Obama pulls plug on part of health overhaul law
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration Friday pulled the plug on a major program in the president’s signature health overhaul law – a long-term care insurance plan dogged from the beginning by doubts over its financial solvency.
Targeted by congressional Republicans for repeal, the long-term care plan became the first casualty in the political and policy wars over the health care law. The program had been expected to launch in 2013.
Although sponsored by the government, it was supposed to function as a self-sustaining voluntary insurance plan, open to working adults regardless of age or health. Workers would pay an affordable monthly premium during their careers, and could collect a modest daily cash benefit of at least $50 if they became disabled later in life. Beneficiaries could use the money for services to help them stay at home, or to help with nursing home bills.
But a central design flaw dogged CLASS from the beginning. Unless large numbers of healthy people willingly sign up during their working years, soaring premiums driven by the needs of disabled beneficiaries would destabilize it, eventually requiring a taxpayer bailout.
After months insisting that problems could be resolved, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, finally admitted Friday she doesn’t see how that can be done.
“Despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time,” Sebelius said in a letter to congressional leaders.
So it turns out bureaucrats in Washington really don’t know everything. No matter how smart they think they are they simply can’t design the perfect system, or even a system that works better than what we have.
Oh yeah and the elimination of CLASS also eliminates 50% of projected budgetary “savings” from Obamacare.
This, of course, comes as no shock to those of us who opposed Obamacare from the begining. Hell its no shock to anyone with a functioning brain.
Jamie posted this at 4:13 PM CDT on Friday, October 14th, 2011 as CHANGE!, Health Care
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I have one task for President Obama:
Please define exactly what “fair share” is. Be as specific as possible.
Jamie posted this at 11:44 AM CDT on Friday, September 9th, 2011 as Buffoon Watch, CHANGE!
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The arrogance on display in this story is surprising. I’m not surprised that the administration is this arrogant – we’ve always known that about Obama. What’s surprising is that someone from the White House thought it was to their political advantage to go public with this arrogance. They purposefully scheduled a speech – which everyone knows will be useless; in the odd chance that it’s not useless then the president has affirmatively done wrong by the American people to keep his plan under wraps for so long – on the night of a big Republican event. And when the Republicans asked him to reschedule his stupid speech, he gets to act indignant? I don’t think they focus grouped that.
Apollo posted this at 10:48 AM CDT on Friday, September 2nd, 2011 as CHANGE!
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Dick Cheney’s book is bringing out all the characters we knew and loved from 2000-2008. Here’s Colin Powell, who is declining to endorse Obama’s reelction so early in the campaign.
Powell, the nation’s first African-American secretary of state, praised Obama’s leadership style in 2008 in endorsing him, saying shortly before the election that Obama “has a definite way of doing business that will serve us well.” He also said at the time that he didn’t think the GOP vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, was “ready” to be president.
Leave aside the judgment of whether Obama’s “way of doing business” has, in fact, served us well; I guess anyone can misjudge character during an election cycle (and, let’s face it, it’s hard to argue that John McCain’s “way of doing business” was obviously better in 2008.
No, this reminds me of how all the Respectable Types in 2008 knew that the defining issue of the election was, “Is Sarah Palin ready to be President?” Three years later, I think we can all look back and thank God above that we didn’t elect a vice president who uses divisive rhetoric, is a laughing stock whenever speaking in public, has a difficult time discussing matters with people of different opinions, hasn’t the slightest understanding of economics, fails to garner respect among our enemies, is so stupid as to not to know left from right, is used by the president as an identity politics tool to pander to middle-class rubes who are too dumb to understand reality, constantly needs media allies to cover up gaffes, or just generally makes a mess of things whenever speaking.
Yes, I’m glad so many Respectable Types saved us in 2008 from having a Vice President who wasn’t ready to be President. I anxiously await Colin Powell’s endorsement for 2012.
Apollo posted this at 5:40 PM CDT on Sunday, August 28th, 2011 as CHANGE!, Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be!
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Whether it’s cranking up the deficit spending to 11, preemptively attacking foreign countries (serious question: are we still bombing Libya?), doubling down on Afghanistan, or asserting executive power, it frequently seems to me like the Obama administration consists of taking all the stuff that George Bush did and liberals didn’t like, and amplifying it.
