The Left’s Obamacare Debacle Denialists

Obamacare launch in 3...2...1....d'oh.

Many of my liberal friends are apparently quite happy to live in an alternate reality.

In this reality, the Obamacare rollout is going just great; the issues are simple ‘glitches’ that can easily be remedied.  And of course, none of this will have repercussions to the larger program, nor will the public be turned off by the apparent hiccup.

Yeah, it must be nice living in that world…because the real world is not so great.

See this story from Oregon:

Is the Affordable Health Care Act making health care unaffordable for some people?

Some customers of Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of Oregon’s largest insurance providers, say that’s exactly what’s happening. They say they are finding their health care plans are dramatically changing under the Affordable Care Act.

“Policy holders are seeing almost double their monthly premiums,” said a KATU viewer named Larry in an email. He said his wife’s premium will increase by $300 under the Affordable Care Act.

Cover Oregon spokesman Michael Cox says most insurance plans that focus on lower premiums and higher deductibles will be replaced by plans with lower deductibles and higher benefits.

Or this story from Illinois:

The Tribune‘s Peter Frost found that a typical user in the system — a 33-year-old single father in this case — would see his premiums “more than double” from the current average of $233 a month. But if the single dad wants his premiums to remain in range, he’ll need to sign up for an annual deductible of $12,700. The average deductible before ObamaCare for this consumer would have been $3,500.

You will note I specifically chose states which are run by Democrats, where the states set up their own exchanges, and everything is going as Democrats planned.

If this is success, I would hate to see failure.  I would assume that ‘failure’ scenario has zombies and floods of lava involved.

Oh, but it gets worse.  In a post on the liberal blogging site the Daily Kos, a long time diarist posted his new reality…of much higher premium costs.

My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don’t go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.

Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife’s rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.

I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any $#%#^# penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

If you take a look, be sure to read the comments section.  It is riddled with hate filled rants about how this poster is idea a GOP plant, a troll, or a liar.  A few helpful commenters told others to hold back the attacks until they knew the facts…to no avail.

This is pretty common in the left-wing bubble these days.  Many liberals have convinced themselves that there is no possible way Obamacare could fail.  They simply have faith that Obama could not be that incompetent.

It is almost a religious level of fervor.

To be sure, there are a couple liberal commentators that are facing the hard truths of this big government failure. Robert Gibbs, former Communication director, had this to say:

“This was excruciatingly embarrassing for the White House and for the Department of Health and Human Services.”

“This was bungled badly. This was not a server problem, like too many people came to the website. This was a website architecture problem.”

“When they get this fixed, I hope they fire some people…”

A glowing endorsement, indeed.

Ezra Klein, Washington Post blogger and longtime Obamacare aficionado, was even more harsh; and even better, it is while he was on MSNBC:

“The way this I.P. is going is a disaster, I really don’t think people should soft pedal what a bad launch this is. They’ve done a terrible job on this website,” Klein said on Monday’s Morning Joe.“We’re a couple of weeks in and people can’t sign up, people have tried 20, 30, 40 times, I mean it’s one thing for that to be true the first three or four days, it’s another thing for it to be true two or three weeks in.”

Klein went on to say this in his blog:

So far, the Affordable Care Act’s launch has been a failure. Not “troubled.” Not “glitchy.” A failure. But “so far” only encompasses 14 days. The hard question is whether the launch will still be floundering on day 30, and on day 45.

Kudos to Klein and Gibbs for…facing glaringly obvious reality.

This is fundamentally the problem when you create a big government solution to a large-scale problem.  When you create such a program, facts be damned; success is about political victory, not necessarily making the lives of Americans better. And if facts get in the way of that, ignore the facts.  It is frightening how many otherwise rational liberals have totally deluded themselves into believe that Obamacare is a guaranteed success, when nothing can be farther from the truth.

Furthermore, there is no culpability in big government.  In most private ventures, a failure of a $600 million program to meet its most basic goals would result in a demand for and ultimately receipt of a resignation.  What are the chances of Obama demanding HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius to resign, and her submitting her resignation?  Slim to none.  Because in government, you can do no wrong.

Today, most Democrats are oblivious to the realities that Gibbs and Klein are stating.  They still believe Obamacare is the bait-and-switch sale job that Obama sold to them in 2010.  They are still under the illusion this is a plan that will cover everyone (it will not), will reduce the debt (the CBO and GAO say that those cuts are less and less likely), and that it will cut the average American family’s premiums by $2,500 (always a joke, now proven to be a joke).

But self-delusion is a powerful thing.  And although a majority of Americans now see Obamacare as damaging to their well-being, liberals appear to be willing to go down fighting, to defend a reality that simply doesn’t exist.

Healthcare.gov…Most Expensive Website Ever?

404-care-obamacare-glitch

I was rambling over on Twitter this morning, and stumbled upon a question that needs to be answered.

Is the debacle that is the website Healthcare.gov possibly the most expensive website creation of all time?

