    More pain from socio-engineering left-stupid. Obamacare edition.

    In another awesome lesson of why social engineering assholes should be considered dangerous idiots and not the doo-gooders they pretend to be, we learn that can not bend the laws of economics, regardless of what the collectivist scumbags pretend.

    It’s already happening across the country at fast-food restaurants, as employers try to avoid being punished by the Affordable Care Act. In some cases we’ve heard about, a local McDonalds has hired employees to operate the cash register or flip burgers for 20 hours a week and then the workers head to the nearby Burger KingBKW +2.39% or Wendy’s to log another 20 hours. Other employees take the opposite shifts.

    Welcome to the strange new world of small-business hiring under ObamaCare. The law requires firms with 50 or more “full-time equivalent workers” to offer health plans to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. (The law says “equivalent” because two 15 hour a week workers equal one full-time worker.) Employers that pass the 50-employee threshold and don’t offer insurance face a $2,000 penalty for each uncovered worker beyond 30 employees. So by hiring the 50th worker, the firm pays a penalty on the previous 20 as well.

    I say these employees are the lucky ones. They found a way to score 40 hours of work in a depressed economy – one that is depressed because the social engineers have spent the last 5 years fucking us over instead of doing anything that would actually make the economy get better – while still avoiding the pain of something they where told was going to be free, but is far from. There will be millions that are not going to be that lucky. They will end with too few hours, or even worse, no jobs at all. If you are asking yourself why this is happening, check out the following revelation:

    These employment cliffs are especially perverse economic incentives. Thousands of employers will face a $40,000 penalty if they dare expand and hire a 50th worker. The law is effectively a $2,000 tax on each additional hire after that, so to move to 60 workers costs $60,000.

    A 2011 Hudson Institute study estimates that this insurance mandate will cost the franchise industry $6.4 billion and put 3.2 million jobs “at risk.” The insurance mandate is so onerous for small firms that Stephen Caldeira, president of the International Franchise Association, predicts that “Many stores will have to cut worker hours out of necessity. It could be the difference between staying in business or going out of business.” The franchise association says the average fast-food restaurant has profits of only about $50,000 to $100,000 and a margin of about 3.5%.

    I guess the lesson here is that this Obamacare shit is neither free nor a good deal unless you are part & parcel of the cadre that wants things to go bad so you can then justify government taking over all the healthcare money and decision making process. The end goal of the collectivist socio-engineers has always been state control of money and people, and one of the best ways is to control healthcare money, access, and decisions through a government run single payer system. But they have known that such a system would only become palatable to a public that finds their single payer system anathema to freedom and independence, if they manage to make the existing system so expensive and dysfunctional that even a nasty single payer system run by government looks better. That’s what Obamacare’s main purpose is: to destroy the economy and the existing healthcare system in the US. Don’t doubt it. Stories like this are not unexpected consequences or failure of planning, but the exact intended result. And we better get used to a stagnated economy and no foreseeable job growth of any kind outside bigger government. Small business employers, the ones that provide the bulk of the private sector employment, now have the biggest incentive ever put on any law books to not grow past 49 employees. From the article:

    Because other federal employment regulations also kick in when a firm crosses the 50 worker threshold, employers are starting to cap payrolls at 49 full-time workers. These firms have come to be known as “49ers.” Businesses that hire young and lower-skilled workers are also starting to put a ceiling on the work week of below 30 hours. These firms are the new “29ers.” Part-time workers don’t have to be offered insurance under ObamaCare.

    The mandate to offer health insurance doesn’t take effect until 2014, but the “measurement period” used by the feds to determine a firm’s average number of full-time employees started last month. So the cutbacks and employment dodges are underway.

    Do I again have to point out that there is no such thing as a free lunch? On a website that carries of all things the most ludicrous and insane heading of “Ensuring the Affordable Care Act Serves the American People“, they have now buried the information, because the list of exempt friends, cohorts, and other donkey interests like unions that would be crippled by this shit law has grown so long. It is not a coincidence that there are so many donkey special interest groups, or for that matter politicians, that are exempt from Obamacare. They know that Obamacare’s real goal is to destroy healthcare for those opposed to their plans for a single payer system, and they are protecting their special interests and themselves. I think we should pay attention to suggestions from people like Glenn H. Reynolds about shafting the left with their own shit, like this one.

    In the mean time, get used to the poor getting a lot poorer, those connected to the democrats to get richer, the middle class being destroyed completely, and the misery being spread wide. That’s what collectivism is all about, but after a century of proof we still have the idiots driven by their envy of what others have and their own greed to take away from those that have more than them that keep telling us they can make it work, or it works when it is implemented with less of the obvious violence and evil that are the hallmarks of communism and fascism. Then reality sets in and we get California and Greece, or in this case, the employment roulette, sooner than later.

    The timing of all this couldn’t be worse. Involuntary part-time U.S. employment is already near a record high. The latest Department of Labor employment survey counts roughly eight million Americans who want a full-time job but are stuck in a part-time holding pattern. That number is down only 520,000 since January 2010 and it is 309,000 higher than last March. (See the nearby chart.) And now comes ObamaCare to increase the incentive for employers to hire only part-time workers.

    Democrats who thought they were doing workers a favor by mandating health coverage can’t seem to understand that it doesn’t help workers to give them health care if they can’t get a full-time job that pays the rest of their bills.

