The Battlefield, September 2, 2016: It’s The End Of Obamacare As We Know It, And Obama Feels Fine

You’ve surely seen the headlines by now: Obamacare is collapsing.

When UnitedHealthcare announced in April that it was leaving most ObamaCare marketplaces in 2017, supporters of the law argued against drawing broad conclusions, calling it one company’s decision.

But since then two other large insurers, Humana and Aetna, have said they are slashing ObamaCare offerings due to heavy financial losses from the plans.

With the success of the healthcare law predicated on participation from private insurers, the growing exodus is stoking alarm among healthcare experts — and cries of “I told you so” from Republican critics who have long called the law unworkable.

“It’s looking like the big, national insurers are having trouble turning a profit and competing in the ACA marketplaces,” said Larry Levitt, an expert on the healthcare law at the Kaiser Family Foundation. He noted that some other insurers with more experience serving low-income enrollees are faring better.

Aetna late Monday said it plans to scale back its participation in ObamaCare. While the insurer is offering plans in 15 states this year, it will offer coverage in just four states in 2017.

“This is a business decision based on higher-than-projected medical costs that resulted in a second quarter pre-tax loss of $200 million, which we project will grow to in excess of $300 million by the end of 2016,” said Aetna spokesman TJ Crawford.

That was a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a USA Today article from yesterday about how people are noticing the dysfunction as it relates to higher rates and a lower amount of choice…

Many of next year’s premium rate increases on theAffordable Care Act exchanges threaten to surpass the high and wildly fluctuating rates that characterized the individual insurance market before the health law took effect, interviews with insurance regulators and records show.

With dramatic drops in insurance company participation on the exchanges for some states, decreased competition and other factors are leading to often jarring rate hikes. Some of the states that are facing what are likely among the biggest increases this year — Tennessee, Arizona and North Carolina — were among those the Urban Institutereported in May had the biggest increases last year.

“The reality is, it’s all very justified, unfortunately,” Iowa insurance commissioner Nick Gerhart said Thursday of the premium increases he approved this week of 19% to 43% for about 70,000 Iowans who buy their own policies.

Gerhart warned consumers in a rate hearing in July that if he rejected insurers’ proposed premium increases for 2017, the carriers would likely decline to sell policies in the state. No carriers made an explicit threat to leave Iowa, but the implication was clear, he says: “It gives you less room to maneuver.” Iowa law, he said, requires him to judge proposed premium increases on whether experts find them to be justified by carriers’ projected costs

As other state insurance commissioners gradually sign off on insurers’ rate requests — which should all be decided within a month — many consumers are learning what’s in store for 2017.

Issues with the exchanges consumed a “disproportionate amount of attention” at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ summer meeting, which ended Monday, said John Huff, the group’s president.

This all sounds terrible. What does the White House say about it?

Whoops, sorry. Wrong clip. Here it is…

John Hinderaker at Power Line nailed this seeming lack of concern perfectly a couple of weeks ago

This would obviously be a major national scandal and the absolute number one campaign issue in a presidential race that wasn’t dumbed down to the point of irrelevance. The Wall Street Journal has an editorial out today demanding that Republican candidates hang the failure of Obamacare around the necks of Democrats and lambaste them for lying the way Josh Earnest does in that clip.

Of course, the Washington Post goes through some rather impressive contortions to say that Earnest’s statement wasn’t a lie; it’s actually true if you restrict the group of people he’s talking about “most” of to the customers of those exchanges – and the reason he would be telling the truth about them is they’re the people who are getting subsidized health insurance through the exchanges…which are coming apart as money-losing insurance companies depart from them.

The media isn’t panicking the way you’d surely be expecting them to if this had been a Republican plan, and the Obama administration is breezily continuing its evasions and quarter-truths as America’s health care industry burns. Why?

Because Obamacare wasn’t designed to succeed. It was designed to fail. It was designed to collapse into a heap, so that from crisis the Democrats could impose single-payer socialized medicine on an American public which does not want it.

That isn’t our opinion. It’s what they’ve told us – or more accurately, it’s what they’ve told their people when they didn’t think the rest of the country was paying attention.

That’s why the single most urgent policy prescription you see from Democrats at the state level is Medicaid expansion, and it’s why the Obama administration always includes Medicaid registrants in its glowing estimates of how many people have health insurance thanks to Obamacare. Medicaid is the model for what they want everybody to get when the current Rube Goldberg monstrosity currently wheezing its way through failure finally drops dead.

Two weeks ago at Power Line, John Hinderaker nailed this perfectly

Notably missing from the current discussion of Obamacare is any sign of disappointment, let alone panic, from the Democrats. The ACA was supposed to be Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Doesn’t he care that the program that bears his name is falling apart? Seemingly not.

Likewise with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the other Democrats who pushed Obamacare through Congress without a single Republican vote. Pretty much everything they said about the ACA has been proved wrong. Do they mind? They don’t appear to.

Democrats don’t expect to be punished for inflicting an expensive, failed program on the American people. Instead, they believe they will be rewarded. As Obamacare continues its slow-motion collapse, they will shift to Plan B. “We tried the market-based approach,” they will say, “and it didn’t work. Now there is only one alternative left: single payer health coverage.” At that point, with the government already dominating health care through Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare, and with genuinely free and private health care a dwindling remnant of the industry, they think the road to socialized medicine, the holy grail of modern leftism, will be open.

