Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare’

Recent Readings for May 9, 2019

May 9, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 9, 2019

Author’s note: One of the articles linked below involves a porn star; the article is not particularly explicit, but I wanted to give warning. Also, two of the articles below contain upsetting details about violent crimes. MEM

Gosh, I haven’t done one of these in nearly two and a half years. Let’s see what’s been running through my mind lately!

• “The Sunday school children: The little-known tragedy of the Sri Lankan Easter attacks.” Rebecca Wright, Sam Kiley and King Ratnam of CNN take a detailed look at one of the bombings in the terrorist assaults that killed about 250 Christians and tourists last month. Be aware that this story is filled with a number of heartbreaking details.

• “Student slated to attend Western Michigan University beheaded in Saudi Arabia.” This was one of a series of government executions, the particulars of which should shock the conscience of every American. Alas, it’s hard to imagine that our freedom-loving pro-life president giving this matter more than 30 seconds of thought. As I tweeted: “The details presented here are shocking, and comprise a not-so-gentle reminder that this nation produced 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Cheeps and Chirps for Aug. 27, 2016

August 27, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 27, 2016

Some Twitter for you!

• Comedy!

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Cheeps and Chirps — belated July 2016 Republican National Convention edition!

August 11, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 11, 2016

Twitter feed, represent!

Sadly, this could be an evergreen tweet

 

• Reminder: The U.S. is still at war

 

• Comedy!

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Tax deductions and magical thinking: When smart policy makes for unpopular politics

October 10, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 10, 2015

Republican tax plans all seem to have something in common — something besides lowering the top individual and corporate income-tax rates, that is. See if you can spot it.

Real estate mogul and reality TV host Donald Trump’s tax plan aims to lower taxes and to simplify the tax code. Trump’s proposal claims that its “tax cuts are fully paid for by:”

1. Reducing or eliminating most deductions and loopholes available to the very rich.…

3. Reducing or eliminating corporate loopholes that cater to special interests, as well as deductions made unnecessary or redundant by the new lower tax rate on corporations and business income…

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s tax proposal would:

• Simplify the tax code for all Americans to lessen the power of the IRS and increase both prosperity and fairness.

• Reduce loopholes and special tax provisions created by lobbyists that invariably benefit those at the top.

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June 26, 2015: The Supreme Court extends marriage equality to all, and history is made

June 27, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 27, 2015

I don’t remember much about when or why I first started thinking seriously about gay marriage. I do know this, however: I used to be on the wrong side of history and justice.

I’m the kind of moderate who usually prefers to split the difference rather than award one or the other side an outright victory on any given issue. Gay marriage initially seemed to me to be frivolous — a pointless expansion, and perhaps even an outright redefinition, of marriage. If homosexuals could obtain civil unions that afforded them all the same legal rights as marriage, then why was there any need for gay marriage?

Granted, many states didn’t allow civil unions for homosexuals. This left life partners at the mercy of blood relatives and courts who were often hostile to their interests when one member of a couple was hospitalized or died. Still, civil unions were a reasonable intermediate step. If they could be implemented throughout the nation, I thought, it would moot the struggle over gay marriage.

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My trip to the eye doctor (part 2)

June 26, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 26, 2015

And now, I continue the story of my trip to the eye doctor

When the examination was complete, the doctor walked me over to the spectacle showroom. I heard him asking two assistants (opticians? I dunno) who was up; one replied that neither was. “You’re not the only one in this office with a sense of humor,” I said to the doctor as he left. We both smiled, as did the optician (technician?).

Looking at the frames on display, I was quickly drawn to a pair that closely resembled the ones I’m wearing now. I didn’t like the fact that they had Nike swooshes on the side, but after perusing two or three whole cases, they were the spectacles to which I was most drawn.

Some of the rectangular frames were attractive, as were some that lacked rims on the bottom of the lenses, but I was afraid they’d look goofy on me. And so I went with the first — really, the only — pair that I’d picked.

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A brave exercise in truth-telling: The Heritage Foundation’s Obamacare recap promotes bad news about a bad law

March 27, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 27, 2015

With the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, taking place on Monday, the media have been packed with assessments of the law. But not all assessments are created equal.

