Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Freedom of Press is limited to those who own one - H.L. Mencken

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

The LA Times has a disturbing article about burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan:

The noxious smoke plumes that wafted over the military base in Balad, Iraq, alarmed Lt. Col. Michelle Franco. The stench from a huge burn pit clung to her clothing, skin and hair.

“I remember thinking: This doesn’t look good, smell good or taste good,” Franco said recently. “I knew it couldn’t be good for anybody.”

She wheezed and coughed constantly. When Franco returned to the U.S., she was diagnosed with reactive airway dysfunction syndrome. She is no longer able to serve as an Air Force nurse.

Other returning veterans have reported leukemia, lymphoma, congestive heart problems, neurological conditions, bronchitis, skin rashes and sleep disorders—all of which they attribute to burn pits on dozens of U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The military was throwing everything into these open burn pits, including medical waste and toxic chemicals.  Congress is pushing them to use environmentally clean incinerators, but the process is slow.

Reading through the article, there does seem to be a bit of disease creep going on.  Soldiers are blaming anything and everything on these burns pits, much of which is likely unrelated.  But whether the burn pits are causing thousands of illnesses or two, this is something that should not have happened.  Someone needs to be help responsible.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/27/10 at 12:04 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Shaken Chile

Chile just got hit by an 8.8 earthquake, one nearly 800 times stronger than the one that hit Haiti, with tsunamis expected to go all the way across the Pacific.

While they will certainly need some help, the country remains functional and I predict that they will weather this far better than Haiti did.  I’ve been to Chile many times and been impressed by its people and its productivity.  Each time I have visited, new developments and business were going up.  Their government has privatized their social security system and is very pro-free trade (although they still have some issues with building roads that last more than ten seconds).

Draw your own conclusions about the difference between the awful kleptocracy that runs Haiti vs. the capitalist democracy that runs Chile and how that translates in the safety and survival of their respective peoples.

Update: Amazing pictures of the devastation in Concepcion.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/27/10 at 09:39 AM in Deep Thoughts  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ain’t if funny how news is reported based on the letter next to the people in charge’s name..

Remember when good old BushChimpy McHitler was in charge and stories were reported about his fascist expansion of power? Well my bet is that most of you have no clue that The House of Representatives reauthorized the Patriot Act for one year Thursday by a vote of 315-97. Guess the fact that the people in charge now have a (D) next to their name suddenly this critical issue has lost both its criticality and its fascist appeal. We get told that…

Many lawmakers wanted to rewrite or even kill some of the most controversial provisions in the act. But Congressional leaders didn’t have the appetite for a major battle with the economy and health care reform swinging in the balance.

Yeah, sure. That’s why the MSM chose not to scream bloody murder about them not caring about it too: the usual BDS infected leftist tools in the MSM are too worried with helping the donkeys pass their government healthcare takeover and how to expand the public sector - it’s job creation, darn it! - at the expense of those of us that do work for a living. And that guy that ran against all things evil about Bush, and still blames Bush for everything that’s bad and takes credit for everything that Bush did that isn’t?

The Senate ok’d the package earlier this week. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

Yeah, I thought so.

Posted by AlexinCT on 02/26/10 at 10:36 AM in Left Wing Idiocy   The Press Machine   War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Things to ponder about our impending government healthcare takeover

I did not watch that 7+ hour freakshow that the democrats were hoping to use as a vehicle to paint the republicans as evil “no sayers” with no ideas or plans on healthcare with the help of the usual suspects in their controlled MSM – while anyone that had the ability to navigate a web browser and Google could see these donkeys were full of it – and I am glad I didn’t waste my time. The democrats pretended to care and to want bipartisanship, only they meant by bipartisanship that the republicans should do what they wanted and be happy about it. The leftist twits are now threatening reconciliation – a process that has never been used in the way they intend to abuse it, but we are talking about the party of the end justifies the means after all here – despite the public objection to this debacle. It is now or never and all or nothing with these fools. And they are continuing to pretend that they are doing it to help the country and the people economically, while also providing care to all those poor people that can’t afford it. How noble, but al bullshit. The end game still is to have government literally take over and control 1/5th of our economy. Not to mention get the power over life and death decisions. Fun stuff, but I want to talk about the cost to us tax payers.