The question is a complicated one.

First, you have to eliminate all ‘intranet’ systems; in other words, platforms that were built only for internal use.  Systems such as those built at the NSA and CIA probably cost more, but we would never know because such information is top-secret.  Additionally, they have security requirements that nobody else would ever have.

Second, how much did Healthcare.gov actually cost to create?  Originally the website had $93 million budgeted.  That number has clearly ballooned, and the most common number used today is $634 million.  That number may be overstating the reality.  Based on this website accounting government spending, the actual number may be closer to $463 million that was actually spent after the ACA became law.  Still, that is an astronomical amount.

It is very difficult to compare this to the private sector, but let us try.  From Digital Trends:

Facebook, which received its first investment in June 2004, operated for a full six years before surpassing the $600 million mark in June 2010. Twitter, created in 2006, managed to get by with only $360.17 million in total funding until a $400 million boost in 2011. Instagram ginned up just $57.5 million in funding before Facebook bought it for (a staggering) $1 billion last year. And LinkedIn and Spotify, meanwhile, have only raised, respectively, $200 million and $288 million.

If you want to compare to other government health care sites around the world, the United Kingdom’s National Healthcare Service site cost around  £21m….still a fraction of the Obamacare site.

Of course, like most things in the Federal Government, we will never really know what it costs.  Once you build a black hole in government, it sucks up material and costs without any discretion.  But to claim that Healthcare.gov, a site that in some respects cannot even create user passwords and has barely been able to complete even a small percentage of its total tasks so far, is among the most expensive web portals in internet history is probably not unreasonable.

 

 

Obama’s Redemption?

130312_obama_senate_reu_605

Conservatives love to despise Barack Obama.  The first reason is because he was a neophyte with little experience that rose to the top leadership position in the world, mostly riding his media status.  Second, because he is arrogant and espouses his moral superiority, even when being a hypocrite about it.  Third, because his own analysis of his leadership skills is woefully incorrect.

On most of the grand issues of the day, Mr. Obama has taken the wrong path. He could have built a stimulus program in early 2009 that actually promoted job growth.  He could have pushed Democrats to build a health care plan that reduced and restrained costs instead of increasing them.  And then for the last two years, he could have pushed tax reform and entitlement changes instead of reverting to the classic tax and spend mantra that has haunted liberals for decades.

But he has always taken a pass.

Last week proves hope springs eternal.  Mr. Obama invited a group of Republican Senators to dinner to talk about how to move forward in his final four years as an American President.  And according to reports, Obama was more open and honest than he has been in the past.

Despite liberal whining about how much Barack Obama has had to endure from Republicans, the reality is he has never faced an opponent greater than himself.  Obama’s primary problem through out his Presidency is the inability to tell everyone, including his own party, to ‘Go to hell’, and simply lead on an issue.

Leadership, true leadership, begets public support.  See Rand Paul’s crusade on civil rights and drones last week, ironically occurring the same time as Obama’s dinner round table with the GOP.  This wasn’t an issue that the media, Republicans or Democrats for the most part cared about.  But the public did care.  There is a growing unease of the every expanding power of the President when it comes to such things as drones.  Paul simply was willing to take a stand, even if he knew there was no path to victory in his endeavor.

Obama has never done that.  Can you think of a stand Obama took that was not cautious, thought out, and strategically positioned in such a way that Obama could either back down or blame someone else for its failure?

During his dinner with the GOP, Obama seemed reluctant to lead on the issues, again.  From Peggy Noonan, from an unnamed Senator at the meeting:

Senator No. 1: When pressed on the question, the president seemed to step back. “His idea of a process is, ‘You guys figure it out and work with my staff, and if you need me call me.’ But in the end, unless the president really gets engaged and forces meeting after meeting, I don’t see how you get past the logjam.”

…or this…

Senator No. 2: “At the end I mentioned, ‘Share [with us] how you see this going forward.’ ” Here the president “got hazy. . . . I told him this will never work without adult supervision from the White House. I don’t think he comprehends that this is part of getting something done.”

Senator No. 2 said he planned to “press” the president in coming days “to lead, to exert authority.”

Obama, at this moment, has a chance to lead.  What does he honestly have to lose?  He was a solid victory for re-election, is the undisputed leader of his party, with Democrats (even if they disagree with him) willing to go to the mat for him.  He will never face election again, and the only thing remaining in his future his his legacy, which at the moment, is mixed.

But is the President willing to use that political capital?  The above quotes lead you to believe the answer is ‘No’.  A report from the Politico states more than half of the Democrats in Congress oppose any changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which is fiscally insane.  Another quote from Noonan’s article:

At certain points in the conversation the president, according to the senator, said that even if he wanted to agree with the Republicans on certain specific questions there would be a rebellion in his own party: “He said that a few times. But that’s an abdication. You have to lead! You have to educate as only a president can with a bully pulpit, you have to bring your party along.”