Today comes this little bit from Obama:
President Obama told a crowd at a battery plant in Holland, Michigan, this afternoon that Republicans must “find a way to put country ahead of party.” Obama went on to say, “There are some in congress right now who would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.”
Ugh. We spent years being lectured about how divisive George Bush was, and how he was always questioning everyone’s patriotism. And we were told that Obama would be better. Well here we are.
The story I linked to referred to this as Obama aping McCain’s ’08 slogan, “Country First.” But if you look at it, it’s the converse of McCain’s slogan. “Country First” was a description, meant to refer to McCain - how he himself had put country first during his military service, how he had put country first in bucking his own party to do what he thought was right, how he would continue to do that as a president beholden to none of the interest groups of his own party. “Country First” was a candidate pointing out his own virtues and history of service.
Obama’s message, “Put country before party,” on the other hand, is a command to Republicans – who, were it not for Obama’s urging, would surely place the interests of their party above the interests of their country; who would ruin our economy in order to achieve partisan gain.
So while McCain focused on hyping his own devotion to country – I guess you could have taken it as an implied swipe at the patriotism of others, but that’s being unfair; if people can’t point to their own virtues without it being taken as a swipe at others, we’ve entered a very unpleasant world – Obama is using the theme to question the patriotism of others in blunt terms: “There are some in Congress right now who would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.” Because Republicans love power/hate Democrats more than they love America.
Apollo posted this at 5:27 PM CDT on Thursday, August 11th, 2011 as Barack Obama Couldn't Persuade a Bear to Crap in the Woods, CHANGE!, Politics and the English Language
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In a surprisingly family friendly post, Ace points out what has gone completely missing in the debt debate:
Have you heard any stories of older, more expensive federal employees losing their jobs during this budget crisis — as corporations typically do when they are hemorrhaging money?
Have you read any stories about departments drastically cutting back and looking for money-saving solutions — doing more with less, as they say, or “working smarter, not harder”?
Has the media been full of stories by weary bureaucrats complaining, like teachers are apparently instructed by their unions to claim, that they have to buy their own supplies to properly do their jobs?
Has there been any grousing that federal employees are missing expected pay raises and promotions, being forced to work at their old salaries through this crisis?
The answer is no.
While the country is teeters on the verge of a Depression (if it has not tottered over already), the federal bureaucracy remains gold-plated and immune to cutbacks.
I hope the Republican nominee makes a real issue of this, as there is undoubtedly billions of savings to be had simply by taking a hard look at the bureaucracy.
Apollo posted this at 10:50 AM CDT on Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 as Budgets, CHANGE!
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I don’t fully endorse the views of this Instapundit reader. But it’s very hard for me to ascribe good faith to the president and the Democrat leadership, for the following reasons.
They are currently insisting that we absolutely must raise taxes, so therefore Republicans should vote for tax hikes. But it was just last December (which, according to my fingers, was seven months ago) that a Congress completely controlled by Democrats passed an extension of the Bush tax cuts.
In 2008, we elected a president who promised a “net spending cut” and who swore to let the Bush tax cuts expire. He then greatly increased spending and signed an extension of the Bush tax cuts. And this is now being used as a reason for the Republicans to break their (winning) 2010 pledge of not raising taxes.
I don’t like to ascribe bad motives to others, but I think an objective analysis of the situation shows that the president is using a possible default in order to get Republicans to vote for tax cuts hikes that are so politically toxic that he wouldn’t let his party vote for them a mere 7 months ago (and after they’d already been beaten in an election).
Apollo posted this at 1:29 AM CDT on Sunday, July 24th, 2011 as An Insult to Drunken Sailors, CHANGE!
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Is Tom Harkin delusional? Or is it going to forever be the case that for Democrats “the last eight years” will refer to 2003-2007, the four-year period when Republicans controlled the government? Am I actually the only person who has noticed that, technically, for half of “the last eight years” the Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress? Democrats have now controlled the Senate for most of “the last eight years.”
I’m no fan of the 109th Congress, but if there were an election held today a Republican running for national office would be able to say, “The last time Republicans controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress, the unemployment rate was less than half what it is today, and the budget deficit was 1/7 what it is today.”