Posted by AlexinCT on 02/26/10 at 09:10 AM in Decline of Western Civilization   Elections   Election 2010   Europe and the UK   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics   The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Day In Summits

Here’s the Conservative Hope De Jour, Paul Ryan:

In the end, I think we are fighting an uphill battle against both parties, however.  The Republicans have essentially conceded that insurance companies should not be able to “discriminate” against people based on pre-existing conditions.  I don’t have to rehash what a black hole that is for insurance companies.  Conceding that point basically ends the whole debate and sends us somewhere near Obamacare.  Because to prevent people from not buying insurance until they are sick, you have to have a mandate.  And if you’re not going to allow major medical insurance—i.e., cheap insurance with high deductibles and copays—you have to subsidize.  And if you’re giving people discounted insurance, the costs are going to explode until an external constraint—rationing—is applied.  When you concede the pre-existing condition part, the opposition to Obamacare becomes mostly partisanship.

The fundamental problem is that too many Americans—and way too many politicians—don’t understand what health insurance is.  They literally think it’s a way to get free healthcare; a magical money generator.  The idea that it is simply a way of distributing healthcare costs—over the span of your life and among your fellow insured—does not compute.  I can still remember, when I was in grad school, the puzzled look on students’ faces when they were told that adding birth control pill coverage to their insurance would increase their insurance rates by the amount the pills cost.  They literally could not wrap their minds around the idea that they couldn’t get free birth control pills out of the insurance company.

However, there is a way around this bullshit which Paul Ryan and others are trying to find.  Mostly, you need to do is to sever the link between insurance and employment and encourage—not outlaw—high deductible insurance.  This will make it far easier for people to get insured and stay insured in the first place.  You could buy a policy out of college and it would last you, with some changes, until retirement.  High-deductible policies would bring consumer pressure to bear on prices.  And over time, such a program would massively reduce the pre-existing condition problem by keeping people from having to change insurance every time they turn.  (Read this for a great piece of personal policies vs. employer policies).

But that reform wouldn’t allow for a yearly pageant of promising more spending and “efficiency” during the State of the Union Address.  It wouldn’t allow the parties to accuse each other of gutting the healthcare system.  So it’s out.

(I am disappointed to learn that Ryan voted for Medicare Part D.  I would like to hear him comment on this and explain his reasons.  But the hysterical cries of “hypocrite!” in some corners are overblown.  Of all the hypocrisy, lying and numbers juggling going on, Ryan’s ranks very low on the scale.  No one else has a real proposal to cut long-term Medicare costs.  And the alternative to Ryan would be a Republican or a Democrat who supports Medicare Part D and has no plan for constraining the long-term deficits.)

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/25/10 at 05:35 PM in Health Care  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The relationship between Obamacare and the tax payer

Posted by AlexinCT on 02/25/10 at 04:22 PM in • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Hamas Has No Soon

Heh:

The son of one of Hamas’s founding members was a spy in the service of Israel for more than a decade, helping to prevent dozens of Islamist suicide bombers from finding their targets, it emerged yesterday.

Codenamed the “Green Prince” by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of the Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, supplied key intelligence almost daily from 1996. He tracked down suicide bombers and their handlers from his father’s organisation, the Haaretz newspaper said.

Information supplied by him led to the arrests of some of the most- wanted men by Israeli forces, including Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah leader tipped as a potential president, who was convicted of masterminding terrorist attacks, along with one of Hamas’s top bombmakers, Abdullah Barghouti, who is no relation of the jailed Fatah chief.

Read the whole thing.  There’s also speculation that Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the fat fuck who was killed in a Dubai hotel room, was sold out by an insider.

It’s amazing how easy it is to get these guys to turn on each other.  Yousef appears to have turned on religious and ethical principles.  You have to wonder just how many more are being turned by bribery or being caught by the Mossad in a hotel room with another man, three sheep and a Buick.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/25/10 at 10:17 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The LaHood Paradigm

Ray LaHood, our secretary of transportation, is a Republican.  It says so right on his Wikipedia page.  Of course, that’s not stopped him from telling people to stop driving Toyotas—wouldn’t want competition for Government Motors.  Or eliminating cost-effectiveness rules for massive useless government transportation projects.

