Democrats & Liberals Archives

Sorry. Out of Panic Here. Afraid I'll Have To Grow a Spine.

I’m an IT Professional. As such, I keep a close eye on what a lot of tech corporations and institutions are doing. Let me tell you something about the tech world: things are always screwing up, always getting fixed, and always getting broken again. There are plenty of ill-fated, poorly programmed applications and websites in the private sector. So am I panicking? No. I’ll leave the panicking to the deadbeats, who think everything is just supposed to work by magic.

Adobe. Java. Google. Microsoft. Updates. Upgrades. KMS. Norton, McAffee, License codes.

I've installed programs, configured Wi-Fi, punched in IP numbers, on literally hundreds of computers. Everything has its little quirks, and the big rollouts which often involve hundreds of computers, often resemble battles more than they do some idealized drill. Every location has its quirks, its technical requirements.

Every computer? Well, every computer is just chocked full of complexity these days. Some systems require Java, and if you're behind on that, you'll get all kinds of warnings. Get behind on Adobe Flash, and you can end up breaking YouTube, which is one of the primary killer apps for most people.

The funniest little things can turn a computer into a virtual brick. There's this little service called spoolsv.exe. It helps your printer store up a potential hardcopy so your computer doesn't have to wait all that long to print you something. But if it gets junk in its folder, it'll take every processing cycle your processor can afford, and everything will move like pancake syrup.

I hate malware with a passion, but our users are typically adventurous. If you knew what I knew about the sheer variety, malignancy, and absolute tenaciousness of some of this crap, you'd probably put your computer in a vault like the one in the first Mission: Impossible movie. If you think the NSA is the only group of people after your information, then there's a bank account in Nigeria waiting for you.

There are all kinds of nice programs out there. Microsoft Security Essentials is one the company offers. But you'd better hope you don't have its real time scanning feature functioning while some other Anti-Malware program's going, because I promise you, if you want to be completely screwed on network performance, that will do the job.

Microsoft itself is not sending your computer all these nice little updates because things work fine and dandy all the time. They're doing it because their operating systems are so complex that it's not humanly possible to anticipate every error. So are the programs, the video games and the office products alike. You can't put together a program that spans hundreds of megabytes, if not gigabytes worth of data, and not end up with some major snags.

The video game I mention sometimes, CounterStrike? There are times after an update that it'll get glitchy as hell. Trust me, it's not very pleasing to be running along, lining up the shot, and either you, or your enemy ends up magically teleporting back a dozen yards. Or worse, the server crashes! Either way, that system has to process incredible amounts of data and render incredible amounts of visual and auditory information and so reliably. Which it doesn't always do. (That's not even dealing with gameplay elements like the computer player's AI, or the way the weapons behave and do damage in the game.)

I've been working with computers since I was just a child. My first computer was a Commodore 64. Then we got a hand-me-down 386 or 486 from my Grandfather. I actually had to enter the crucial information for the hard drive configuration into the BIOS to make that boot-up, and when it did, It booted up into MS-DOS. Windows? That was just an add-on! I had to manually start the mouse driver on that puppy. Happily, the computers got more sophisticated as we went along into the 90s.

Fact is, I got my first computer before my first car, by a factor of about ten years. I've had two since then, if you don't count my new iPad.

I rarely need somebody else to service my computer, but there will be times I'll break down and have that done. Why? It's fairly simple: computers are fairly complex, and some screw-ups are more unrecoverable than others. Under the hood, there's a hell of a lot going on.

The website in question is having to deal with operating systems from Windows XP on up to Windows 8.1. It's having to deal with people who have everything on their computer up to date, to folks who haven't updated their browser or their plug-ins since Bush was in office. It's having to securely and confidentially share data between sources as varied as the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Credit scoring companies, and hundreds of different insurance companies, operating in fifty different states, not all of which have been decent enough to set up their own operations.

Meanwhile, the deadbeats in Congress had their friends in the States throw a monkey wrench into the implementation, such that the Federal site, which was only supposed to handle so many people, now has to handle many more, all without a rise in budget to accommodate the inherent costs.

It's a wonder it worked at all at the opening. But would it have been better if it had been done through private enterprise? Good question.

Big-bet IT projects have a history of causing trauma in the private sector as well. A 2011 survey of business and IT executives found that 75 percent believed their projects were either usually or always "doomed from the start." Those expectations are firmly rooted in reality--research by Standish Group International found that in 2012, only 10 percent of projects with a value of over $10 million were successfully completed on time and within budget.

"Anyone who has written a line of code or built a system from the ground-up cannot be surprised or even mildly concerned that did not work out of the gate," Standish Group International Chairman Jim Johnson said in a recent podcast. "The real news would have been if it actually did work. The very fact that most of it did work at all is a success in itself."

Politics can be a great place for deadbeats to take up residence, if people aren't careful. Folks who are great at selling their politics as the absolute cure for everything. But politics isn't really a cure for much. It's transaction. if you look at what's going on at the moment in the GOP, you'll begin to see sign of the party and it's patrons balking at the situation that the Tea Party put them in.

It seemed like a great deal. Voters get the Republicans who actually try to do all that the GOP promised over the years, the Republicans who aren't that extreme get to take back the house based on only a few months of people screaming at the top of their lungs at Democrats, and the incipient resurgence of the Democrats is cut short.

