From November, 2014

The Latest Obamacare Outrage

Let’s say that you have an Obamacare plan. Let’s say that you like it. Let’s say that you want to keep it. Let’s say that open enrollment comes around, and you do nothing, because you think that you don’t have to–since everything is fine, and you have a plan, and you want to keep it, after all. See where I’m going here? Here’s a Friday Obamacare news-dump for you: In a 300-page regulatory proposal released late this afternoon, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it is considering changing Obamacare’s auto-renewal rules so that, within the health law’s exchanges, instead of…

Health Care Sign-Up Inflation and the Obama Administration’s Continuing Credibility Problem

As scandals go, finding out that dental plans were incorrectly added to the sign-up numbers for Obamacare does not, by itself, amount to all that much. Maybe the reason that 380,000 dental subscribers were added to the total numbers was to push the numbers above the 7 million mark, but 6.7 million sign-ups would be nothing to sneeze at (of course, many of these people signed up for Obamacare because they got thrown off of their employers’ plans in a violation of the administration’s “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.” policy, but that is another…

Quote of the Day

. . . on every story we report, we should always be the outsiders; most important, we should always, always identify with our readers over the insider experts. That doesn’t mean we can’t root for a political party, or a policy, or a company.  We are customers and citizens as well as writers, and we have a rooting interest in our own society.  But it does mean that we should not think of ourselves as part of the policy elite; we should identify ourselves with our readers, who are not only less informed than the insiders, but also less informed…

Yes Virginia, Jonathan Gruber Was a Key Obamacare Consultant

Peter Suderman has the facts at hand. It is not surprising that Obamacare fans are currently trying to convince the rest of us that Gruber had very little to do with the design and implementation of Obamacare–after all, given the degree to which Gruber has inconvenienced pro-Obamacare forces, it would be positively unnatural if fans of the Non-Affordable Care Act didn’t try to distance themselves from Gruber–but the attempt to rewrite history just will not and should not work: Nancy Pelosi, for example, knew Gruber’s name when she cited his work by 2009 in support of the law. And while…

The Difference Between Israelis and Terrorists

Let’s be abundantly clear about something: It is not the policy of the state of Israel to purposely send people to kill and terrorize Palestinian civilians. That kind of action is anathema to the overwhelming majority of Israelis, and to the extent that there are some crazies among the Israeli population who think otherwise, those people have never wielded power in Israel and never will. If only the Israelis were the beneficiaries of some reciprocity regarding this issue: Four Israelis were killed and eight more wounded in a frenzied assault by two Palestinian men on Jewish worshippers praying at a…

More Gruberisms

Oy. In a 2011 conversation about the Affordable Care Act, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the law more commonly known as Obamacare, talked about how the bill would get rid of all tax credits for employer-based health insurance through “mislabeling” what the tax is and who it would hit. In recent days, the past comments of Gruber — who in a 2010 speech noted that he “helped write the federal bill” and “was a paid consultant to the Obama administration to help develop the technical details as well” — have been given renewed attention. In previously posted…

More Gaffes by Jonathan Gruber

The theme remains the same: Voters are stupid and had to be misled by the Obama administration and its allies during the fight over Obamacare–for the voters’ own good, you understand. As Congress voted on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, in 2010, one of the bill’s architects, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, told a college audience that those pushing the legislation pitched it as a bill that would control spiraling health care costs even though most of the bill was focused on something else and there was no guarantee the bill would actually bend the cost curve. In recent days, the…

Venezuela’s Disastrous Economic Situation

Behold what Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro hath wrought: The sprawling street market that radiates outward from the metro station in Petare, Caracas’s largest slum, is the retail equivalent of an anti-Target. There’s no organization to it. Tube socks and school supplies are sold beside giant pyramids of pineapple and piled yucca. Leopard-print hot pants stretch over mannequin buttocks next to the stinky stalls of fishmongers. The bazaar was known until this month as one of the city’s biggest open-air black markets, the place to find all the scarce items that shoppers must queue up for hours to get in…

Jonathan Gruber’s Self-Immolation and Its Policy Consequences

Jonathan Gruber is utterly and completely destroying himself, and is providing massive amounts of ammunition to anti-Obamacare forces. Neat trick, especially considering the fact that he got paid nearly half a million dollars in order to both design Obamacare, and also sell it to the masses. Consider the latest video that has come out regarding Gruber’s . . . er . . . candid comments: A third video emerged Wednesday of MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, insulting voters and suggesting their ignorance was exploited by those pushing passage of the health…

Why Does Paul Krugman Still Have a Job at the New York Times?

It is a mystery. Intemperate language and pure ignorance are not exactly the ingredients for a persuasive and intelligent column on policy issues–or any other issues, for that matter–but increasingly, Krugman’s columns feature little else. Maybe the next time the New York Times wants to put out an editorial about legal issues, they will ask an actual lawyer–or someone who plays the role of a lawyer more convincingly than Krugman does–to do the writing. If it does so, the paper will be less likely to embarrass itself.