Today, he’s been front and center in Congress’ hearings on the Toyota recall, which have involved slightly less grandstanding than the steroid hearings.  And, apparently, he was sick the day they taught about tradeoffs in school.

LaHood ... proclaimed that safety had to be the number one priority of both his agency, and the automakers, and that he would ceaselessly hunt down malefactors until this was true.  This sounds wonderful, of course, but it is not actually true; as Souder pointed out, lowering the speed limit to 30 mph would save a lot of lives, but we don’t do it.  Aren’t there tradeoffs, he asked.

At which point Secretary LaHood achieved liftoff and rapidly departed reality.  He responded that lowering the speed limit to 30 mph would not save any lives, which is why we have minimum speeds on highways.  Representative Souder looked just as flummoxed as I was; did the Secretary of Transportation really not understand that the minimum speed limit exists to ensure that traffic is travelling at basically the same speed--which is indeed safer than allowing wide speed differentials?  Could he possibly believe that it was actually safer to drive 40 mph than to drive 30 mph?

Yes, apparently he could.  When Souder pointed out that the minimum existed in order to minimize speed differentials, LaHood proclaimed, “I don’t buy your argument, Mr. Souder”.  Secretary LaHood seems to be arguing that the laws of the United States override the laws of physics.

But it gets even better.  LaHood is now pushing for a federal ban on texting while driving, apparently using the highway funds to blackmail the states again.  He even wants cars fitted with a device that would block cell phone and possibly GPS signals.  Good luck calling 911 when you’re in an accident!

I’m not going to defend morons on cell phones.  I almost crashed into one of them the other day when he pulled out into traffic during a snowstorm.  But as Balko points out in the link above, our highways are safer now than they have ever been, despite the explosion of cell phones, pagers, iphones, ipods, ipads, ibooks, etc..  Distracted driving is nothing new as anyone who has kids, a car radio, a cup holder or an adventurous girlfriend in the passenger seat can tell you.  Can’t we even discuss this before we impose something draconian?

Nope.  Not according to LaHood.  There are no tradeoffs.  There are no acceptable risks.  The objective is zero traffic fatalities.  Whatever has to be done to get there is worth it.

Expand this lesson as needed for everything else the government does.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/24/10 at 07:47 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Defining Terror

I want to throw this out for discussion. Via Glenn Greenwald, I find what is, to me, a surreal discussion at Newsweek about whether Joe Stack—the Austin airplane guy—was a terrorist or not.  To me, this isn’t even a question.  I have a fairly solid definition of a terrorist—someone who uses violence or the threat of violence outside the legitimate theater of war against the innocent to advance a political agenda.  Joe Stack meets that definition.  He crashed a plane into a building and killed innocent people to advance whatever lunacy was in his statement.  But Newsweek seems confused:

Did the label terrorist ever successfully stick to McVeigh? Or the Unabomber? Or any of the IRS bombers in our violence list?

Yes, yes and yes.  McVeigh was a mass murderer, but he was certainly a terrorist.  Someone protesting against big government or even a government they consider evil can organize politically, can write, can agitate, can defect to another country, can defect to an enemy.  Those last may be treasonous, but they are not terrorism.  But when you drive a truck-bomb up to a building full of innocent people because you want to foment a revolution, that’s pretty much the definition of terrorism.  I haven’t completed my study of the colonial era, but I have yet to find an instance of the Patriots protesting taxes by blowing up buildings.  The closest they got to terrorism was the occasional tarring and feathering.

Right or wrong, we definitely reserve the label “terrorist” for foreign attackers. Even the anthrax guy (not that we ever found him) wasn’t consistently referred to as terrorist.

Maybe not be Newsweek, but I certainly think the American people thought it was terrorism.  ALF goons who firebomb animal research labs are terrorists.  And men who murder abortion doctors are terrorists.  Why are we even having this discussion?  Why is Newsweek playing the “it’s not terrorism when Americans do it” game?  Where does that game even exist outside of their office?

But maybe I’m a whinging lefty wingnut pansy.  Do you guys see the distinction?  Did someone mix crazy pills in with my Azithromycin?  Is Joe Stack a terrorist or not?

Update: Just as I wrote this, a friend sent me this definition of a terrorist from the Patriot Act:

activities that (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the U.S. or of any state, that (B) appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping, and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

How does this not apply?

