"Substandard" & debacles of ObamaCare proportions

A subtle but effective means of propaganda is just using adjectives. I notice that Obama allies in the media are consistently calling “substandard” policies cancelled because of ObamaCare. They are substandard only because Obama wrote the standards. I prefer Coke Zero to Pepsi. If we call Pepsi the standard, Coke Zero is substandard, since it lacks some Pepsi attributes.

This is part of a larger persuasion technique of being the one to set the standard. The Mona Lisa is considered the standard for art. Why? It was not always. But it became very famous when it was stolen in 1911. It really became the standard because of publicity. I am not saying it is not a masterpiece, because it is. But there are other masterpieces that could have been the standard. And the work of other great artists really is not substandard if it is not like the Mona Lisa.

ObamaCare demands the inclusion of features that some people don't want and do not want to pay for. It does not make them substandard except in the context of the standard set by ObamaCare. If you have a policy you like that doesn't include everything ObamaCare does, but lets you keep your current doctor, isn't ObamaCare substandard if it does not?

Speaking of naming and adjectives, I think a new term may come into the language. We may soon speak of major mistakes as "debacles of ObamaCare proportions," just as sluggish economies may come to be called "Obama doldrums."

Posted by Christine & John at November 18, 2013 8:15 AM
Comment #374305

CJ, the new standard is one of all Americans having access to health care without fear of being dropped from coverage, fear of bankrupting if costs exceed caps, fear of being unable to get new insurance with a pre-existing condition after being dropped by the old company. Pretty damned good new standard, if you ask me. Will give peace of mind and better preventative health care to 30 or 40 million Americans who previously were kept out of the market for health insurance. The good the new standard creates for 100’s of millions of Americans outweighs the fears and frustrations of perhaps 2 million who will either have to pay more for more comprehensive coverage, or those who otherwise preferred health care being a privilege for those who could afford it, and stupidly didn’t mind paying for the uninsured visiting ER’s in their own health care costs.

NO law can benefit all without exception. Even our most basic just laws like making a crime of murder, will offend those intent upon being murderers. Republicans and Libertarians not surprisingly, will continue to denigrate ObamaCare even after enjoying the benefits of it for themselves. This is the very definition of a lack of integrity. Fortunately, not all Republicans lack integrity, so there is still hope for the GOP. Gov. Kasich and others responsible for the welfare of their people aren’t fighting ObamaCare, but, employing it for the benefit of their people, regardless of party affiliation. That is integrity.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2013 4:43 PM
Comment #374307


If given a choice, I would opt for a low-cost, high-deductible policy along with a health saving plan that would let me put away money tax-free to pay for routine health care costs.

I would not pay for my routine health care by means of insurance, since I can get a better deal myself. I follow healthful habits, so have no need for things such as obesity treatments or drug and alcohol abuse programs. My insurance would not need to cover things like hormone treatments for people wishing to change their gender (get over it) or for various types of plastic surgery to increase self-esteem. In my ideal health insurance, women seeking birth control could pay the small out-of-pocket expenses involved and men unable to get an erection could do the same for their Viagra. IMO, if you cannot do it naturally, it is nature’s way of telling you to do something else, BTW.

Posted by: CJ at November 17, 2013 4:50 PM
Comment #374309

Ah, yes, CJ. I, I, I. What I would do if I didn’t live in a society with social needs and a political system which is supposed to respond to those social needs. And if a piece of space debris lands on your bedroom and severely injures you requiring multiple surgeries and lengthy convolescence, you would not have a single regret for not having comprehensive health insurance designed to keep your health care costs from bankrupting you and your family. Ya, CJ, I hear your I, I, I argument, and raise you our, our, our argument.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2013 4:58 PM
Comment #374311


We are very generous people, helping our fellow man to an extent uncommon among liberals. But I see no reason to subsidize bad behaviors and I believe it is useful for every citizen to have skin in the game and not rely on hard-working and rational people like us.

As I said, I would seek a high-deductible insurance. This specifically would NOT bankrupt my family, since it would cover those high cost things that might befall us. What it does not cover are routine expenses, which we can pay ourselves with less expense or the voluntary things I mentioned.

