November 11, 2013

AP: Agencies ‘Found’ Billions to Get Through Sequestration, But ‘Second Round Will Be a Lot Worse’

Even though government operational outlays didn’t really go down at all in fiscal 2013 compared to fiscal 2012, several government agencies ended up raiding slush funds (my term) to get through sequestration, the tiny reductions in previously increased projected spending which took effect during the second half of the fiscal year.

This evening at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, Andrew Taylor identified some of those slush funds, and dutifully warned the nation about how rough the next round of sequestration will allegedly be during fiscal 2014 (bolds are mine):

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NYT Prints Op-Ed ‘Daring to Complain About Obamacare’; Leftist Wrath Ensues

UPDATE: James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal “wonder(s) if the Times intended the article’s publication as a joke at ObamaCare critics’ expense.” Seems like it takes too many direct shots at uncompassionate liberals for that to be the case, but readers can decide for themselves.

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The guess here is that the folks at the New York Times who screen op-ed submissions for adherence to leftist orthodoxy got caught napping. After all, Lori Gottlieb has written at least one previous column on relationships, where she is described as a “dating coach,” and another very long piece for the Times Magazine on patient-therapist relationships.

So when Gottlieb submitted an item entitled “Daring to Complain About Obamacare,” the gatekeepers may have let it slide through because of who she is, and fully expected that an op-ed with that title would go after people with the unmitigated gall to complain about President Barack Obama’s “signature achievement.” Well, guess what? Gottlieb’s the one who is unhappy with Obamacare, and is shocked — shocked, I tell you — that her liberal friends have no sympathy for the large sum she’ll have to pay next year to stay insured under Obamacare (bolds are mine):

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Press Virtually Ignores Appeals Court Ruling Blocking Obamacare’s Contraception Mandate

The press has been obsessed with the fate of Obamacare’s contraception mandate ever since religious, corporate, and other litigants began challenging it in the courts.

So what explains the fact that a search on “Korte” at the Associated Press’s national site and at the New York Times return nothing and nothing relevant, respectively? Or that there are only nine stories at Google News in a search on “Korte contraception court” (not in quotes), only two of them from establishment press outlets, on the Friday Appeals Court ruling in Chicago in Korte vs. Sebelius? That’s easy. It didn’t go the “right” way, and the ruling appears to have been significant. Excerpts from the coverage at the Wall Street Journal, one of those two establishment press outlets, follow the jump:

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HealthCare.gov Alternative Built in THREE DAYS, For Free

Filed under: Health Care,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:32 am

TheHealthSherpa.com is here.

It’s free, and the guys who developed it aren’t planning on making money on it — though they should be getting a commission from Team Obama for helping to disseminate “the right information.”

You can get Obamacare plan and subsidy info without giving up any of your private info.

All you need is a zip code, your age, and an income if you want to look into a subsidy.

Though they did get a CBS Evening News story, the guys who put this together — Michael Wasser, Ning Liang, and George Kalogeropoulos — should be household names by now.

Townhall’s Mike Shedlock had some problems with the alternative site a couple of days ago.

I didn’t have any problems at all. Answers came back instantly. Clicking on “How to Buy” for each plan led to specific instructions on how to contact the carrier.

This should be a profound embarrassment to Barack Obama, Kathleen Sebelius and HealthCare.gov developers.

It also should be cause for profound taxpayer anger. Exactly what are we spending hundreds of millions of dollars on?

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UPDATE: It even splits zip codes into individual counties when necessary.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (111113)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

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At Reason (HT Rick Moran at PJ Media):

Obamacare Leaves Doctors On the Hook for Deadbeats
The Affordable Care Act doles out three months of free health care to individuals who choose to default on their premiums; providers and insurers pick up the tab.

People who receive the federal subsidy to be part of Obamacare will be allowed to incur a three-month “grace period” if they can’t pay their premiums and then simply cancel their policies, stiffing the doctors and hospitals.

… Under Section 156.270 of the Affordable Care Act, the insured needs to pay a premium for just one month before qualifying for the three-month grace period. The insurance company must pay the claims during the first month of the grace period; during the second and third month doctors and hospitals are left to collect unpaid bills.

Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas: “It will help break the system. … you will break the system and bankrupt people involved.”

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Here is a New York Post update of this Saturday BizzyBlog post about David Axelrod’s childish Friday afternoon tweet (“Wonder how many Insurance cos that sold junk policies after ACA was signed told customers at purchase that they’d have to eventually switch?”):

Blame game as insurers dump doctors

The nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealthcare, claims the Affordable Care Act is responsible for forcing it to boot doctors from its Medicare Advantage program that serves thousands of elderly patients in the New York metro region.

CEO Jack Larsen, under fire for separating seniors from their MDs, took out full-page ads to explain that cuts in Medicare spending forced the ­insurer’s hand.

Humana predicted in 2009 that Medicare Advantage plans would be jeopardized by Obamacare, and the administration, of which Axelrod was a part, intimidated the company (and the rest of the industry) into silence.

Humana was right. The admininstration was wrong, and, as has been shown to be the case with Obama’s “you can keep it” guarantee, I believe it knew it was wrong.

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There will be more of this in the coming months: “Maryland delaying their small-business exchange until April”

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Judiciary Gone Mad: “TX School Says Cheerleaders Part of Government So Their Speech Can Be Controlled.” This situation involved the school suing its own cheerleaders for including Bible verses on banners at their football games.

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Sarah Palin was right, Number ___ (I’ve lost count) (HT Wesley Smith at National Review): “From Eugene to Eugenics: Oregon’s new cost-cutting strategy is to deny care to cancer patients”

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I love this reaction to a stupid proabort play which its creator admits contains made-up content because she couldn’t find enough damning material in her year of undercover spying on pro-lifers (bolds are mine):

Just when we thought we saw the craziest of the crazy that the abortion movement had to offer this July in Austin, Texas, we got this: MOM BABY GOD, a new play created to fictionalize the work of Students for Life of America and some of our compatriots in the pro-life movement.

Some have asked if I’m upset by the creation of the play — that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s an honor to know that seeing 2,000-plus young people at the largest pro-life conference in America is cause for great concern for pro-abortion advocates. They should be worried.

Students for Life has helped start over 600 pro-life student groups in the last seven years, and we are currently working with over 760 active groups across the nation. No pro-abortion organization comes close in size to our grassroots momentum. All of the polling data is on our side. Technology is on our side.

We know this is the pro-life generation. They can try to mock us all they want, but the facts won’t change.

Positivity: History of Veterans Day

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

Thanks to all who have served our country in the Armed Forces.

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History of Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”

… Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.