Politics has a kind of inertia, though, and to break the Democrats momentum, the Republicans had to justify hitting the brakes hard, which means they had to paint Democrats as extremists, as they pushed candidates who would themselves be rather extreme took the lead with the Party.

The old GOP, the Wall Street wing, the corporate wing could not take the lead. As much as Republicans could help generate disappointment in the Democrats by drawing out the Healthcare debate and preventing further jobs bill (no more stimulus), corporatism was still electoral poison beyond the safe seats. Hence the Tea Party. Hence Freedomworks. Hence all that jazz about grass roots.

They ceded direct control of their own agenda to the Far Right of their party, because that was the only way to reinvigorate the party and quickly take back Congress.

They let the scared, the outraged, the formerly marginalized parts of their party, the most motivated set of voters and ideologues take control.

Of course, they didn't intend to hand the party over to them, they were supposed to be good little Republicans who would merge into the party. Instead, they've been busy these last few years trying to hijack the damn thing. Even the moderates who represent closely divided districts are forced to try and prove their Tea Party Credentials.

The public failure of the site is a gift to the Republicans, but it's a problematic gift. First, it's a gift that requires that stays broken. If they succeed in fixing it, the free ride is over, the deadbeats have to get out of the car. Second, though, you still have the trouble with the Tea Party, trouble that will require them to remain uncharacteristically quiet and cooperative in order not to step on the story.

There's a dilemma with that choice that you should notice: The Tea Party's not very keen on stepping gently on the brakes. They're the lead-foot wing of the party. February's coming, and they've got a CR they can block, and a debt ceiling increase to threaten.

The GOP can forgo threatening that, in which case Ted Cruz and his crews will go on the offensive against their own, and the Tea Party vs. Establishment fight gets worse. The GOP can also try this crap again, but that will hand things right back to the Democrats, who will emphasize the practical price that Americans are paying for Republican politics. That will strengthen the Establishment's desire to fight back against the Tea Party. Of course, if they do that, it only complicates the situation further, as the Tea Partiers are certain to react in defense.

Perhaps the problems with the Affordable Care act provide them with a temporary Band-aid for that gaping division, but one way or another, the situation in Washington is going to wear the Tea Party's momentum and strength down- the strength that the GOP is relying on to keep it's majority's head above water.

The Democrats, of course, have a problem with the ACA, and the typical hand-wringers are out in force. The difference is, Democrats can resolve much of their political problem by creating a fix. What's more, have you noticed where the conversation has gone?

The bills are no longer about defunding or rolling back Obamacare. They've instead gone down the more technocratic question of making the system work, or at least minimizing the bad results.

If things get worse, and the GOP tries to roll back more? Hmm. Go ahead, ask folks what rights they want to give up in the face of the insurance companies! Ask them whether they want their kids to lose coverage, either because of pre-existing conditions, or because they've aged out of their parent's policy. Ask them whether they would like their own pre-existing conditions to be grounds for somebody to refuse them coverage. Ask them whether they want lifetime limits back, those nice little caps in there!

You can argue the Affordable Care Act was flawed. You can get all up in arms about the fact that some people lost policies that were affordable to them, and bash the President about it. But if you're not a deadbeat looking to bring the spotlight of anger back on yourself, there's a minefield of policies that you may not have known about in the Affordable Care Act (because you stopped reading at "government takeover and Death Panels") that people will not be glad to see go.

Then there's the question, if you got all these restrictions on insurance companies sticking, how the economic work out, if you don't have the mandate, or exchanges full of lovely young souls contributing health (read: a lack of claims) and funds to the risk pool.

While some deadbeats within the punditry think that everything ends with undoing, the mandate, or repealing the whole thing, I submit that nothing stops there, nothing at all.

Instead, it becomes their turn to decide how to avoid the blame for spiraling healthcare costs and all that, their fault if things go wrong.

So, in the final analysis, in the long game, even if Democrats lose this round, even if the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare gets utterly destroyed, Obama still wins, because his victory in getting the ACA passed ensures that whatever happens next is somebody's responsibility. If it's somebody's responsibility, it will return as an issue, even if Republicans get their wish.

Or, put another way, they don't really get what they want. They've been so obsessed about destroying Obamacare, that they've failed to see that they can't destroy the debate. They can't destroy the responsibility.

The Affordable Care Act has all the problems that accompany a 1.0 Version. Whatever Republicans do next, whatever passes next will constitute a new iteration, but they'll be held responsible for that iteration if it's not done right.

I mean, why not? Republicans thought they could turn off the Political Press Frenzy after the 2000 election. All they got was the Press they wanted to get Clinton now focused on them. So, if they succeed in Killing Obamacare, their legislation becomes HealthCare Reform version 2.0.

Think about that. If you think Obama's getting flack for what he's done, what the hell do you expect to come your way if your theories don't work as planned? If undoing Obamacare, or fatally compromising it results in some other kind of debacle?

The 2012 elections, hell, the 2013 elections should tell Republicans something really simple. I know they love bringing up Alinsky's rules for radicals, but let me beat them to the punch here: 12."The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative."