Take the article (excuse me — I meant to say, the “brave exercise in truth-telling”) written by Melissa Quinn of the Daily Signal, an outlet of the conservative Heritage Foundation. She got things off to a terrible start:

Five years ago on March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.

Many of the health care law’s provision took effect in 2013, and Americans have since been experiencing the effects of the law—both good and bad. Millions learned they were not able to keep their original insurance plans and more than 7.7 million received subsidies from the federal exchange.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bias, bias everywhere, and not a drop of good old-fashioned patriotic American red-blooded conservative coverage of Obamacare

March 26, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 26, 2015

With the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, taking place on Monday, the media have been packed with assessments of the law. Two of them caught my eye, for no other reason than that they flitted across my Twitter feed.

Tony Pugh of McClatchy’s Washington, D.C., bureau wrote more than 1,400 words on the Affordable Care Act’s rocky five-year history. PolitiFact’s Steve Contorno and Angie Drobnic Holan assembled an assessment that spanned more than 2,000 words. (That count doesn’t include the article’s bibliography, which lists 31 different interviews, articles and studies that formed the basis for the story.)

Now, conservatives love to bellyache about how the mainstream — oh, excuse me; lamestream — media is biased toward liberals. Sadly, anywhere one turns, one finds evidence that these complaints are accurate. Check out these fawning paragraphs that Pugh wrote to conclude his story:

As the health care law hits age five, it’s way too early to pass judgment on its effectiveness, said health care blogger Robert Laszewski. The law’s main provisions have been in place for only about 18 months, Laszewski said. Marketplace insurers are still being subsidized by the federal government, and only about half of the estimated 22 million marketplace plan members the CBO envisions in coming years have purchased coverage.

“I would rate Obamacare, 18 months after implementation, as incomplete,” Laszewski said. “Anybody who wants to look at Obamacare and talk about whether it’s a success or a failure, call me in 2017.”

Obviously this reporter is totally in the tank for Obama, right?

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We’ve paid the butcher, but for what? Deaths, injuries and financial costs of America’s misadventure in Iraq

August 12, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 12, 2014

It turns out that conservative firebrand Laura Ingraham has written off America’s war of choice in Iraq as an exercise in futility. Here’s what she said on a Fox television program on Sunday:

Now Iraq is worse off. I mean, I hate to say that, but Iraq is worse than before we went into Iraq. Christians are gone. There’s no sense of order at all. Saddam Hussein is gone. That’s a good thing, but what’s left? A more emboldened Islamic state. Not contained apparently even by U.S. air strikes.

I hope more Americans start to think seriously about the potential downsides of foreign adventures.

How expensive was this war — and how devastating to the nation we had hoped to uplift? I recently found a few different items that tell the sad tale, including one that ties in to Ingraham’s observation about what I’ll call the de-Christianization of Iraq — a story about Iraq being placed on a list of nations that violate religious freedom.

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The mystery of the misunderstood Obamacare provision: Another take on the Halbig imbroglio

August 7, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 7, 2014

Feature or bug? That’s a crucial debate being contested as a result of the Halbig lawsuit, which is part of the right wing’s War on Obamacare.

Liberal commentators such as Brian Beutler argue that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision that’s at the heart of the Halbig tussle represents a drafting error, not the intent of the law’s architects. To say otherwise is to dismiss as irrelevant the vast majority of the reportage and analysis that took place as the massive health-care reform bill was being crafted and implemented.

In fact, to adopt the now-popular conservative argument that Obamacare must be have been precisely designed to function exactly and only as it is written is to call into question the integrity of virtually everyone who discussed and wrote about the law as it was crafted, passed and initially launched.

After all, over that period, few if any people mentioned the supposed fact that Obamacare’s drafters intended to bar people who purchased health insurance through online marketplaces or exchanges that were run by the federal government. And the current conservative line is that the provision is a major feature, not a bug, in the health-care reform initiative.

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Did political convenience convince a conservative journalist to re-categorize a bug as a feature? An examination of the Welch–Beutler–Suderman spat

August 6, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 6, 2014

A Twitter feud between left-wing and right-wing pundits caught my eye last week.