Tuesday was the first time that I can remember that President Obama speaking to his liberal caucus, and telling them hard truths. Obama met with Senate Democrats, and was up front for the need for entitlement reform.  He stated his need to exchange entitlement cuts for more taxes.  We can debate the numbers and the actual specifics, but for Obama to tell liberals they will have fundamental changes to entitlement programs is some what of a breakthrough.

A tremendous amount of opposition to this kind of plan exists among the liberal base, and I am not sure that the President realizes what kind of fight he is in with his own party if he is honest about achieving these goals.  And of course, from our side, we conservatives have a huge trust deficit with this President, after 5 years of having the football pulled out from under us, Charlie Brown-style.  Mr. Obama will have to be forthright and honest through out the process to build enough respect and faith to get such a big deal done.

I have long said this is not an intellectual barrier for the President, but a psychological one.  Barack Obama has long been a cautious person, unwilling to take public stands that reflect poorly on his character or his public persona. Maybe this is what comes from being America’s greatest African American politician; maybe it is a reflection of African American society today to avoid risk.  I don’t know.  But I know that reality exists for this man.

So ultimately, Mr. Obama could lead.  He could get a grand bargain of tax reform, entitlement recalculation, and budgetary changes that could put the country on a long term path of fiscal sanity and economic prosperity.  It would mean he would have to compromise with the GOP and push back against liberals in his own party.  Ironically, I seem to believe the latter is much harder for this President than the former.

This was cross posted at Neoavatara

They Hate Us. Now What?

What is it with GQ lately? First there was the Marco Rubio interview, and the ensuing kerfuffle. Here’s the relevant quote:

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is? 

Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Then came the inevitable media response:

How old is the Earth? Scientists say 4.5 billion years. But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) isn’t a scientist, so he’s not sure….

…he’s a politician, and a member of a party that long has pandered to biblical fundamentalists, including “young Earth creationists” who insist that the Earth is between 5,700 and 10,000 years old. Dissing Charles Darwin is second nature to Republican politicians who should (and maybe do) know better.

Yup, Rubio is either stupid or he’s a science hating Bible thumping fundamentalist. Or both. Whatever.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, GQ (there they go again) has recently placed Mitt Romney at the very top of their list of the Least Influential People of 2012. Talk about kicking a man while he’s down.

Tony Lee has an excellent post over at Breitbart detailing the Rubio kerfuffle and other recent media tactics aimed at discrediting Republicans (War on Women, etc).  Lee does a good job of detailing the problem, but stops just short of the most important question: So what?

It’s one thing to recognize media bias. Despite claims to the contrary, media bias is a fact. You can’t have a majority of TV executives and employees donating to Obama and the Democrats in 2008 and expect their bias not to creep into their reporting. But what do you do about it?

The first thing the GOP needs to realize about the mainstream media: THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS. I don’t care how nice they are to you at any given time. I don’t care how positively they seem to receive you and your message. I don’t care what they offer you. When it suits them, the media will turn on you. They will try to bury you. The sooner Republicans understand and accept this fact, the better.

Second, STAY ON MESSAGE. This is an area where Democrats excel. Don’t let the person interviewing you pull you down a rabbit hole. How old is the Earth? Do you want to ban contraceptives? How’s your family? Seen any good movies lately? Stay on target. If a particular question doesn’t pertain to the topic at hand, skip it. If it is otherwise irrelevant, call them out for asking something so blatantly ignorant.

Third, DO NOT FEAR THEM. A big part of the GOP’s media problem is the fear of any kind of backlash from a “wrong” answer. Republicans want the media to like them. I got news for you: It ain’t gonna happen. No matter what you do, no matter what you say, they will hate you. Be strong, be solid, be conservative. In short, be everything they don’t want you to be. That message will carry beyond anything the media can throw at you.

(Don’t believe me? Take a look at some recent moderate presidential candidates: George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain. Know what they have in common? They were all moderates, and they all lost. The media hated Ronald Reagan. He won in two landslides.)

David Wu
Remember me?

Finally, LEARN TO CIRCLE THE WAGONS, NOT THE FIRING SQUADS. For better or worse, Democrats are known for their willingness to defend their own as long as possible. David Wu and Anthony Weiner both eventually resigned in the wake of scandals. Key word: Eventually. They denied everything as long as they could, until their respective scandals grew too big to ignore. More importantly, the Democrat leadership covered for them as long as they could, too. While I am NOT advocating turning a blind eye to any and all wrongdoing, I do believe Republicans are a little too quick to eat their own.

The same concept can be applied to conservatives in the media; Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity, Breitbart, Malkin, etc. These people are very vocal. As a result, they are heavily attacked. All too often, the knee jerk response from Republicans is to distance themselves from these “extremists.” Knock it off. The Old Media hates your guts; you need friends wherever you can find them. The New Media is on your side, if you’ll allow them to be.

The time for being submissive and defensive is over. The GOP must learn how to deal with a media that wants to defeat them. The list above is just a start.