Simplistic-Weapon-12-Battle-Axes-in-SaltireYesterday we brought you the story of Annaliese Nielsen, the idiot social justice warrior who filmed herself tongue-lashing a Lyft driver for the sin of having a hula dancer bobblehead on his dashboard. That was a happy story, since the backlash against her moronic antics had made life less pleasant for her.

Today we have an update that isn’t quite so happy. It seems video blogger Philip DeFranco, who cut a fairly solid clip weighing in on the subject, got some unwanted retaliation of his own…

This is troubling, to say the least. There are people out there like DeFranco who can make a pretty good living posting content to YouTube and monetizing it with ads YouTube attaches at the front of the clip – with revenue shared between the producer of the content and Google. But when YouTube starts discriminating against opinions and arguments it doesn’t like and imposing financial punishment on the purveyors of those opinions, that’s a chill wind starting to blow.

If the social-justice mob is free to practice cultural aggression using YouTube as a key tool but that tool is denied to the people who would answer it, either in total or by making sure none of the opponents are able to profit by their opinions, we no longer have a free exchange of ideas in this country. Instead we have a rigged game.

We need a major pushback against Google. We need some major pressure put on them right away so that the company’s PR gurus and other corporate suits wet their pants and reverse the decision to discriminate against legitimate political viewpoints. If not, we’ll need half the country to boycott Google and support some other video sharing service like Vimeo or perhaps something that hasn’t even come along yet.

Simplistic-Weapon-12-Battle-Axes-in-Saltire – Last week’s Battlefield had a lengthy discussion of the alt-right, and that movement’s role in the presidential campaign and American politics generally. If that topic interests you there’s a clip from Hugh Hewitt’s radio show earlier this week you ought to see…

Jonah Goldberg, the guest, is one of the most articulate and aggressive proponents of mainstream conservatism we have in this country, and for the last couple of years he’s been subjected to some of the most indefensible abuse imaginable by some of the lesser lights in the alt-right movement – on account of the fact he’s Jewish, and the fact he’s no fan of Donald Trump. So Goldberg’s take, that the GOP has to renounce in no uncertain terms the “core” of the alt-right, should be seen in that light.

Which is not to say Goldberg is wrong. He’s not. To the extent the alt-right’s core is, as Jonah says, unapologetically racist, yes – they’re poisonous and no mainstream political party can have them around. It’s just that when Goldberg has his e-mail and Twitter feed filled up with stupid internet memes of gas chambers and interracial sex acts and all the rest of the hypertrolling the alt-right’s goons have set off, you’d expect him to take an ever-firmer stand against these people.

The concern I have is that I don’t think the GOP can unload the entirety of the alt-right, and while Goldberg makes the case that convincing a lot of these people that they’re not “really” alt-right I’m not convinced that’s going to work either. That reminds me of the dumb idea Karen Hughes sold to the Bush administration after 9/11 that jihadist terrorists aren’t “really” Muslim, and that this should be America’s message to the Muslim world. Telling someone they don’t really believe what they think they believe, when one of the things they believe is that you yourself don’t believe in anything, isn’t a smart plan. That never works.

I give Goldberg a lot more credibility than I do Milo Yiannopoulous or Jared Taylor, two of the troglodytes most prominently pushing alt-rightism these days, but the problem is he’s seen as Beltway Establishment. I don’t know how he’s going to convince angry Trump fans who are furious about Black Lives Matter and the gay mafia and political correctness and all the other leftist cultural aggressions in the news that the folks most aggressive in combatting those aggressions are what the Left says they are. It isn’t going to work.

This is one reason I’m concerned that the GOP is finished. To build a big enough coalition in order to win national elections, the party is going to have to find a way to fit both at least a large chunk of the alt-right/white nationalist crowd and a larger share of black and Hispanic voters into its tent. How you do that when the Left is hard at work shattering much of anything resembling a common culture through which those groups can communicate is a pretty tough question.

And let’s face it – while the alt-right is a disaster, there are some very legitimate concerns which motivate people to join them. The awful story from Sunday of the bus crash along I-10 between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, from which the third person died last night, is a perfect example; the driver of that bus had been above the law for years thanks to the unwillingness of politicians and bureaucrats to deport him even though he was routinely beating his girlfriend and driving around – badly – without a license. When nobody on the Republican side even makes empty promises to do something about it, sooner or later you’re going to have law-abiding regular people opt out of mainstream politics and embrace the radicals out of desperation.

The only thing the GOP can do to escape this existential threat of its dissolution is to co-opt the alt-right’s more reasonable notions and deliver on them. Maybe then some of its adherents will step back from the fringe and engage in mainstream politics. But one wonders whether that can be done when so many Republican figures are so compromised by corporate interests and even foreign powers.

Simplistic-Weapon-12-Battle-Axes-in-Saltire – And on that note, here’s Today’s Last Thing. Have you noticed there’s football?

Well, there is. And what is a football made from?

A pig? What else is made from a pig?

This, of course.

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