The spat was launched by this tweet:

The difference between intellectual honesty () and a hackish attempt at oppo marginalization: ()

— Matt Welch @mleewelch 10:51 AM – 29 Jul 2014

Welch is the editor in chief of Reason, the libertarian magazine produced by the Los Angeles–based Reason Foundation. His tweet praised an article written by Reason senior editor Peter Suderman and published in Reason while panning one written by Brian Beutler, a senior editor at The New Republic, and published in that left-leaning magazine.

The articles promote dueling interpretations of the issue that many people refer to as Halbig. The tag comes from the plaintiff in one of a handful of pending lawsuits that seek to cripple the right’s favorite whipping boy, the Affordable Care Act.

The key to Halbig — beyond, of course, understanding that conservatives are obsessed with (a) opposing anything associated with Obama, especially (b) the health care reform law that is familiar known as Obamacare — is the question of whether one provision in that law means what it appears to say in the narrowest and most literal possible meaning.

This is the position on the right wing. As a result, they assert, buyers in states that did not establish their own online health-insurance marketplaces are ineligible for the tax credits that they were promised. In many cases, these subsidies make the coverage affordable.

Should this argument prevail, it could affect more than 7 million residents in the 36 states that rely on HealthCare.gov. (That’s the federally run website for comparing and purchasing health insurance plans offered by private companies; the site was created for residents of states that declined to create their own online exchanges.)

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Cross-border care: When health insurers send Americans to other countries

July 8, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 8, 2014

Adam Teicholz and Glenn Cohen took an interesting look in The New Republic the other day at cross-border care, a relatively new phenomenon in which U.S. health insurance companies send patients out of the country — mainly to Mexico — for certain tests and other medical procedures.

Cross-border care is distinct from medical tourism. In the latter, which is better known, people travel to other nations for medicine or procedures that are easier to obtain away from home.

“Easier to obtain” often refers to a difference in costs, which the website MedicalTourism.com says can be up to 90 percent cheaper than in the United States. For example, the site lists the cost for a heart bypass as being $144,000 domestically. Overseas, the same procedure can cost as little as $5,200 in India. (That accounts for airfare for two, but not food, lodging or other expenses.) In all of 10 other countries that the site lists, a heart bypass is estimated to cost less than $30,000. Even accounting for travel costs, a patient can come out ahead.

For this very reason — that charges for health care can be significantly lower outside of the U.S. — a handful of American insurers are requiring their clients to leave the country for some care. And therein lies the key difference: Medical tourism is generally undertaken on an individual’s initiative, while cross-border care is spurred by institutional imperatives.

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With Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court majority paves the way for minimal changes initially, great changes eventually

July 1, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 1, 2014

Author’s note: This post was updated on July 4 to correct the name of the author of a commentary on Supreme Court racial discrimination rulings that Reuters published in May.

With a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday morning that the government could not compel closely held for-profit corporations to provide contraception to its employees. The majority opinion, written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, essentially prioritizes the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act over a contraception coverage mandate contained in 2010’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

One of Alito’s key arguments in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, beyond his assertion that for-profit businesses are entitled to religious beliefs, is that there is no legal basis in the 1993 law for distinguishing among nonprofit and for-profit corporations. While the justice concedes that providing widespread contraception coverage is in fact a compelling government interest, Alito asserts that the Obamacare law’s mandate is not the least restrictive means of furthering that interest, and thus should be stricken.

Defenders of the ruling note that it is narrow; indeed, the court’s summary includes a disclaimer that “[t]his decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs.”

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North Carolina Republican tries to tarnish Obamacare for the crime of … mandating maternity coverage!

June 21, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 21, 2014

A short item that Tara Culp-Ressler posted at Think Progress caught my eye on Thursday.

Mandy Cohen of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who is due to give birth in about three weeks, recently appeared at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing entitled “Poised To Profit: How Obamacare helps insurance companies even if it fails patients.”

During her testimony, Rep. Mark Meadows pressed Cohen about a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires insurance companies to include maternity coverage in all new plans that they sell. The Republican representative, whose district covers the mountainous western corner of North Carolina, asked if there other coverages that insurers must sell (and which ipso facto consumers must buy) because of Obamacare.