If hit by a meteor, the policy would cover. But if I just couldn’t get an erection, I would have to find other things to do or pay for my own Viagra. Seems fair to me.

Beyond that, people have an affirmative duty to maintain good health by proper choices. While I do not presume to make those choices for others, I do not want to allow their poor choices to put me on the hook. in other words, do whatever you want as long as you pay for it yourself. If you ask others to pay, you are implicitly allowing them a say in what you do.

Posted by: CJ at November 17, 2013 5:55 PM
Comment #374314

It all started with the “Affordable” Care Act. phx8 talked about how affordable his high deductible plan he just got was at a $7k price tag. I agree that’s affordable but I wonder if most people who supported Obamacare thought that met the definition of “affordable” and that the insurance they would be getting was high deductible. Most people don’t know how much a visit to the hospital “costs” and most people don’t know how much an insurance premium costs. It’s a perfect setup for propaganda.

Posted by: George in SC at November 18, 2013 8:49 AM
Comment #374335

Ya, CJ, I hear your I, I, I argument, and raise you our, our, our argument.
Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2013 4:58 PM

We are all familiar with the left’s argument for “group rights” versus individual rights. Unfortunately for them, our founding documents are all about individual rights which are protected.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 18, 2013 6:34 PM
Comment #374342


The Obamacare standards for health insurance were modeled after the federal employee cafeteria benefits package. The basic idea was that it was a model for a reasonable selection of coverage standards.

The idea of a high deductible policy accompanied by a tax free HSA is an excellent idea. A number of commentators on this blog have proposed that it might be the ideal compromise between liberals and conservatives, i.e., a national, single payer catastrophic plan with HSA provisions and potential for private gap type policies.

What I find discouraging about this whole discussion is that there are a variety of models utilized by other advanced countries that accomplish the basic task at a fraction of the cost that we are incurring. I am reminded of the old adage that “pride goeth before the fall.”

Posted by: Rich at November 18, 2013 10:40 PM
Comment #374344


Just a brief follow-up. In a recent post, you said about excellence in education that we should be looking to the better performer for guidance (“A better tactic would be to look to successful performers and ask what they do right.”) I would suggest that that advice applies to the health care system as well.

Posted by: Rich at November 18, 2013 11:57 PM
Comment #374348

Royal Flush, and when individuals group for self-interest, they are no longer individuals to be heard and represented? Give me a frickin break, man.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 19, 2013 12:57 PM
Comment #374354

We can all agree with the one person one vote concept. And, we can all agree that folks need to be involved in groups to discuss/debate and so on - - -

But, there needs to be some sanity in the process. Consider local city/county issues there should be group discussions, maybe between groups in two, three or more counties, interested corporations may be involved, etc. Same for state issues where folks and/or corporations from several states may want to discuss issues relating to a single state. Desirable, fine and good.

The problem comes with this asinine idea/law that money equates to free speech. Money used as free speech stifles all debate and becomes the elephant in the tent; the old adage, ‘talk is cheap, money talks. Meaning that you can group discuss till the cows come home but the influence on the direction of action taken goes to the source of, and amount of the money. The money influence takes many forms; campaign donations, for/against advertising, providing jewelry, groceries, kids schooling, jobs for kinfolks, travel, and so on - - -

David, to propose that we, the voting public should just ‘do the right thing’ and VOID incumbents is bigtime weak, IMO. New candidates/newly elected have already been vetted by the Corpocracy; consider the Va. election with McAulife? and Cuccinelli? – both tainted bigtime with corporate money/favors, etc. For whatever reason, ‘it ain’t goin to happen’. Any candidate arriving at a position of some power will be further subjected to corpocracy.

Consider this: “I would think most folks don’t have a problem with corporations and gov’t working together in support of gov’t goals/missions. Where most find fault is with corporations that funnel money to the campaign funds of gov’t officials or those looking to become elected officials. From the article, “companies spent about $3.5B annually on lobbying at the end of the last decade, a nearly 90% increase from 1999 – .”