Republicans don't just get to tear out the circuitry, and then smile, pontificating to people that the function they expect is no longer there. I don't understand how Republicans can push repeal, if they've at all been looking at the direct consequences of people losing policies they liked. If you see a whole bunch of people losing health insurance out there because of the Republican repeal, what best-case-scenario-type naïveté would lead you to believe that the Republicans would be spared the same hit?

You cannot turn the media scrutiny on and off. Having bought into the arguments that Obamacare should be judge by its performance, how do you expect a lack of it to be judged by people? Or how do you expect things to be judged if it comes back that the result of the quick fix to the people who lost their old policies is that insurance gets more expensive, and the markets become dysfunctional?

You are caught up, too, Republicans. You can no longer just say it's the market doing it's thing, because you did something that affected the behavior of that market. Because Obama won that critical first fight, Republicans must face the dysfunctional nature of the market if they ever let it come back to life. They have to face the consequences of kicking millions off of Medicaid. They have to face the consequences of letting the Insurance companies get back to their old tricks.

If Conservatives were smart, policy oriented, they would set out to design something that would work. They would modify what was in place so it would make more economic sense. Making it a political fight has blinded them to a basic fact: that when it comes to a computer program, it's not the people who originally made it who get the flack for how it's put together when it goes wrong, it's the people who currently run and program it.

Republicans will own healthcare reform if they win like they want to. God help them if they don't get it right, because they've set the standard for accountability, and it's a rather sadistic one.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at November 15, 2013 6:28 PM
Comment #374256

You know Daugherty, I doubt that this post will go the direction you are wanting it to. I read the first sentence and skip to the “Post a Comment”. Just a little advice; perhaps if you could just take a look at C&J’s posts and see how brief and to the point they are. By the time a person finishes reading your fictional book, they have forgotten what the title was.

I’m going to guess that your book blames the problems with obamacare on the failed web site, and once we are past this problem, HC in America will be a utopia. But, once again, at the risk of being called part of the “Republican hate machine”, I will say the web site is not the problem. The problem is the fraud and lies that came from Obama’s moving lips. Bill Clinton is not bailing on Obama because of the web site; he’s bailing because he knows ACA is going to implode and he’s trying to save Hillary’s fat ass. The 16 Democrat Senators who met with Obama at the WH last week are not bailing on Obama because of the web site, they are bailing because obamacare is imploding. I watched the House vote on Rep Upton’s fix Bill today, and although there was a lot of wailing and crying from the Democrats and attempts to pass alternate bills and amendments (by 100% of Dems), when it came down to the vote on Upton’s Bill, 39 Democrats voted for the Bill. They did not vote for the Bill because of the web site, they voted because obamacare is imploding.

Posted by: Political Hostage at November 15, 2013 5:02 PM
Comment #374257


*sigh* Ok, I’m going to have to one up you a bit here… I have been in IT for, well, going on 3 decades. I work for a VERY LARGE Fortune 500 firm and do IT consulting for other large and medium size firms, many of them Fortune 500 as well.

Yes, many projects do not come in on time or on budget, though nearly off the the projects I do do, because when you know what you are doing and you have as much experience as my coworkers and I have, it becomes old hat.

And there lies several problems with your opening telling people that this is no big deal.

First, the administration did NOT go out and find the best firm for implementing It used NO BID CONTRACTS (something the left *used* to decry when Bush was in office) in order to award the contract to a ‘friend’ of Obama’s. I think the result is clear that it wasn’t the best choice, but when things went tits up, that same company was awarded MORE contracts, not replaced as they should have been.

Second, there are overages and problems and then there are OVERAGES and PROBLEMS. The failures of the website were not the typical problems that you might see in an implementation like this. The fact that parts of the administration knew in August that the site didn’t work, that no testing had been done (as required by law) and that the president had only seen powerpoint slides of how it was supposed to work presented to him as a working web site is not just normal IT operation, it is gross negligence and could possibly be criminal since we are dealing with sensitive public data and the Privacy act of 1977.

Third, the original budget for implementing the website was WAY OVER what it should have been to begin with. Yes, many budgets are inflated by a percentage, 10 or 20 percent, to deal with possible overage costs. But the budget for the website was easily 1000% too much for what it was supposed to do. Data Warehousing is not a ‘new IT notion’, it has been around for over a decade. The technology that already exists to do what they needed done is not something that had to be invented from scratch. I’m sorry, but if you know anything about IT, you know that the original budget was way out of whack and was only possible for ‘government work’, so either you haven’t been on the side of the equation that comes up with these budgets and tracks them or you are trying to pull a fast one on all of the readers of your article.

Fourth, those projects that are going over budget or not working are almost NEVER foisted upon the users without a delay and time to fix. Testing is done to determine if the technology works before inconveniencing users and if it is found to not be working, the project is DELAYED while those are fixed. That is all that the administration had to do, say that the website functionality wasn’t working as intended, they would take phone and in person applications and the website would come online when it was ready and passed testing and not a minute before. That is what a good manager would have done.