Cohen: It depends on your personal family situation and your medical situation. I’ll say as an internist, and a primary care doc, that sometimes you don’t know what that medical situation will be going forward, and that’s the nature —

Meadows: But maternity is one that you can probably analyze pretty well for someone who’s in their 50s.

Cohen: Right, but it’s a minimal essential benefit we wanted to make sure every American has.

If this is going to be one of the GOP’s main points of contention about the Affordable Care Act, then the law could well have a very rosy future. Is it unfair for people (read: men) to pay for coverage that they aren’t going to use? Perhaps so, but that’s also a fundamental component of insurance.

And let’s remember what the health-insurance market was like before Obamacare mandated maternity coverage. The National Women’s Law Center released a study in early 2012 that captured many unsavory aspects of those not-so-good days.

Back then, gender rating — that is, charging women more than men for comparable coverage — existed without restriction in 36 states. Businesses with mainly female work forces were “routinely” charged more than others, the center reported. This disparity affected many hospitals, medical offices, pharmacies, community-service organizations, and home-health-care and child-care businesses, all of which skew female.

But gender rating may have had the biggest impact on the individual market. “Even with maternity coverage excluded, nearly a third of plans examined charged 25 and 40-year-old women at least 30% more than men for the same coverage,” the report stated (emphasis added).

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To pay or not to pay? Conservatives grapple with Medicaid estate recovery issues

December 23, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 23, 2013

Last week, I looked at how the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare might be changing the scope and reach of Medicaid’s estate recovery provisions. As the Democrats’ Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues taking effect, I suspect we’ll hear a lot more people raising questions about how these two programs interact with one another. 

Of course, some conservative writers have already expressed their thoughts on the matter, and they’re rather dire. At Breitbart, Debra Heine wrote ominously that “enables the Federal government to go after your estate after you die in order to pay for the healthcare expenses you have incurred while on Medicaid.”

Dr. Jane Orient, a conservative physician, offered this: “Expanding Medicaid to persons with modest assets will enable estate recovery to become a cash cow for states to milk the poor and the middle class.”

Blogger Alex Gimarc rendered this verdict: “I cannot think of a better way to impoverish the young and keep them impoverished for all time.” Gimarc then went on to quote George Orwell’s 1984: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

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Life, death and health care costs: Long-standing estate recovery provisions and Medicaid expansion under Obamacare raise concerns

December 18, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 18, 2013

On Sunday, The Seattle Times printed an interesting feature by Carol Ostrom about a presumably unintended effect of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Here’s the heart of the story:

If you’re 55 or over, Medicaid can come back after you’re dead and bill your estate for ordinary health-care expenses.

The way [Port Townsend, Wash., resident Sofia] Prins saw it, that meant health insurance via Medicaid is hardly “free” for Washington residents 55 or older. It’s a loan, one whose payback requirements aren’t well advertised. And it penalizes people who, despite having a low income, have managed to keep a home or some savings they hope to pass to heirs, Prins said.

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Re-debunking one easily debunked conservative lie about Obamacare and HealthCare.gov

November 13, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 13, 2013

On Oct. 25, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee appeared with CNN anchor Carol Costello to discuss GOP charges that HealthCare.gov might be compromising the privacy — specifically, the medical information — of its users.

Now, I certainly can’t vouch for the security of HealthCare.gov. What I would argue, however, is that if the data it collects from other website visitors goes no deeper than what I provided — and that’s my understanding based on reporting on the matter — then everyone’s medical history is completely safe.

Why is that? Because HealthCare.gov doesn’t really collect any medical information.

It asked for my name, physical and e-mail addresses, phone number and race. It also asked whether I was a member of a federal recognized Native American tribe, whether I had Hispanic or Latino origins, and whether anyone for whom I was applying for coverage was incarcerated. There were a few multiple choice questions intended to verify my identity: the year was I born, cities in which I had previously lived, the name of the pet for which I had recently purchased veterinary insurance (a red herring; I’ve never owned a pet as an adult).

Excepting, I suppose, the identity verification queries, which the website said were based on the database of the Experian credit bureau, these are all more or less standard questions that any health insurance company would want answered before selling me a policy. In fact, prior to Oct. 1, I’d bet insurance companies would require answers to most or all of those questions before they’d tell me whether they would even sell me a policy.