$ with a B. Tons and tons of ‘free speech’, David. VOID doesn’t seem to be in vogue, congress is really working to nail the coffin closed on AVC so, that leaves it up to a 3rd party, one I hope will be founded with a/dif/pol/att and so on - - -

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 19, 2013 3:42 PM
Comment #374356

Royal Flush, and when individuals group for self-interest, they are no longer individuals to be heard and represented? Give me a frickin break, man.
Posted by: David R. Remer at November 19, 2013 12:57 PM

WHAT! Surely you don’t believe the drivel you wrote.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 19, 2013 3:57 PM
Comment #374357

David, it’s nice to see you back. You might have noticed how the fold has lost a number of members, as we were over-run by the blustering bullies of b.s.

Posted by: jane doe at November 19, 2013 4:15 PM
Comment #374358

Welcome back jane as a “blustering bullie(s) of b.s.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 19, 2013 4:28 PM
Comment #374359

What’s the matter Royal, you don’t think individuals are heard and represented when they are FORCED to group for the self-interest of others? LOL!

Posted by: kctim at November 19, 2013 4:29 PM
Comment #374365


I agree re looking to the best. The problem is that America is the best, but also the most expensive. A first step, one that all successful plans have, is to limit the effect of lawyers.

My own preference would be for a Scandinavian style system, but having experienced that, I don’t think Americans would tolerate it.

RE “the ideal compromise between liberals and conservatives, i.e., a national, single payer catastrophic plan with HSA provisions and potential for private gap type policies.”

This would be good. Liberals would not allow it, however. It would produce inequality.

David & Royal

The value of group behavior is when it is done in voluntary association. The problem I have with modern liberalism is that it uses force and coercion.

As an old Pollock, I will voluntarily give you lots of things, but if forced I will not do it.

Posted by: CJ at November 19, 2013 5:54 PM
Comment #374367

Roy, the idea that candidates are chosen by the corpocracy has some merit, for many, but, not all candidates. My point was simply that in a democratic elected government, the people ALWAYS have the power to do the choosing. They only have to choose to do so. More Americans than ever before since polling on the topic began, now say they are willing to vote out their OWN representative to object to the results of the current Congress. That is 38% of Americans. This is a groundswell polling moment in American history, which contradicts your notion that Voting Out Incumbents Democracy (VOID) is somehow not well situated to lead the way, as it has been doing since January of 2006.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 19, 2013 6:14 PM
Comment #374368

CJ, every law is a group consensus forcing conformity to obeyance of the law, under penalty of law. I take from your comment then, that you don’t believe in laws. You have a contradiction you need to address, CJ.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 19, 2013 6:16 PM
Comment #374369


I believe in the rule of law. Law forms the framework for the society where we can all prosper. That doesn’t mean that we need to create laws and coercion all over the place.

Generally speaking, if something can be done by individuals in voluntary association we should let them do it.

In the case of ObamaCare, this is an overreach. I would be willing to accept a bare minimum requirement and government could help the poor and improvident to the extent necessary. But we don’t need to guarantee a full spectrum of services that many people will not want or need.

Posted by: CJ at November 19, 2013 6:32 PM
Comment #374373
every law is a group consensus forcing conformity to obeyance of the law, under penalty of law.

In other words, every law is no different than the popular kids in school getting together and beating up the weaker kids for their lunch money while the other kids look the other way.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 19, 2013 6:47 PM
Comment #374374

So now we have at least another data point on what is considered “affordable.”


So this single mother, making at least $65k/yr based on not qualifying for the tax credit, thought that $200/mo for the Gold Plan was reasonable. Now that she’s been quoted $400/mo for the bronze plan she’s thinking not so much. I believe the average nationwide, before any tax credits, is $328/mo per month. All of those are higher than the President’s “You’re going to be able to purchase high-quality health insurance for less than the cost of your cell phone bill” from last September.

Affordable, substandard, quality… when you put hard numbers to this stuff it’s no wonder folks aren’t happy.