Fifth, to prove all the above points, 3 IT individuals in San Francisco who wanted the ACA to succeed put together, in DAYS, a site called The Health Sherpa. It does what the website was supposed to do. It took a few days to write. And there are websites that are up and running for far less time and money that took that handle far more traffic than it was ever expected to handle. Again, this is NOT NEW TECHNOLOGY. Stuff like this is done in IT all of the time, at a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the time as we saw with

The failure of the website is just one failure we are seeing now Stephen, but it isn’t just about the technology of the website failing, it is how badly this administration MANAGED the building of the website, gross incompetence on every single level. Obama wasn’t the one writing the code, but he was the one who was managing the project and it was his mismanagement (either from ignoring warnings that he did get or listening to the wrong people or having the wrong people in place) that is showing through in this failure.

That’s part of the problem you are having here, most younger people know that it doesn’t take 3 years and nearly a trillion dollars to do what was supposed to do, and the fact that it failed every single test they through at it and still allowed it to be unleashed makes people squirm, not because they don’t think that it will eventually get fixed and work, but because the administration didn’t think enough of the users of the system, the American People, that it didn’t take the small political hit to delay the implementation of the website and instead are now subjecting themselves to a much bigger one that they had to know was going to happen in order to frustrate and anger so many people.

There is a reason why people are tired of companies like Microsoft and Google who routinely use their users are ‘beta testers’ for their products that they pay for. That you don’t think that that same resentment isn’t going to pass on to this administration is very pollyana of you.

Furthermore, as a tax payer, I am essentially ‘a stockholder’ in the company that spent so much money and took so much time to implement a product that failed so miserably. If it had been a company, the stock would have tanked and the business would be nearly out of business by now. It wouldn’t be able to recover. It would have defenders like yourself trying to ease fears and anger and resentment (fan boys) but they would be largely ignored because we don’t truck with incompetence on that scale. Only because of political ideology has this not become as big of a sell off as it would have been had politics not been in play, Stephen. But even political icons only get a few screwups, and adding this to the long list of recent screwups by this administration means that few, if any, are going to be tolerated.

This was not just IT business as usual, Stephen. I don’t care how much you want to spin that garbage, it doesn’t fly with other people who know better.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 15, 2013 5:03 PM
Comment #374260

FYI, two minor typos, I can’t correct since it is not my article:

* ” though nearly off the the projects I do do ” should be ” though nearly all of the projects I do do “

* Privacy Act of 1977 should be 1974.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 15, 2013 5:29 PM
Comment #374261

I will add one more thought; it is my understanding that the Obama people were in a constant state of change when the site was being put together. Example; the site was built as any other site (Amazon, Best Buy, etc), but the administration did not want the applicants to be able to access the costs, prior to entering all their info. In other words…a trap. How could the builders build a site that was constantly changing. What I believe happened was the socialists in the Obama administration were saying “what about this” or “what about this” and “how about this”; a constant change of ideas were coming from all directions to make change that would give Obama the political edge.

Posted by: Political Hostage at November 15, 2013 5:32 PM
Comment #374262

BTW, using the Health Sherpa site, I found out something interesting…

Apparently anyone over the age of 30 is not LEGALLY ALLOWED to sign up for a catastrophic healthcare plan. I’m 47 and until last year had never had a surgery or any other major health problem (I take care of myself). But because of my age I’m not allowed by law to use an FSA/Catastrohpic plan.

More Awesomesauce, Big Brother has spoken.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 15, 2013 5:33 PM
Comment #374263

Once again Daugherty has bent himself into a pretzel trying to fix blame on anyone besides the dems and obama.

Frankly, I don’t give a shit about how complex computer programing is. Every single website I visit and every single purchase I make on the web goes without a hitch 99.9% of the time.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 15, 2013 5:40 PM
Comment #374265

“12.”The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”

Hitler showed this statement to not have any merit.

My high school football team shows that statement to have no merit. They have not had a losing season for over 25 years.

The title of your short essay should have been “Every reason I can think of to hate the Tea Party.

Good night. Going to watch my high schoold football team in there quest to show an example of tea party principles.
They are in the regional playoffs toward a possible state championship.

Posted by: tom humes at November 15, 2013 5:53 PM
Comment #374266

Stephen, when did you get a job in IT? Last I remember you were still looking, man time flys by fast.
A very sincere congratulations my friend. A belated welcome to the IT field.

Posted by: kctim at November 15, 2013 5:59 PM
Comment #374268

I wrote a program and copyrighted it, called RBBTIC, back in the days of BBS’s. It was a hit, which meant nearly continuous machine specific bugs to resolve, and different software bugs to resolve, not to mention upgrades in the program’s facility by popular demand. Which in turn, meant more unknowable bugs to resolve. Thank Buddha the internet came along and made RBBTIC obsolete.

My family is benefitting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act already, and we have Humana through the wife’s employer. Our 23 year old daughter is on the policy and our premiums DID NOT go up this renewal year in October, as it had for nearly every year for the last 18 years. Competition works. Obamacare creates competition. And yes, we can keep the Human coverage we had last year. No problema.

Every law ever passed negatively effected someone. The test of a good law is not perfection, it is whether the law does far more good than harm to far more than it harms. That has always been one of the tests a good law must pass. ObamaCare will pass that test, if Republicans and Liberarians fail to find a way to torpedo it, which would harm far more than it helps.