But HealthCare.gov didn’t ask me any questions about my medical history, except for this: whether I’d regularly used tobacco products over the last six months. (I’ve never smoked — anything at all.)

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My Obamacare + HealthCare.gov adventure: Part 1 of ???

November 12, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 12, 2013

I’ve written a number of times on this blog about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally known as Obamacare. On Oct. 31, I criticized President Obama and his administration for repeatedly and explicitly claiming that Americans with health insurance would be able to keep their policies, even though they knew or should have known that this wasn’t the case.

In general, however, I’ve been cautiously optimistic that the law might — emphasis on might — work more or less as intended, which was how I concluded my Sept. 10 post on the topic.

One thing that I haven’t revealed, until now, is that my perspective on the Affordable Care Act is that of a consumer of health care who enjoys having the buffer from bankruptcy and sudden large expenses that solid health insurance can provide. I thought in particular that the law’s guaranteed issue provision, which requires health insurers to sell policies to all who apply, regardless of pre-existing conditions, was something that might benefit me.

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Right-wing blogger finds criminals, criminals everywhere — but not a criminal charge can be found involving an Obamacare-affiliated group

November 2, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 2, 2013

If you happened to visit the conservative website RedState.com this weekend and scrolled down to the very bottom, you might have noticed an article with this headline: “Arrests, Citations Lurk at Union Group Approved by Obama Admin to Promote ObamaCare in Wisconsin.”

The story, by Brian Sikma, was published on Oct. 31 at 4:30 p.m. Here are its first two paragraphs:

Among the 165 groups approved by the Obama Administration to promote or set-up [sic] ObamaCare in Wisconsin is Wisconsin Jobs Now, a liberal get-out-the-vote group affiliated with the SEIU. According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the organization is working as a certified application counselor, or CAC. Numerous individuals who have been employed by Wisconsin Jobs Now or who work there now have been investigated, arrested or cited by law enforcement agencies for legal violations.

Wisconsin Jobs Now is not a health insurance group or healthcare provider. It is strictly a community organizing outfit. During elections it runs one of the largest voter turnout efforts in support of Democratic candidates in Wisconsin.

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Emblem or footnote? The spate of health insurance policy cancellations is contrary to President Obama’s explicit promises. But it remains to be seen whether it will matter.

October 31, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 31, 2013

It turns out that, for hundreds of thousands of Americans, despite what the president pledged, they can’t keep their health plans.

That’s the stark truth about Obamacare — a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act — that has come into sharp focus over the past few days.

President Barack Obama has a verbal habit of insisting on clarity in many of his speeches and off-the-cuff remarks. He could hardly have been clearer when he said, multiple times, that Americans who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it under his health-care reform plan.

Only that isn’t true. CBS reports that 2 million Americans have had their policies canceled by insurance companies because they aren’t compatible with various provisions of Obamacare. Understandably, lots of people are unhappy about this, and Republican and conservative critics have jumped all over this broken promise.

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Considering employer-sponsored health insurance, Obamacare and the (possible) ruination of American health care

September 10, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 10, 2013

Last week, I started looking at the case against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as made by the Senate Conservatives Fund. The fund’s website has a fact sheet that offers some tangible reasons to be leery of Obamacare, including poll results showing that 41 percent of business owners put off hiring new workers and 38 percent delayed plans to expand expressly due to the health care reform law.

But not everything in the fact sheet is solid. Let’s start with this short excerpt from page two of the three-page document:

Obamacare will destroy American healthcare. 
• CBO estimated a loss of employer-sponsored coverage for 7 million people.

In February, the Congressional Budget Office released a set of projections for the next decade finding that “In 2022, by CBO and [the Joint Committee on Taxation’s] estimate, 7 million fewer people will have employment-based health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act.”

But wait. How exactly does such a decrease constitute the destruction of American health care? One of the reasons many people think health-care reform is necessary is that the private health insurance market has plenty of gaps: A number of employers don’t offer coverage, and many individuals can’t — or, sometimes, simply don’t — purchase insurance on their own.