Posted by: George in SC at November 19, 2013 6:49 PM
Comment #374375

Poor Remer, it’s a bad day when one can not differentiate between “individual rights”, “group wants” and “laws”.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 19, 2013 6:53 PM
Comment #374376

Obama Snubs 150th Anniversary of Gettysburg Address

Obama’s decision to skip the anniversary of “this historic event is doubly surprising because he has so often tied himself to his fellow Illinoisan Lincoln. Obama announced his candidacy in 2007 near Lincoln’s law office in Springfield, Ill. Both in 2009 and 2013, he took the oath of office with his hand on Lincoln’s Bible. And in 2009, he replicated Lincoln’s 1861 route from Philadelphia to Washington for the Inauguration.”

“The White House said he is staying in Washington. Instead of going to Gettysburg, he will go to the Four Seasons Hotel to address The Wall Street Journal CEO Council’s annual meeting and talk about the economy.”


Posted by: Royal Flush at November 19, 2013 7:02 PM
Comment #374380

Royal Flush,
Here is the title of an article re Gettysburg:

“Gettysburg Address ‘outrage’ provides handy checklist of stupidest people in America”

Only two presidents have ever given a speech on this anniversary: 1) Lincoln, who gave the speech in the first place, and 2) William Howard Taft in 1909.

Posted by: phx8 at November 19, 2013 8:17 PM
Comment #374381

Re Gettysburg

Obama would never be able to state anything so clearly or concisely. One reason Lincoln could do so was that he had values and convictions. Lincoln thought America was exceptional. Obama does not.

Posted by: CJ at November 19, 2013 8:28 PM
Comment #374383

“I agree re looking to the best. The problem is that America is the best, but also the most expensive.”


That is simply not true. It is certainly the most costly but doesn’t produce better outcomes than the majority of advanced industrial nations. From a cost/benefit standpoint, we are an outlier disaster.

Take a moment and check out the cost per GDP and health outcomes for Japan. You will find that the Japanese have more high technology (e.g., more MRI and CT machines per capita than the US), more physician visits per capita, more hospital days and most importantly, substantially better outcome data. All that for a fraction of the cost that we are spending.

I find it ironic that you argue consistently that the amount of money spent on a problem (e.g., education) is an inappropriate measure of performance. Just because you spend a lot of money on an issue does not equate to proportionally better performance.

The problem that conservatives have is the inability to admit that someone else invented a better mousetrap. I will remind you again that “pride goeth before the fall.”

If a business was getting beat to death by competitors utilizing a more efficient system but refused to change because they think that they are obviously better despite empirical data to the contrary, you would normally think the CEO and Board were delusional. But apparently, not when it comes to health care and financing.

Posted by: Rich at November 19, 2013 8:37 PM
Comment #374384


Unfortunately, the REASONS that we are having the problems you describe is BECAUSE of the government involvement in the healthcare market for a decade.

Either we have to go all in, and be like everyone else experiencing the same issues they are having that you leave out (like oppressive taxes in France that is pushing them towards revolt) OR we pull back and let the free market resolve the issues as they would if allowed to.

A perfect example:

PET scanners are pretty cool. They give a 3-dimensional glimpse of the body’s internal processes, allowing physicians to diagnose and observe the progress of health conditions like cancer, heart disease, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s. Hospitals are known for wanting to diagnose such things, so it’s not uncommon for them to purchase PET scanners. But 19 states and the District of Columbia require health providers to seek permission from state bureaucrats before buying a PET scanner. Obtaining this permission can take years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in application and attorney’s fees—to say nothing of opportunity cost. After all that time and expense, there is no guarantee that permission, in the form of a “certificate of need,” will be forthcoming.

North Carolina is one such state that forces health providers to submit to this kind of micromanagement. In May, two Winston-Salem-based hospital systems filed PET scanner applications. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center already owns a scanner and uses it for medical research—and needs permission to convert it to clinical use. Novant Health meanwhile wants to build a new cancer center. Applications denied.

Let the businesses actually compete and then tell them that they failed, but not allowing them to do so seems a bit unfair…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 19, 2013 9:10 PM
Comment #374385
In a congressional hearing today, Henry Chao, the Deputy Chief Information Officers for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told Rep Cory Gardner (R-Co.) that 30-40 percent of Obamacare’s Marketplace—the federal insurance exchange system that covers 36 states—has not been built yet.