We are not even in the ObamaCare program and we are benefitting from it, as are 10’s of millions of others in this country, whether they are aware of it, or not. Our Humana had a cap, that will disappear next year in our Humana policy. Good thing. Our daughter will remain on our policy for another 3 years. Good thing. I have preexisting conditions which won’t get in my way should we ever have to change insurance companies. That is a GREAT THING. And we are not even in the ObamaCare program. Needless to say, we will defend this law, against those would take these benefits away from us.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 15, 2013 6:24 PM
Comment #374269

Political Hostage-
So, you tell me that you haven’t even read the article?

Thanks. I won’t even respond to whatever you offer forth, because quite frankly, how could it possibly relate to what I actually wrote?

I think politics in general can be a kind of mental illness if we let it, our individual talents at problem-solving drowning in a maelstrom of assumptions.

I am disappointed in what happened, and wished that the Administration had tackled it better.

Let’s step back, though: what were we in the middle of when this all started? What was our attention on? It’s not that I’m blaming the Republicans 100% for what happened. But what other important matters did we neglect for the sake of satisfying the blindly stirred up passions during the confrontation there?

And really, if one side is stirring up those passions, how can the other side avoid it?

It’s not like we don’t have our beliefs or our sensibilities. My scientific and technical perspective shapes a lot of what I reject coming from other others, as well as what I promote.

But what occurs to me here is that whatever we believe, whatever we support, we have to live with the consequences of our policies. It’s not good enough if it’s perfect for us, or even for most people. It’s got to work!

I don’t think the Republicans really appreciate that these days. I think they take an approach that they’re in some kind of immense battle for principle, even as they screw up the little things, the basic housekeeping most Congresses dealt with without much comment.

Ideas are wonderful Philosophy is wonderful. But we’re dealing with more than some abstract, college bull-session sort of things. We’re dealing with matters of practical consequence that will defy our expectations, especially as things get more complex.

If the Republicans succeed at what they’re currently aimed for, it’s a political victory. But any other kind? I remember Republicans walking all over us to get their way on the war, on how Medicare was put together, on these bloody tax cuts, and even on scuttling the initial attempt at saving the banks.

But to what end? Even as they succeeded in pushing the Surge and succeeded at getting their Drug Benefit through, and succeeded at getting all the tax cuts, they dug themselves deeper on every front.

Wish fulfillment is not a sustainable program for political success. It’s not even a good point for all that trouble. Governments arise because we have real needs for law and order. The world’s gotten more complicated, more interconnected.

I would love for your perspective to win out in reality. I’m a bit messy, a bit in-the-moment in my perspective. I like easy things. I much prefer easy-going situations.

But if it comes to a point where it’s undeniable that letting things lie as they are doesn’t work, I don’t mess around.

My philosophy is about containing enough of the disorder in the world that we can be free in most of our lives to enjoy it. I see the government as a force to balance against other forces in society, more than I see it as some kind of ultimate control.

So when I look at the healthcare system, what I see is a major drag on the happiness of most people, on their security, on their ability to enjoy life. The cost doesn’t help. It’s not dependent on supply and demand, but rather on the fact that folks have you over the barrel when you’re ill. Costs have gone way out of control, and the results haven’t kept up.

It’s not working.

We did something about it. Did it work completely? No. The problem needs to be handled, though. If folks like you want a better approach, my suggestion is that you study the problem from a complexity sciences/economics point of view, and figure out a light touch sort of policy that a great many people can get on board with. If you don’t have a solution, you’ll have a problem convincing people who have some idea of what to do to forgo their ideas. What works will attract support to your approach.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 15, 2013 6:36 PM
Comment #374270

David, I remember the RBBTIC program, wasn’t it called Pac Man?

I love how all the liberals on WB are doing so great with Obamacare. phx8 was able to get Ins in Oregon, even though it’s not obamacare and now Remer is on Humana, even though it’s not obamacare. The little fat guy (Buddah) has been berry berry good to these folks. But it appears they are doing nothing to contribute to those who have no insurance.

By the time my kids were in their 20’s; they moved out on their own. Of course I taught them to be self sufficient and personally responsible.

Posted by: DSP2195 at November 15, 2013 6:44 PM
Comment #374273

Give me nearly unlimited government resources and three years and I guarantee I will come up with a website that will work efficiently right from the start.

Private business does not have the luxury to hire on the basis of politics, but rather on the proof of competence.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 15, 2013 7:01 PM
Comment #374274

Your argument’s so weak that in real terms somebody could just post a single anecdote, and it would be destroyed.

Pooled risk is an inherently dependent way of financing healthcare, but since even a minor stay in the hospital can cost as much as a compact car, folks have little recourse but to avail themselves of it. What happens when somebody accepts, accepts, and accepts your money year after year, yet suddenly, when you need it, BAM! Policy goes bye-bye!

What happens then? The reality is, by pulling stuff like that on people, by abusing their position, insurance companies were practically daring society to put constraints on them.

The question will become, what will it take to satisfy people? Will what Conservatives like yourselves want to do leave a situation where people will be content to just leave things as they are?

That to me is the social dynamic question that Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians fail to answer. They rail about people wanting freebies, about government control and this and that, but what they’re not doing is the groundwork for a successful private or laissez faire government approach that would create the results desired.