To be fair, Newsweek may be arguing a cultural theme—whether Americans consider guys like Stack to be terrorists, not whether they are terrorists.  Their discussion is very confused and obtuse—it’s hard to know what they’re arguing about.  In either case, however, they’re full of shit.  Joe Stack was a terrorist and I think most Americans would consider him a terrorist.  Just not the media, I guess.

Update: Ta-Nehisi:

By Isikoff’s lights--and by the lights of several of his colleagues--the Ku Klux Klan, an organization responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent people, the men who turned Birmingham into “Bombingham,” who hurled molotov cocktails into the homes of Detroiters who dared moved west of Woodward, who lynched black men in the streets, who brought food, children and wives to the spectacle, who smiled next to smoking corpses in post-cards for far-off relatives, who displayed the knuckles and testicles of black men in pickle jars, were not terrorists, but “Ethnic Intrusion Protesters.”

This is not merely about semantics. I deeply suspect that our inability to grapple with and understand our own history of home-grown terror, indeed defining it as something else, inhibits our understanding of the very terror we now face and claim to be at war with.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/23/10 at 05:55 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

You could not have made a better commerical…

Our friends on the left that want to have government take over healthcare often site the Canadian system as an example of how it should be. Of course, people also point out how many Canadians are forced to jump the border to get quality and timely car they can not get when government bureaucracy runs healthcare. Now we seem to have the case of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier, Danny Williams, whom opted to come to the US for care (while it is still possible). When questioned by the press about why he did something like that his answer was “My heart, my choice”. Funny that how the collectivist healthcare system that the left wants to straddle us here with tends to deny everyone but the elite that choice, as this case again proves.

The 60-year-old Williams said doctors detected a heart murmur last spring and told him that one of his heart valves wasn’t closing properly, creating a leakage. He said he was told at the time that the problem was “moderate” and that he should come back for a checkup in six months. Eight months later, in December, his doctors told him the problem had become severe and urged him to get his valve repaired immediately or risk heart failure, he said. His doctors in Canada presented him with two options - a full or partial sternotomy, both of which would’ve required breaking bones, he said.

So in order to save some cash they send him home and told him to come back in 6 months. When he did, they diagnosed him with a critical condition and offered him 20 year old surgical procedures as the solution. Faced with that dilemma he then opted to…

He said he spoke with and provided his medical information to a leading cardiac surgeon in New Jersey who is also from Newfoundland and Labrador. He advised him to seek treatment at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami.

And his choice faced with this limitation of his country’s healthcare system was to go to the US - where I should add that the government had not taken over control of healthcare yet and turned the thing into a disaster - to get the surgery he needed, without having to endure a 20 year old painful and dangerous medical procedure. You know why the Canooks had to offer him that 20 year old chest cracking procedure, right? Because in order to control the skyrocketing cost of “free healthcare”, innovation and technological advancements have to be abandoned. Not to mention that he was probably worried that something as complex as that procedure might have a low survival probability, to save costs, you know. OK, I was just kidding about that last part there, but the humor is in the fact that that’s not too far from the truth.

Anyway, that’s the system we will soon have if Obama and the democrats get their way. One for them, and something like the Canadians have for us peasants.

Posted by AlexinCT on 02/23/10 at 11:20 AM in Health Care   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The gravy train is gonna cost us more than they told us..

In the age of “Hope and Change” deficits no longer matter it seems. This even as a Tax Policy Center released a
detailed 40 page report of the key tax proposals in President Obama’s 2011 budget, and if you look at their numbers they are projecting a whopping $4.9 trillion shortfall, which eclipses the $1.1 trillion claimed by the Obama people. Here is the killer quote:

The budget assumes a baseline in which the 2001-2003 tax cuts are permanent (including the estate tax at its 2009 level), the exemption in the alternative minimum tax (AMT) is permanently indexed for inflation from its 2009 level, and that temporary expansions of refundability of the child tax credit and of the earned income credit are permanent. Those provisions would reduce revenues by $3.8 trillion over the 2010-2020 period. TPC’s analysis measures the impact of the tax proposals not against the administration baseline but rather against a current law baseline that assumes the 2001-2003 tax cuts expire as scheduled in 2011 and that the AMT exemption maintains its permanent level. Against that baseline, the administration’s tax proposals would cause much greater revenue losses than official budget estimates show [$4.9 trillion v. $1.1 trillion].