One of the systems that hasn’t been built, apparently, is payment processing.

“We still have to build the payment systems to make payments to issuers in January,” Chao said, referring to the insurance companies that issue policies.

That…seems like it might be an important element of the exchange.



Posted by: Rhinehold at November 19, 2013 10:07 PM
Comment #374386


Good points. The Certificate of Need issue is one of those hidden problems. I basically agree with you that it is an impediment to developing a competitive market for health technology and health services in general. The original idea was to avoid unnecessary competitive investment in medical technology, hospitals, etc. We didn’t need a bunch of bankrupt hospitals or imaging centers. Better to direct available investment into needed and potentially profitable services. Most states have abandoned the concept or modified it substantially.

Posted by: Rich at November 19, 2013 10:18 PM
Comment #374387

Preventative medical care is ultimately cheaper, but it is not profitable in the short term, which is the only term that matters in the world of the private market. Treatment/outcome-based medical is profitable, even if it is more expensive in the long-term.

It is more profitable for private health insurers to not cover people with pre-existing conditions. It is also more profitable to drop people who become very sick, or cap their coverage with a lifetime limit, or a low limit on any single illness.

That is the fundamental flaw with privatized health care. Making the most profit relies on denying coverage to people who are sick. The fundamental incentive of making a profit lies contrary to the needs of people who need health care- namely, every last one of us.

Posted by: phx8 at November 19, 2013 10:51 PM
Comment #374388
Preventative medical care is ultimately cheaper, but it is not profitable in the short term, which is the only term that matters in the world of the private market.

You say that, but the numbers don’t actually back up your opinion…


Our findings suggest that the broad generalizations made by many presidential candidates can be misleading. These statements convey the message that substantial resources can be saved through prevention. Although some preventive measures do save money, the vast majority reviewed in the health economics literature do not. Careful analysis of the costs and benefits of specific interventions, rather than broad generalizations, is critical. Such analysis could identify not only cost-saving preventive measures but also preventive measures that deliver substantial health benefits relative to their net costs; this analysis could also identify treatments that are cost-saving or highly efficient (i.e., cost-effective).

“That is the fundamental flaw with privatized health care insurance.”

Instead of codifying and forcing insurance, which you say is flawed, why not just have people pay for their healthcare directly instead? It would put the insurance companies out of business, something I am all for. We could have catastrophic insurance available for all while giving reasons for people to live healthier lives AND shopping around helping lower health care costs…

Oh yeah, it doesn’t match the totalitarian desires of the progressives…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 19, 2013 11:04 PM
Comment #374406

Such pettiness. I can recall few occasions when George Bush inspired me with the brevity and power of his rhetoric.

Republicans nowadays have gotten to where they always have to be taking potshots at Obama. He’s not a perfect President, but the perpetual rain of criticism and slander suggests to me that the GOP lacks for a great deal of self-confidence, and can only make that up by trying to drag everybody else down.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 20, 2013 12:07 PM
Comment #374410

I agree. such pettiness. I agree with and for a different reason.

Posted by: tom humes at November 20, 2013 3:23 PM
Comment #374411

phx8 writes; “Only two presidents have ever given a speech on this anniversary (Gettysburg).”

Hmmm…how many 150th anniversary’s have we had?

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 20, 2013 5:00 PM
Comment #374412

Limited patient choice next health overhaul issue

“In New York, one of the world’s foremost cancer hospitals, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, is not “in network” for any of the insurance plans on the state’s exchange.

In Chicago, Rush University Medical Center used to be covered “in network” by all the health plans offered in Cook County, Illinois’ largest county. Now, of the 71 plans serving the county on the state’s exchange, Rush is covered by only 38 plans.

In New Hampshire just one insurer, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is offering plans there through the new marketplace. The company’s new network for individual plans excludes 10 of the state’s 26 frontline hospitals.”