I would think the best way to prevent the growth of government is to do one’s best to cut off problems before they become big enough for masses of people to want them dealt with. You can argue that problems are solvable by private means, but until you demonstrate that reliably, people are going to want stronger medicine than that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 15, 2013 7:01 PM
Comment #374275

Why would my insurance not be “Obamacare”?

Posted by: phx8 at November 15, 2013 7:02 PM
Comment #374276

My comment:

David, I remember the RBBTIC program, wasn’t it called Pac Man?

I love how all the liberals on WB are doing so great with Obamacare. phx8 was able to get Ins in Oregon, even though it’s not obamacare and now Remer is on Humana, even though it’s not obamacare. The little fat guy (Buddah) has been berry berry good to these folks. But it appears they are doing nothing to contribute to those who have no insurance.

By the time my kids were in their 20’s; they moved out on their own. Of course I taught them to be self sufficient and personally responsible.
Posted by: DSP2195 at November 15, 2013 6:44 PM

Daugherty’s response:

Your argument’s so weak that in real terms somebody could just post a single anecdote, and it would be destroyed.”

I made comments, not arguments. Daugherty, you are looking for something that is not there. Please explain.

phx8, maybe I was mistaken, but didn’t you say you were not able to access obamacare on the web? Didn’t you say you did not qualify for subsidy? And didn’t you say you got insurance through a private company? Perhaps I misunderstood you.

Posted by: DSP2195 at November 15, 2013 7:20 PM
Comment #374277

I frequently read comments by my liberal friends that government largess is justified because we are the “richest country in the world.”

Does than mean that we have the “richest government in the world” or does it mean that the combined private wealth of Americans is greater than that of any other nation?

Our government is not rich, not even solvent…with over $17 Trillion in debt and nearly $100 Trillion in unfunded liabilities.

The next time you hear or read a liberal talk about “our” great wealth…remember they are talking about what you and I privately own…not government.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 15, 2013 7:44 PM
Comment #374278

I can access the information on the web about the various plans, but I can not sign up on the web. However, since I do not qualify for a subsidy, there is no reason to sign up on the web in the first place. The health insurers listed are private health insurers. All Obamacare does is make the health insurers comply with basic requirements. So I considered the list of private insurers, and then I just shopped and picked out the one that fit my needs, and called them directly.

This is really not a big deal.

The bottom line is I signed up for decent health insurance at a reasonable price.

To tell the truth, having done it, I am already getting kind of bored with the topic. Despite all the noise and wailing and gnashing of teeth, I have come to the realization that it is something most people will soon take for granted. No one is going to win or lose elections based on health care reform because, most of the time, no one cares about insurance or insurers, one way or another.

Posted by: phx8 at November 15, 2013 7:57 PM
Comment #374279


You make a couple of fatal flaw in your argument that you just aren’t seeing.

First, Libertarians have had an alternate plan for reforming healthcare in the US for decades. Just because the left and right won’t talk about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. So trying to dismiss our legitimate criticisms of this healthcare plan by trying to suggest we don’t have one is fallacious.

Second, in trying to solve the health care problems of today, you are missing the important step of determining how those problems got there in the first place. The fact is that for a hundred years the federal government has been trying to manipulate the healthcare industry to act as it thinks it should and creating the very problems we are trying to address today. Your answer is to go down the same road that has failed us time and time again.

Here’s a brief history:

1932 Blue Cross was established. The AHA lobbied the federal government to give Blue Cross companies tax incentives, allowing them to give insurance cheaper than their competitors and driving out competition from the burgeoning market.

1942 Wage and price controls caused companies to seek ways to attract qualified employees, they started offering health insurance as a ‘perk’ since they couldn’t offer them money that they would then be able to purchase their own insurance plans with.

1945 The McCarran–Ferguson Act was passed and exempts the business of insurance from most federal regulation, including federal antitrust laws. Insurance from one state was not allowed to be sold in another.

1948 NLRB determined that health benefits should be included in collective bargaining, cementing the idea that employers provide individuals their health insurance instead of earning more in wages and giving them the option to shop individually. Further tax benefits are given to employers for this, making it cheaper to provide the insurance than pay the same in wages.

1965 Medicaid is introduced, making the government the largest single purchaser of healthcare. Cost rise for decades faster than inflation due to this.

1973 HMO Act is established, requiring that anyone providing health insurance has to also provide an HMO plan. Puts a death nail in the individual insurance market once and for all.

1983 SS Legislation establishes prospective payment programs, shifting costs. As a result, health care costs rise even faster than inflation than before.

1992 Resource Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS) enacted. Alters the payments made to doctors based on specialty and helps push more medical students into becoming family practitioners and less to become more specialized, like surgeons, raising the costs (supply and demand) for specialized healthcare.

This is just a short list and timeline, the federal government has been mucking around with health insurance for so long that most don’t even realize that we got here BECAUSE of the government intervention, not due to a lack of it. Now the answer is more government intervention, and when that doesn’t work, just tweak it some MORE.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 15, 2013 8:12 PM
Comment #374280

More info:

As recently as the 1960s, low-cost health insurance was available to virtually everyone in America - including people with existing medical problems. Doctors made house calls. A hospital stay cost only a few days’ pay. Charity hospitals were available to take care of families who could not afford to pay for healthcare.