For those that are numerically challenged, this means that the difference between all the goodies that the collectivists want to farm out reported in this analysis and the tax intake of Uncle Sam in this business hostile environment are going to leave us with an unbelievable additional $4.9 trillion in new debt. Of course, knowing the way collectivists operate, they will simply raise taxes - and likely also spending - and then be flabbergasted when we end up with something close to a $7 trillion gap.

Posted by AlexinCT on 02/23/10 at 08:46 AM in Decline of Western Civilization   Elections   Election 2010   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics   The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

ACORN news

There is some good news out there - other than the AGW climategate scandal finally ending the death grip the AGW cultists had on the issue, and finally allowing real science to take a look at this issue which will sooner than later kill the AGW cult - and that is that the donkey crime syndicate ACORN is going through tough times and giving up on its national structure. Now, I am not stupid enough to think this is end of these bastards, and would not be surprised that all this leads to is a rebirth under a different name with the exact same agenda and criminal behavior to push that agenda to follow, but in the short term it means a victory for the people that actually do have a problem with this kind of special interest group, masquerading as a community organization intended to help people, pushing a destructive agenda that favors the politicians that enact that agenda. If they are going to just lay low and come back again to do more of the same, there is an election this year after all, I recommend they use the name “Donkey Mafia”. Feel free to suggest your own names as well in the comments.

Posted by AlexinCT on 02/23/10 at 08:29 AM in Elections   Election 2010   Left Wing Idiocy   The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thirty Years Ago Today

The Impossible ... Happened:

Enjoy.  I was seven going on eight at the time.  I don’t remember seeing the game.  I do remember everyone talking about it and the excitement and patriotism that swept through the nation.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/22/10 at 04:02 PM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Yet another one bites the dust…

So now it looks like the drastically rising oceans, the apocalyptic end game the AGW church has warned us would happen if we refused to accept the collectivist government takeover of our freedoms and cash, was also, erm, exaggerated?

Scientists have been forced to withdraw a study on projected sea level rise due to global warming after finding mistakes that undermined the findings. The study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience, one of the top journals in its field, confirmed the conclusions of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It used data over the last 22,000 years to predict that sea level would rise by between 7cm and 82cm by the end of the century.

At the time, Mark Siddall, from the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Bristol, said the study ”strengthens the confidence with which one may interpret the IPCC results”. The IPCC said that sea level would probably rise by 18cm-59cm by 2100, though stressed this was based on incomplete information about ice sheet melting and that the true rise could be higher.

Many scientists criticised the IPCC approach as too conservative, and several papers since have suggested that sea level could rise more. Martin Vermeer of the Helsinki University of Technology, Finland and Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany published a study in Decemberthat projected a rise of 0.75m to 1.9m by 2100.

OK, so now we are told that they are unsure of the rise. That’s bull of course because what was likely found is that they have no science to prove this idiotic claim. So now even the threat of Waterworld is gone? No melting glaciers, no disappearing North Pole or ice in the Himalayas, no oceans rising… WTF? What’s left? What’s the impending catstrophe that should scare us all into letting them take away our freedoms and cash in return for, well nothing but an overarching government that has control of every aspects of our lives by limiting our access to energy and controlling our purchase power?

All the fear mongering we used to say was bunk and based on bunk science, is now proven as bunk. That’s why it was retracted. Asked to prove with science their claims, one by one, they are being retracted, or drastically revised, to a point that the end result is a statistical insignificance. And yet, the defenders of the AGW cult are still hard at work trying to make not only like they still have the science behind them, but that the onus is on the “deniers” to disprove the AGW claims, even though now it is a given that the underlying data, methodology, and the projected damage all are outright falsehoods or exaggerations. Even worse, people are starting to see that the real big money influences were not from the people that the AGW cultists demonized, but by the very priests of the AGW cult, which have all made millions, and stood to make billions more, scamming us all.

If the AGW watermelon cultists had any sense, they would drop this lost cause and go invent the next big lie they are going to glom on to try and convince us to let them create their global wealth redistributing collectivist government for the elites by. Of course they will not. They will continue to try and lie & bluff their way through this – after all, they have a complacent and willing media that has so far ignored the scandalous behavior by them – and in the process make sure we all know this is a fanatical cult based more on faith than any kind of science.