Posted by: Royal Flush at November 20, 2013 5:30 PM
Comment #374413

For each person in this country who gets up each week day and goes to work, and works a long day, and does it week after week after week, there is now more than one other person who is living off the taxes that person and his fellow full-time workers pay and off the new net debt the Treasury must continually issue to cover the cost of a government that routinely exceeds tax revenues.

- See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/terence-p-jeffrey/only-self-reliant-remain-free#sthash.6yFzUlTE.dpuf

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 20, 2013 6:16 PM
Comment #374414

Time for a show of hands…

Are Republicans and Conservatives responsible for the obamacare debacle or…

Are obama and the Democrats and Liberals victims of the work done by their own hands?

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 20, 2013 6:19 PM
Comment #374416

What makes you think it is a debacle? A year from now, no one will even remember problems with the national web site or the stress for some of transitioning from their substandard insurance coverage. By this time next year, tens of million of people will have insurance coverage, and everyone covered by employers will have better insurance with built-in consumer protection.

The ACA has already successfully stopped skyrocketing health insurance premiums, and customers who have been overcharged have received rebates from insurers. Young people under the age of 26 can now be protected by their parent’s policies. Meanwhile, the health care industry has reformed its data processing technologies, and an explosion of small business creation has occurred as new companies address the new data processing needs.

Now it is true the GOP has done everything possible to encourage fear of change, and spread false stories about ‘death panels’ and the like. As of today 24 states with Republicans in control have turned down federal money for Medicaid, which will be disastrous for the voters in those states. However, those states can change their minds anytime, and I am sure many of them will. When Democrats replaced Republicans in the takeover of Virginia, they indicated they would reverse the GOP stand and use Medicaid funds to cover the poor.

Want to see a debacle? Watch Mitch McConnell in Kentucky next year, when he runs on a platform of taking away health care insurance from hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians. Good luck with that! Watch him advocate that voters should be able to be refused insurance for pre-existing conditions, and no longer have portable health care, and no longer have free preventative care included in their insurance, and have lifetime caps removed.

There is a debacle coming- but it will be for the GOP. They chose to make their stand and fight on the hill of Obamacare, and it will be their last stand.

Posted by: phx8 at November 20, 2013 7:29 PM
Comment #374418

phx8 writes; “RF, What makes you think it is a debacle?”

Hmmm…the loss of millions of private insurance policies, loss of choice of doctor, specialist, and hospital. Higher premiums for many more millions. And, a website that doesn’t even have the means to bill those who are able to sign up are a few reasons. The theft of over half a trillion in Medicare funds will lead to cut backs in coverage and increases in time to see a doctor or specialist for senior Americans.

This so called better coverage you speak of adds nothing of value for many people and the base plan will bankrupt many with high deductibles and copays.

It looks like, walks like, and smells like a debacle to me.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 20, 2013 7:41 PM
Comment #374420

You are making bad assumptions. Fear of change is understandable. We know what we are losing. Sometimes we do not know what, if anything, we will gain.

In this case of the ACA, we do know what will happen. People will obtain new insurance. Most will keep their doctors, specialists, and hospitals. A few many not. When the last company I worked for changed insurance providers three times in a short time, I was forced to change doctors. It was inconvenient, but everything eventually worked out. A few people may pay more under the ACA. Most- the vast majority- will not. Not only that, people will possess insurance coverage with consumer protections built into the policies.

I have no idea what you mean by a “theft in Medicare funds.”

But projecting that just because the federal web site does not work today, it will never work, or projecting that people will not like replacing their substandard insurance with better insurance is not a good projection.

Republicans have tried very hard to make health care reform fail. Many states controlled by the GOP have refused to create state-run health care exchanges, and they have refused funding for navigators to help people with questions, and they have refused funding to advertise and explain. But it will be people in those states who will suffer the most, and it is only a matter of time before the voters realize what has happened.

Texas has one of the worst health care situations in the country, and a lot of poor uninsured people. Governor Perry has refused funding for an exchange, navigators, and advertising, as well as Medicaid funds.

Texas will be blue sooner rather than later.

Posted by: phx8 at November 20, 2013 8:25 PM
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