Since then the federal government has increasingly intervened through Medicare, Medicaid, the HMO Act and tens of thousands of regulations on doctors, hospitals and health-insurance companies.

Today, more than 50 percent of all healthcare dollars are spent by the government.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 15, 2013 8:15 PM
Comment #374281

phx8, I find it highly ironic that we needed to push this plan through because ‘the people’ were needing something done with rising health insurance costs and all of the problems associated with health insurance, but now that it’s passed you are telling us that no one is going to win or lose an election because of health care because no one really cares that much?

I’m sure the congressmen that lost their seats in 2010 are comforted to know it wasn’t a big deal to anyone.

BTW, there are still some people in the US that care about individual civil rights, whether from government intrusion into our health care, our emails, our phone calls, our travels, etc… I know that it is growing relatively smaller with the totalitarian left raising the temperature of the pot of water we are in every year, but they are still there and surprise, more and more young people are putting their toes into that boiling hot water and getting a shock…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 15, 2013 8:18 PM
Comment #374282

Phx8, BTW, you could have done all of that at A website put up in the past couple of weeks that allows people to shop for healthcare and actually purchase insurance online in any state, it was done at no cost to the users, put together by three guys in a couple of days and didn’t take 3 years and a trillion dollars to get up and running.


Posted by: Rhinehold at November 15, 2013 8:22 PM
Comment #374289

SD’s post: Minor premise No. 1 = IT is complicated… Major premise No. 1 = The GOP is to blame….


Posted by: Kevin L Lagola at November 16, 2013 11:37 AM
Comment #374290

I must say congratulations to Kevin or anyone else who could read through his post without going comatose.

Posted by: Political Hostage at November 16, 2013 12:15 PM
Comment #374291

When the left on WB goes ballistic and spews their hatred conservatives; we must remember who their mentors are:

Martin Bashir, employee at MSNBC, represents the left, and is the reason why MSNBC is going down the tubes. It’s almost as if the cable channel is trying to commit suicide. What’s interesting is the left’s calls that Rush Limbaugh is a hate monger, but Rush has 20 million followers; how many does Bashir have????

Bashir….hmmm….sounds Muslim to me.

Posted by: Political Hostage at November 16, 2013 12:46 PM
Comment #374292

phx8 writes; “I just shopped and picked out the one that fit my needs, and called them directly.

This is really not a big deal.

The bottom line is I signed up for decent health insurance at a reasonable price.”

Good for you, but not so good for others. It really is a “big fuc*ing deal” for those whose health insurance has been cancelled and those whose premiums will double and whose copays and deductibles will hugely increase.

It is typical liberalspeak to condemn others who are not satisfied if they themselves are satisfied.

If one is on the receiving end of government…all is well. If one is on the paying end of government…please just shut the hell up.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 16, 2013 2:09 PM
Comment #374293

Another mentor of the left and a representative of the Democratic Party is Alec Baldwin. Whose failing program on…you guessed it…MSNBC, has been cancelled temporarily because of Baldwin’s racists comments and vulgar attacks on a newswoman. This is what happens when a liberal has a bad day. We can expect much more of this to take place…the left are destined to have many bad days, LOL

I checked the archives at the time of the shutdown; when the left was telling us about the demise of the Republican Party, and here is some of the comments I found:

The Republicans, if they’re smart, will quickly settle this, because the longer this goes on, the more apparent it will become the reasons WHY the shutdown is happening, and WHO is to blame.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 1, 2013 8:29 AM

What was the reason for the shutdown??? Can anyone say “DELAY OBAMACARE”??? Oh yes, NOW THE DEMOCRATS ARE CALLING FOR DELAY…including OBAMA.

How about this one from Warren Porter:

And a successful ACA would spell doom for the entire conservative movement; in the words of David Frum, it would be their Waterloo. I am looking forward to the next few months. Obama has enough cajones to wear his opponents thin. Later in October, Boehner will put country above party and violate the Hastert Rule, thereby allowing America to finally be able to get back on the right track.

Posted by: Warren Porter at October 1, 2013 12:05 PM

Funny how much things change in a few weeks. We are now looking at the AC becoming Obama’s and the Democrats Waterloo. The right track of the country is relative…

How about this one from Daugherty to kctim:

Obama and the other Democrats were re-elected, and their numbers increase in both Chambers of Congress, supporting Obamacare. You might be able to cite a poll saying that in general the American people feel this way, but even so, Obama won re-election in spite of the troubles of the ACA, and most importantly, many of the Democrats, in their districts, aren’t running for re-election in districts that would look kindly on their caving in on the issue.

You’ve got your people to please, we’ve got ours

Funny, how Stephen thinks the Democrats have to please their people. Is this why the Democrats are jumping ship on Obama…like a bunch of rats.

I absolutely love this comment of Daugherty’s. This was when the Democrats supported Obama…before they didn’t support Obama:

It might do folks like yourself some good to regroup and figure out how to do things the right way, the sustainable way. The question will be how much pain and suffering you go through before you realize that the people you’re so pleased with are essentially poisoning the public image of conservatism even worse than the incompetent jackasses that came before them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 1, 2013 3:18 PM

Whose regrouping now???