Put in other words: Since the Democrats took over Congress, the deficit has increased seven fold, and the unemployment rate has doubled. On the bright side, the price of gas has only gone up by by 50%.
In short, Democrats have thus far gotten away with demonizing the Bush years in the abstract. But if you want to compare how well off the country was from 2003-2007 with how well the country did from 2007-2011, Democrats will not enjoy the comparison. That’s probably why, for them, “the last eight years” will never include the last four.
P.S. Let us look back at the halcyon days of 2007, when a scandalized reporter at Forbes noted that the budget – the last passed by an all Republican government – would not have a mere $158 billion deficit, but an unbelievable $344 billion deficit. By comparison, under a government controlled by Democrats we had a deficit of $222 billion … in a single month. One shudders at what the current deficit might be if we used that Forbes writers’ methodology.
Update: I forgot that the question of whether Tom Harkin is delusional is, as we say in the law, asked and answered. So Tea Partiers should be pleased to be thought to be a “cult fringe” by someone with such a marginal connection to reality.
Apollo posted this at 10:38 PM CDT on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 as Buffoon Watch, CHANGE!, The Democratic Congress
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Republicans must drop their “my-way-or-the-highway” position and do as the president demands.
The president says Congressional Republicans are being irresponsible; I think his speechwriters are being irresponsible to allow him back within a country mile of driving-related metaphors.
Apollo posted this at 11:20 AM CDT on Monday, July 11th, 2011 as Barack Obama Couldn't Persuade a Bear to Crap in the Woods, CHANGE!
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When you use a one-time cash infusion to create or preserve jobs that would naturally not exist, the impact of that cash infusion is temporary.
I’ll give you an example of how this is working. Here in Texas, we almost had to cut the budget back in 2009. It was going to be a pretty dramatic budget cut. But then a ton of stimulus money rained on us, so we were able to avoid laying off government employees (mostly teachers). Well 2011 has rolled around and money failed to fall from the heavens on us, so we either had to raise taxes or cut the budget. So obviously we cut the budget. The actual amount of budget cutting ($4 billion – that’s not a per capita budget cut, but an actual decrease in the amount of money we’re spending) matches up almost perfectly with the amount of stimulus money we got two years ago.
So now tens of thousands of government employees (mostly teachers) are getting laid off. Considering that the main purpose of the stimulus was to give state and local governments money to avoid laying off government workers, I have to presume a similar phenomenon is taking place in jurisdictions across the country this year.
In the end, the number of jobs “saved” by the stimulus will continue to shrink. The relevant statistic will not be how many “jobs” were saved, but rather how many “job-years” were saved. Because the effects of a temporary stimulus are, shockingly enough, temporary.
P.S. +5 internets to the first Democrat who suggests that the tailing off of the stimulus’s impact means we need a “permanent stimulus.” A super bonus of 10 additional internets will be awarded if that same Democrat suggests the 14th Amendment allows the president to borrow money for a stimulus without Congressional approval (“Without a permanent stimulus, our unemployment rate will, eventually, rise to 100%, which will bring into question the validity of our debt in violation of the 14th Amendment. The president has to see that the laws are faithfully enforced, so it’s a no-brainer that he has the power to borrow this money.”)
Apollo posted this at 3:53 PM CDT on Monday, July 4th, 2011 as Bailoutistan, CHANGE!, Deep in the Heart of Texas, It's Economics - Stupid!
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or we could debate the merits of specious legal arguments.
This will undoubtedly be but the first of many such attempts by the Obama administration and Senate Democrats to avoid spending cuts. So let us first drop acid and get in the Wayback Machine. Fun times.
Second, rather than in engage in the any-tool-at-hand argument style that the Left is so fond of whenever the Constitution is mentioned, I shall point out why, upon reading the entire Constitution, this argument is obviously wrong. Congress – not the president – has the powers to borrow and tax. If Congress decides not to borrow money, the president has no power to do so in its stead. The president can no more borrow money if the Congress refuses to do so than the Congress can appoint Supreme Court justices if the president refuses to do so.
