Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Obamacare and Acts of Quiet Desperation
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.  What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862),  Walden (1854)
People on both sides of the Obamacare issue are showing signs of quiet desperation.   The end game is at hand -  to go ahead with implementation or to defund and stop it. 
·         Kathleen Sibelius has just announced a prize for anyone who can create a video urging the “young invincibles” to sign up for health exchanges.   The prize will be issued on September 31,  the day before sign-up period for health exchanges begins.  The Department of Health and Human Services is spending $30,000 on prizes for a national video contest in a frank appeal to the YouTube generation.   Whoever makes the best video can win up to $8,500. The trick to making any health-insurance work it to persuade health young people to sign on the insurance pool.    Their low costs offset costs of care provided to older and unhealthy people, who drive costs up.     This task obsesses the Obama administration.  Thirty thousand dollars is a pitteance when it comes to federal spending, but it shows the government’s desperation to reach minds and hearts of  the 18 -34 age group.  The young are desperately needed to lower premiums costs for older and sicker.

·         From Fox News and Forbes magazine comes articles announcing Obama administration has failed to meet deadlines for 41 of 82 provisions of the law (“Administration Missing Dozens of Obamacare Deadlines, “ Fox News Politics, August 20, 2013; and “Unpublished Congressional Research Memo: Obama Administration Has Missed Half of Obamacare’s Legally Imposed Implementation Deadlines,” August 1, 2013.   The 41 missed deadlines the latest delay: caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs. You can interpret  these missed deadlines as you wish:   as delays to make sure details are right before moving forward;  or as political acts to cover up incompetence to anticipate adverse consequences or to ward off critics. A  good examples of the latter is the negative impact of the employer mandate on hiring full-time workers and reducing existing workers to part-time status.

·         Former US Senator, Jim Demint,  now head of the Heritage Foundation, one of the chief backers of a plan to defund Obamacare says he doesn’t believe Republicans would be blamed for government shutdown if they support defunding.  The Heritage Foundation has launched a national townhall  tour of 9 cities to encourage defunding.   The nine cities are:  Dallas, Texas;  Fayetteville, Arkansas;  Wilmington, Delaware;  Tampa, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Indianpolis, Indiana; Columbus, Ohio; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Senator Demint called the defunding idea “the last, best chance” to stop the federal health care overhaul  before key parts of the law take effect later this year.  “Last, best chance” is another way of saying conservatives are desperately seeking a way to stop or delay Obamacare implementation.

Tweet:  Signs of Obamacare stop/go desperation:  HHS $30,000 video prize, delays of ½ of Obamacare provisions, & Heritage Foundation 9 city tour.

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