You wanted a shutdown. You cheered your people when they promised one. You call it the right thing, but not everybody agrees, and you knew what would happen when you stuck the defund/delay Obamacare language in there. You’re not being clever, you’re just insulting our intelligence!

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 2, 2013 1:23 PM

Stephen, don’t you just hate it when everything you say and predicted turns to shit? Daugherty, in his vast wisdom, accused us of insulting his intelligence at the very prospect of delaying obamacare; but now he socialist demowits are calling for a delay, LOL

I could go on for hours…I just suggest people go back and read the nonsense that Daugherty and the rest of the socialist called wisdom. Oh…they are just so intelligent and the rest of us are just morons…

Posted by: Political Hostage at November 16, 2013 5:15 PM
Comment #374294

Back in 2010 Obama and company knew that people were going to receive cancellation notices but continued the LIE that if you like your plan you can keep it, period. Now Obama comes out with telling the insurers to reinstate cancelled plans and Democrats calling for a delay something the Republicans wanted before the shutdown. You would think people like Stephen would admit that his party screwed up big time but NO he goes and spins it to be republicans fault.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at November 16, 2013 5:51 PM
Comment #374295

I expect nothing less from Daugherty than spin and retreat. He is the hero in his fictional novel but reality and political prognostication are not his forte.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 16, 2013 5:59 PM
Comment #374296

The entire Democratic Party is in complete panic and chaos, yet Daugherty still believes his own bilge.

It’s a shame the Democrats that are up for re-election next year don’t share Daugherty’s beliefs.

Posted by: Political Hostage at November 16, 2013 7:33 PM
Comment #374298

It’s Saturday evening and all is silent on watchblog. I can imagine the depressed liberals like SD, AD, px, j2 and others sitting in front of their computer screens and thinking to themselves, “Oh Shit”. What are they to do? As Krauthammer said, the demise of the Obama presidency, the demise of obamacare, and the demise of liberalism. These are the cold facts facing the left. The spin is not working. You know the pressure is getting to them. Alec Baldwin is cracking, the kooks on MSNBC are cracking. There’s only one thing left to do. Prozac licking blocks in the front yards of all liberals.

Posted by: Frank at November 16, 2013 8:45 PM
Comment #374299

Baldwin is a funny man and I enjoy his movies and TV shows. However, as a person he’s not the sharpest tool in the box.

The same time that Paula Deen was almost destroyed because of her brother’s racism, Baldwin called a reporter a ‘fucking fag’. Instead of catching heat from it, he was rewarded by the left with a TV talk show. Daugherty keeps trying to sell the fantasy that the left moderates their own, this was good evidence to the contrary.

The latest Baldwin tweets show his gross ignorance. He stated “When did all this Breitbart libertarian trash become the defenders of gay rights?”

First, I can’t speak for Breitbart but he was a defender of gay rights for years, calling for same sex marriage rights before the left switched and started supporting it. But worse than that, what I can speak to is that libertarians have been calling for gay rights, including gay marriages, since the 1960s before the LP was even formed.

I can’t speak for the Breitbart crowd (though Andrew Breitbart was certainly a staunch supporter of gay equality) but the “libertarian trash” at Reason has been defending gay rights since the magazine’s [Reason] earliest days in the late 1960s. In fact, when mainstream liberal and conservative publications were still arguing over whether homosexuality should be decriminalized, we were already talking about marriage equality. If the state is going to involve itself in marriage (and it shouldn’t) among consenting adults, it should not draw invidious distinctions and treat some people as second-class citizens.

Not that Baldwin will learn anything from the responses he got correcting him, he immediately launched into Oswald/JFK conspiracies that have been debunked.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 16, 2013 11:21 PM
Comment #374300

Political Hostage-
He didn’t even say it on air, as I understand it, but he’s going to suffer for it anyways. He’s posted something saying he thinks he’s going to lose his show.

Bashir’s probably going to have a problem, too.

I think at this point, I should say that your argument is constructed in a very hypocritical way. You would not punish people for much of anything, besides saying liberal things.

But we can and do punish our people for their lack of decorum, the prejudice in what they say. We don’t use the claimed existence of conservative media bias to excuse anything and everything our people get in trouble for.

You gloat about how things were so much better for us the weeks before, but let me tell you something: You’re having to fight back from that deficit, and the only good thing you have right now is that we screwed up to a certain extent.

Put another way, being dependent on the errors of your enemies is nothing to be proud of. It’s not a success. We can redeem this. We can do better. You can’t magically create successes for your own people out of thin air. Without a Democratic failure, you have no conservative success.

Republicans have already given me all I need to in order to go back on the offensive. From the 4.8 Million Americans they deliberately denied healthcare, to the 2.1 million Americans they denied jobs, to the hundreds of billions of dollars of economic activity that are not occurring because Republicans decided they needed to extort budget cuts from the Democrats, Republicans have not laid the best foundation for success. Don’t confuse even a major setback for us for a guaranteed success for yourselves. You haven’t earned your way back to political advantage, you’ve lucked into it.

Your luck has turned before, it can turn again, and you don’t have much to keep that from happening. You have few legislative successes, and a lot of wreckage strewn about because of your failures. We, at least, have something to show for our work, something positive, even if it doesn’t always generate the best headlines.

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Comment #375102

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