A second reason why this argument is wrong is that there is plenty of tax money to service our debt without threat of default. There is not, however, plenty of tax money to service our debt and engage in recklessly huge spending. If Congress does not allow further borrowing, the president, as the executive, will be obliged to prioritize Constitutionally-mandated spending (i.e. servicing the debt) over statutorily-mandated spending (e.g. Medicare). It’s really quite simple how that works out. Saying that the 14th Amendment would allow the president to borrow money not authorized by the Congress is just another example of trying to get around the plain meaning of laws through bad lawyering.
These points, I think, are pretty persuasive in showing that the 14th Amendment argument is meritless. But let’s say you disagree with them; you think that Section 4 of the 14th Amendment overrides the seperation of powers plainly evident in Articles I and II; you think that Section 4 of the 14th Amendment allows the president to borrow for discretionary spending rather than simply forcing him to prioritize the spending of money he actually has. Okey dokey. Well let’s continue reading all the way to the end of the 14th Amendment to see if it offers us any clue as to which branch of government has the power to enforce its requirements:
5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
The Constitution: You’ll find the darnedest things if you read it.™
N.B. Here’s a neat trick. Section 4 of the 14th Amendment only guarantees “[t]he validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law.” Let’s say the president borrows money without Congressional approval. Because that debt would not be authorized by law (either statutory or constitutional), its validity would not be guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.
Update (9:25 pm): I just realized that the genius floating this idea is Chris Coons, who beat Christine O’Donnell in last year’s election. The nation was collectively beat about the head region for months by Respectable People telling us how stupid and unprepared O’Donnell was. Yet here’s the guy that all the Respectable People endorsed, himself a lawyer, endorsing a legal theory that is at least ignorant and almost certainly idiotic. Point: Christine O’Donnell never said anything half as stupid as this legal theory from Chris Coons. Congrats Delaware, you’ve found a worthy successor to Joe Biden.
Apollo posted this at 12:39 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 as CHANGE!, We don't need no stinkin' Constitution
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I think I’ve figured out the underlying theme of the Obama administration: They take every complaint anyone ever had about George Bush, and then they turn it up to eleven. Whatever problems were implicit or subtextual under Bush, Obama blares them at maximum volume with explicit lyrics.
So when the Left spent eight years complaining that the Bush administration was implicitly questioning their patriotism, Obama’s Secretary of State goes to Congress regarding a matter of foreign policy asks “Whose side are you on?”
Apollo posted this at 7:37 AM CDT on Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 as CHANGE!
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It’s not just a numbnut lawyer in the administration who thinks that bombing a sovereign state doesn’t count as “hostilities”; the president himself, a legal super genius we were assured, buys this “argument.” Perhaps if I’d been smart enough to go to Harvard I could be convinced of such nonsense, but I’m just a dumb Texas lawyer who is naive enough to believe that bombing a country is a hostile act.
This statement from a spokesman is much more revealing than it was intended to be:
It should come as no surprise that there would be some disagreements, even within an administration, regarding the application of a statute that is nearly 40 years old to a unique and evolving conflict.
Everything’s “unique” to this administration. The recession of 2008-09 was “unique” so it justified porkulus and our lengthy spending binge. Healhtcare is a “unique” market, so according to the administration’s arguments in court it can be the subject of unique government controls. And now a war in which we’re bombing another country is “unique” because . . . well . . . I guess it’s unique because it’s only the third time we’ve attacked Libya? Can anyone think of an actual way in which this war is “unique”?
The rule of law is premised on the fact that almost nothing is truly unique. There are rules, and they apply whether you like them or not. You may think you’re special, but the law, frankly, doesn’t give a damn. Simply saying that a situation is “unique” and therefore not subject to the normal rules is an argument for nothing less than despotism – in a world in which the guy with all the power gets to determine when the rules that limit his power don’t apply, it’s not obvious to me that the law still exists.
P.S. Think about this sentence: “A sticking point for some skeptics was whether any mission that included firing missiles from drone aircraft could be portrayed as not amounting to hostilities.”
Work through it word by word and think about it.