    At least I have the consolation that the people hit the hardest by the left’s socio-engineering bullshit is always going to be the same low knowledge voters that support this wealth redistribution and not-free, free shit the left uses to buy votes with. Pity that the rest of us have to come along for the destructive ride, because the LSM now acting like a branch of the DNC won’t point out that they are fucking us over.

    Wishful Thinking

    So the consensus, even among liberals, is that Obamacare did not have a good week at the Supreme Court. It was so bad, in fact, that I heard people speculating that the Solictor General deliberately did a bad job to get it struck down.


    The thinking is that if Obamacare is struck down, this will pave the way for … a single payer system. Seriously:

    In the face of a total strike down, single payer probably becomes the best option. But it’s not an easy one. The hurdles to passing Obamacare were that Democrats needed to have a majority in the House, the presidency, and 60 senators. The good news to passing single payer is that they probably would only need 50 senators. (Single-payer could be done simply by expanding Medicare, a pure fiscal change that could be accomplished through a budget bill that can pass the Senate with a majority vote.)

    I tweeted about the absurdity of the other night, but I thought I’d expand on that thought. The idea that striking Obamacare will pave the way for single payer is ludicrous. It is based on two bogus schools of thought that run through liberal thinking.

    First, liberals are big believers in political determinism. They believe that their idea are so wonderful and fabulous that it is only a matter of time before everyone realizes it and we finally evolve into a liberal utopia. This line of thinking can be traced to Marxism, which posited that the forces of history were leading to the inevitable collapse of capitalism and the inevitable rise of communism. Just as the communists predicted that labor relations would get worse and worse until we had the inevitable worker revolution, liberals are now predicting (hoping) that our healthcare system will get worse and worse until we have the inevitable single payer revolution. All they had to do was stand back and let it happen.

    But they are just as deluded as Trotsky was. First, it is not inevitable that our system will get worse without Obamacare. It is possible, if we allow competition across state lines and move people toward more consumer-controlled system, that we could turn the tide. And even it our system does continue to get worse, why would this lead to a surge in support for single payer? Why would people who have vehemently opposed single payer suddenly favor it in the wake of an Obamacare defeat? Liberals want single payer. Indeed, their biggest problem with Obamacare was that it was not single payer. But conservatives and libertarians opposed Obamacare because we saw it as leading to single payer.

    The second problem with this line of thinking is that it completely misreads the political situation. To listen to the Left, Obamacare was passed over the fierce opposition of the health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and physicians. This is complete bullshit. The insurance industry favored Obamacare. Big Pharma was bought off with promises of no price controls. The doctors and hospitals were bought with promises of a permanent stay of the SGR cuts. All kinds of special interests favored Obamacare because they knew precisely what would happen: healthcare would become even more politicized. More money would flow to companies that were politically connected. Do you think Big Pharma is mad that HHS is mandating that their most expensive birth control pills be covered? Do you think the insurance companies hate it that people are being force to buy insurance? Give me a break.

    Obamacare was a product of industry, a distillation of what they wanted out of healthcare reform. And they supported it heavily. They will not, however, have such a love affair with a single-payer system. Such a system will put private insurers out of business, set the stage for price fixing in all branches of healthcare and, given Medicare’s horrific finances, necessitate massive cuts in physician and hospital reimbursement. The special interests will unite against single payer just as they united for Obamacare.

    At most, striking down Obamacare may set the stage for an Australian-type system where the government provides basic insurance and everything else is private. Or it may set the stage for the Ryan plan of breaking the federal monopsony that already controls half the healthcare system. But the idea that this sets the stage for single payer is pure Left Wing fantasy.

    (And since we’re on this, it’s always worth pointing out that the contention that Medicare is more efficient than the private sector is bullshit.)

    Montana Goes Canadian

    Really, Montana?

    Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Wednesday he will ask the U.S. government to let Montana set up its own universal health care program, taking his rhetorical fight over health care to another level.

    Like Republicans who object to the federal health care law, the Democratic governor also argues it doesn’t do enough to control costs and says his state should have more flexibility than the law allows. But Schweitzer has completely different plans for the Medicare and Medicaid money the federal government gives the state to administer those programs.

    The popular second-term Democrat would like to create a state-run system that borrows from the program used in Saskatchewan. He said the Canadian province controls cost by negotiating drug prices and limiting nonemergency procedures such as MRIs.

    Schweitzer said the province’s demographics and economy are similar to Montana in several ways – yet its residents live longer while spending far less on health care.

    It sounds to me like he wants a single-payer system: Medicare for all. Peter Suderman breaks down the lies that surrounded Medicare — that drug prices can be negotiated without harm, that physician fees can be cut without harm, that Medicare is more efficient than the private sector. I’ve tackled many of these myself. It’s telling that Schweitzer is already talking about rationing MRIs.

    But you know what? Go ahead, Montana. My response to the healthcare bill has been that states should be given the freedom to try out different policies. If Romneycare works for Massachusetts, if socialized works for Vermont and Montana, great. But only a crazy person would think that the best healthcare reform for Vermont is also the best for Texas. You have to drink deep of the kool-aid to think that Massachusetts’ solution — assuming it is that — should be the same as Alabama’s.

    So let Montana socialize medicine if they want to. So long as they’re not allowed to fund it through taxes from other states (i.e., federal subsidies), that’s fine. People can then vote with their feet and move to whatever state has the best healthcare system. I can tell from experience that I would much prefer getting healthcare in Texas than in Pennsylvania.

    Let the states figure it out. Let them enact 50 different systems and let people, doctors and insurers go to whichever system they prefer.

    And also: would the last doctor to leave Montana please turn off the machine that goes “bing”.