Posted by AlexinCT on 02/22/10 at 11:50 AM in Decline of Western Civilization   Politics   Law, & Economics   Religion and Sky Pixies   Science and Technology   The Press Machine   Tooting My Own Horn  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Managing Healthcare Competition

The Democrats continue to put the lie to the idea that what they really want for health insurance is enhanced competition.  Viz:

President Obama will propose on Monday giving the federal government new power to block excessive rate increases by health insurance companies, as he rolls out comprehensive legislation to revamp the nation’s health care system, White House officials said Sunday.

The president’s legislation aims to bridge differences between the bills adopted by the House and Senate late last year, and to frame his debate with Republicans over health policy at a televised meeting on Thursday.

By focusing on the effort to tighten regulation of insurance costs, a new element not included in either the House or Senate bills, Mr. Obama is seizing on outrage over recent premium increases of up to 39 percent announced by Anthem Blue Cross of California and moving to portray the Democrats’ health overhaul as a way to protect Americans from profiteering insurers.

...

The legislation would call on the secretary of health and human services to work with state regulators to develop an annual review of rate increases, and if increases are deemed “unjustified” the secretary or the state could block the increase, order the insurer to change it, or even issue a rebate to beneficiaries.

The new rate board would be composed of seven members, including consumer representatives, an insurance industry representative, a physician and other experts like health economists and actuaries, the White House said. The board’s annual report would offer guidance to the public and states on whether rate increases should be approved.

What’s driving this is the screaming anger over Wellpoint raising their rates by 39%.  But this the exact wrong way to approach legislation.  It should not be informed by individual horror stories and outrages.  Healthcare markets should not be tipped and twisted based on the behavior of a single company.  The reality of healthcare needs to be found in the data, not in whoever happens to grab a microphone and complain about their insurer.

And in the case of Wellpoint, there are specific reasons not to inform legislation from this:

He ought to subpoena California’s political class because Wellpoint’s rate hikes are the direct result of the Golden State’s insurance regulations—the kind that Democrats want to impose on all 50 states. Under federal Cobra rules, the unemployed are allowed to keep their job-related health benefits for 18 to 36 months. California then goes further and bars Anthem from dropping these customers even after they have exhausted Cobra. California also caps what Anthem can charge these post-Cobra customers.

Most other states direct these customers to high-risk pools that are partly subsidized, but California requires the individual market to absorb the customers and their costs. Even as California insurers have had to keep insuring these typically older and sicker patients, the recession has driven many younger, healthier policy holders to drop their insurance—leaving fewer customers to fund a more expensive insurance pool.

This explains why Anthem lost $58 million in California on its post-Cobra customers in 2009. If WellPoint didn’t raise premiums amid these losses, it would soon be under assault from its shareholders, if not out of business.

Read the whole thing.  The WSJ also points out that Wellpoint was the company that release a study last October indicating the Obamacare would massively raise insurance premiums.  So they were already in the gunsights of the Democrats.  The rate hike—a rate hike forced on them by California regulations—is being use as an excuse for political revenge.

This is a preview of what is to come under Obamacare.  Weekly shrieking about some vile insurer who hasn’t broken the law but is “greedy”.  Daily bleats about rising insurance rates.  Monthly assault on companies that are unpopular or have made bad political gambles.  No actual competition in the healthcare marketplace.  All leading, the Democrats hope, to a thunderous push toward socialized medicine.

There is no need for the GOP to cooperate with this piece of shit.  They don’t need to become an instruments of the Democrats’ perverse desire to micromanage the economy.

Update: A great quote from one of McArdle’s commenters on the popularity of some of the provisions of the healthcare bill vs. the unpopularity of the bill as a whole:

If someone offers me a deal where I get a house, a car, a nice vacation and a shopping spree but at the end of one year my eyes are pecked out by crows I am going to decline even though 4 of the 5 provisions are awesome.

That’s how I feel.  Sure, I’d love to get rid of pre-existing condition screenings and get subsidies for my health insurance.  But that doesn’t come without a whole bunch of taxes and regulations.  I wised up to the “put the yucky pill in ice cream” trick by the time I was three.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/22/10 at 11:36 AM in Health Care  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
Page 1 of 6 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »