December 13, 2013

Tiny Vermont Gets $208 Million to Build Disastrous Obamacare Exchange; Where Are the Watchdogs?

In mid-November, Americans for Tax Reform compiled a list of federal spending on state Obamacare exchanges totaling a breathtaking $4.5 billion.

One number on the list stands out from the rest — and it’s not California’s, though its $910 million amout is awful, disproportionate, and surely highly wasteful (before considering scalability concerns, the fixed costs of building a web site should be close to the same regardless of a state’s population). The big eye-catcher is tiny Vermont’s staggering $208 million. The nation’s second-least populous state (626,000 as of 2012) has 0.2 percent of the U.S. population, but has received 4.6 percent of grants from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Though the Green Mountain State’s enrollment numbers have been among the country’s least embarrassing on percentage of the population, its exchange’s rollout has in many ways been as bad, if not worse, than HealthCare.gov’s, according to a December 10 Vermont Public Radio report which has garnered very little attention (HT Megan McArdle at Bloomberg News; bolds are mine):

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Not News Outside Connecticut: Every Plan on State’s Obamacare Exchange Had Wrong Information for a Full Month

Searches on “Connecticut” at the Associated Press’s national site and at the Politico indicate that there’s plenty of news about the Nutmeg State which the two web sites believe merit national attention.

But somehow, the fact that the state’s Obamacare exchange, Access Health CT, “had incorrect information online about deductibles and co-insurance impacting all 19 individual health plans from the three insurance companies that offer those plans” doesn’t merit attention. Further indicating the development’s national significance, as David Steinberg at PJ Media has noted, President Barack Obama himself cited Access Health CT as a success story in supposedly getting one-third of its enrollees from people who are 35 and younger (also not true) back on October 21. More verbiage from the story, as reported in the Hartford Courant by Fox Connecticut’s Louisa Moller, follows the jump:

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For Sochi Olympics, NBC Hires Soviet Union Apologist Who Called Its 1979 Invasion ‘Honoring Our Commitment’

Earlier this week, NBC Sports announced that “Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Posner (also frequently spelled “Pozner”) will be a correspondent for NBC Olympics’ late-night show with Bob Costas during the Sochi Games.”

To call Posner’s background “problematic” is like saying that Bob Filner, former Democratic Mayor of San Diego, has a bit of a problem with how he treats members of the opposite sex. Posner is an old hand at defending and dissembling the worst excesses of the Soviet Union, including but not limited to the following exchange from 1980 cited by Lisa de Moraes at Deadline.com on Wednesday (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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Latest PJ Media Column (‘Another Week, Another Trio of Obamacare Outrages’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:32 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Sunday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (121313)

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.

Positivity: Home for the holidays: Entrepreneur gives away his air miles to those who can’t afford to fly back to families at Christmas

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From the UK Daily Mail (HT Daryn Kagan):

An entrepreneur is making Christmas wishes come true after donating his air miles to those unable to return home for the holidays.

From servicemen and cash-strapped college students to families who have a sick relative and a Marine wanting to propose, 25 round trip flights were handed out by Peter Shankman.

The businessman was originally able to help only six people, but as his goodwill spread, airlines and other companies added to his generosity. …

Go here for the rest of the story.