Apollo posted this at 10:38 PM CDT on Friday, June 17th, 2011 as CHANGE!, The Law Is An Ass--An Idiot, To the Shores of Tripoli
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This story contains a baffling statement from the Obama administration regarding Libya: “There’s been no exchange of fire with hostile forces.”
What? What what? Are they saying that our planes are shooting at Libyans but Libyans aren’t shooting at us (no “exchange”)? Or are they saying that we’re not shooting?
If it’s the first case, that may border on monstrous: are we really killing people who do not want a fight with us and aren’t firing back? That seems like exactly the sort of warmongering that Congress ought to put a stop to. Perhaps its in our interest to bomb people who don’t want to fight us, but it probably isn’t. The constitutionality of the War Powers Act aside – Congress has a role here and it needs to play that role.
If it’s the second case . . . well, that would be weird. But let’s say that our soldiers aren’t involved but we’re just helping the Europeans bomb Libya. Again, that’s just warmongering. We invaded Afghanistan on the premise that because Afghanistan provided a safe haven for Al Qaeda, it was responsible for Al Qaeda’s actions. Well here we are helping European countries bomb a sovereign state – so long as we’re materially aiding a combatant, we’re involved. Again, Congress needs to exercise its oversight and investigatory role and figure out what the hell’s going on, and stop the president from starting unnecessary wars.
The article helpfully explains:
Still, the administration acknowledged that unmanned U.S. military aircraft are operating in Libya, which can mean striking targets inside that country, and said American warplanes can respond if fired upon. Those would seem to test the limits of what is considered hostile action.
Under what possible definition of “hostile action” is this not “hostile action”? We fly armed planes over their territory to “strike targets inside that country.” And it merely “tests the limits of what is considered hostile action”? Whatever numbnut lawyer the administration has coming up with this crap needs to be fired, because he’s just spouting nonsense. Just because you assert that a particular fact pattern doesn’t meet a particular definition doesn’t mean you’ve made an actual legal argument.
And, oh yeah, for every peacenik who voted for Obama: SUCKA!
Apollo posted this at 4:40 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 as CHANGE!, To the Shores of Tripoli
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A few weeks ago Drudge linked to a story where Cornell West made some fairly derogatory comments about the president. Because I’m not a fan of Prof. West, and because the comments were of a racial nature that I generally ignore, I didn’t read the story at the time. But today I got around to it and, if you can get just roll your eyes and get past the racial claptrap, the story provides some interesting insights, particularly when West discusses his falling out with the president.
Obama and West’s last personal contact took place a year ago at a gathering of the Urban League when, he says, Obama “cussed me out.” Obama, after his address, which promoted his administration’s championing of charter schools, approached West, who was seated in the front row.
“He makes a bee line to me right after the talk, in front of everybody,” West says. “He just lets me have it. He says, ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself, saying I’m not a progressive. Is that the best you can do? Who do you think you are?’ I smiled. I shook his hand. And a sister hollered in the back, ‘You can’t talk to professor West. That’s Dr. Cornel West. Who do you think you are?’ You can go to jail talking to the president like that. You got to watch yourself. I wanted to slap him on the side of his head.
“It was so disrespectful,” he went on, “that’s what I didn’t like. I’d already been called, along with all [other] leftists, a “F’ing retard” by Rahm Emanuel because we had critiques of the president.”
Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to the president, has, West said, phoned him to complain about his critiques of Obama. Jarrett was especially perturbed, West says, when he said in an interview last year that he saw a lot of Malcolm X and Ella Baker in Michelle Obama. Jarrett told him his comments were not complimentary to the first lady.
Perhaps all presidents try to manage their supporters, but this certainly fits in with the perception that this president can’t handle being criticized. I don’t like West, but he’s no dummy and he seems to have principles, so berating him like that seems quite unlikely to result in anything positive for the president. Moreover, it’s just rude. The president has a lot of authority, of various types, and no one is ever on even ground when engaging the president in public. To see a president use that advantage to berate a private citizen (and a supporter, at that!), knowing that the private citizen will be unable to adequately respond, should (but won’t) revolt those on the Left who claim to constantly be aware of “power dynamics.” It revolts me, though I’m not a Leftist, just an old-fashioned republican.
Apollo posted this at 10:20 AM CDT on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 as CHANGE!, Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
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