Another problem with our current system is that people are reluctant to leave or switch jobs because they’re afraid of losing health care coverage. This phenomenon is called job lock. A 2004 study by a Heritage Institute scholar found that “for married women with employer-sponsored insurance, having an alternative source of coverage increases their likelihood of becoming self-employed by 75 percent…” If Obamacare works as planned, the exchanges would free up more married women to launch their own businesses. Isn’t that a good thing? Read the rest of this entry »

Conservatives vs. Obamacare: Looking at (and debunking) part of the case against the ACA

September 7, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 7, 2013

The conservative crusade against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues apace.

Let’s be clear, to borrow a phrase from the president: There are a number of reasons why the health care reform law is so loathed on the right. To cite just one factor: It passed Congress in 2010 without a single Republican vote.

And yes, this is a big and complicated law that tackles a huge swathe of our society and economy. There’s a chance that the so-called Obamacare legislation will work brilliantly. There’s a chance that Obamacare will fail spectacularly. My hunch is that the law will work, but in the manner that many large projects work — that is, imperfectly.

Glenn Kessler, the main Fact Checker columnist for The Washington Post, had a post Tuesday morning examining three particular claims made by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a television ad inveighing against Obamacare.

Here’s how Cruz starts off the spot: “There’s bipartisan agreement that Obamacare isn’t working. Democratic Senator Max Baucus, the lead author of Obamacare, says it’s a huge train wreck.”  Read the rest of this entry »

‘Mr. President, tear down this law’: Considering conservatives’ hostility toward Obamacare

August 22, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 22, 2013

With key deadlines for implementing President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act approaching — except for when the president himself puts them off, that is — a subgenre of conservative punditry has arisen. The theme that unites this new category of opinionating is that its authors all call for Republicans to unite around a replacement set of health care reforms.

It’s long been clear that Americans on the right dislike, if not outright despise, the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. Their opposition is ironic for at least two reasons. One is that the conservative Heritage Foundation devised the individual mandate to purchase health insurance that is at the heart of the plan.

The other is that Obamacare is predicated, through that very same individual mandate, upon expanding the customer base of health insurance companies. In other words, the Affordable Care Act is simply not a single-payer system, in which the government assures every citizen a minimal level of health care. And Obamacare really isn’t much of a step toward socialized medicine, which significantly increase government control or regulation of the people and institutions that actually dispense health care.

Back in June, Ramesh Ponnuru published a lengthy essay on the National Review’s website that took conservatives to task for

increasingly embracing [this] theory about Obamacare: It’s going to collapse of its own weight, and its failure could yield a sharp right turn in the 2014 and 2016 elections. That theory is probably wrong, and dangerously so. To be rid of Obamacare, Republicans will have to do more than just wait for it to go away — and more than they have done so far.

Recent public remarks by Obama reinforced Ponnuru’s criticism that GOPers need to get more specific about enacting a replacement for Obamacare. Read the rest of this entry »

The devil’s in the details: Heritage Action for America’s Obamacare poll may not say what Heritage Action for America says it says

August 17, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 17, 2013

There was a lot of buzz Wednesday around the release of a poll by Heritage Action for America, the political action wing of a respected conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation. The telephone poll of 1,000 likely general-election voters in 10 different congressional districts found significant support for defunding the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare. A majority of respondents also said that the prospect of a government shutdown did little to deter their desire to thwart the health care reform law.

Here’s the second paragraph of Heritage Action’s press release:

Independents in the survey strongly support defunding Obamacare by a margin of 57 percent to 34 percent. Further, only 20 percent of voters in these districts support going forward with Obamacare unchanged.

I want to focus on the latter sentence, which says that only a fifth of those surveyed want the health care reform law to be implemented without changes. The pollsters posed this question (see page 3):

Which of the following three views comes closest to your own?

1. I support the health care law, and think it should go forward fully and without changes.

2. I have concerns about the health care law, and think its implementation should be slowed down, and changes should be made to it.

— Or —

3. I oppose the health care law, and think it should be repealed.

Just as the press release states, 20 percent of respondents (200 people) opted for the first answer. The most popular option was the last one, calling for repeal, which 44.5 percent backed. Of the remaining respondents, 32 percent said they want Obamacare to be slowed down and changed, while a handful declined to answer.  Read the rest of this entry »

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