January 5, 2014

Politico Lets Admin Turn Obamacare’s 7 Million Enrollment Target Into ‘Suggestions’

In June, the Politico’s Jennifer Haberkorn filed a report with the following headline: “Kathleen Sebelius: Exchange enrollment goal is 7 million by end of March.” She reported in her first two paragraphs that “7 million” is “how many people the Obama administration hopes to enroll in its new health insurance marketplaces by the end of March.”

Apparently that clearly expressed target isn’t supposed to matter now, and the White House is trying to pretend that it never existed. Of course, the press, including the Politico, has been helping them. On December 11, Carrie Budoff Brown and Jason Millman “The White House is now trying to affix another label to the estimate: meaningless,” but that it might be too late. It turned out not to be too late for Politico’s David Nather, who on January 1 turned the target into “suggestions” in an item which hysterically opened by claiming that “Obamacare just got real” (bolds are mine throughout this post):
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Gregory Lets His Slip Show: Obamacare ‘Unravels,’ But (Oops!) Not ‘In a Bad Way’

When something important is falling apart — say a relationship or a business idea — it’s not always easy to keep up appearances. After all, one still has the occasional private conversation with close friends and confidants where the truth gets acknowledged, even when one doesn’t want the rest of the public to know about it.

Meet the Press host David Gregory appears to have forgotten for the briefest moment that he was not in private but in the public eye this morning. As blogger Ann Althouse noted (HT Instapundit; MTP transcript here), Gregory had the following to say at the conclusion of a segment whose purpose was supposedly “to get beyond some of these political arguments over Obamacare here in Washington” by interviewing “two top leaders in the medical field from the hospitals mentioned by the president to give us their insights on the future of Obamacare” (bolds is mine):

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Five Myths Propping Up the Obama Presidency

How many will crash by November 2014?

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This column went up at PJ Media late Thursday night and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Friday morning.

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As 2013 ends, President Barack Obama’s approval rating is at its lowest point in his five-year tenure. Imagine where it would be if the establishment press treated him the way it did George W. Bush.

The president’s media apparatchiks are propping up what’s remains of the President’s popularity with five myths.

1. The economy has become strong, and getting stronger.

Media reports have been calling recent job gains “robust.” Hardly. This year’s estimated job growth of almost 2.4 million is still only 60 percent of what was achieved annually on a population-adjusted basis for a full six years during the 1980s:

2013JobGrowthVs1983to1988

Job growth should be far greater, because there is still so much ground to make up from the disastrous POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy-driven recession of 2008-2009.

It’s bad enough that payroll employment is still 1.3 million below its January 2008 peak. It’s worse that employment in the Household Survey is 2 million shy of where it was in that same month. If we’re lucky and this plodding progress continues, it will have taken almost seven years for that more comprehensive measure of employment to return to where it was before the recession began — and several more years, if ever, before a recovery in employment catches up to eligible adult population growth.

Almost 40 percent of the reported economic growth during the first three quarters of 2013 came about because of inventory build-ups. Tentative results from the recent Christmas shopping season show that consumers haven’t been buying enough to significantly deplete those stockpiles. That does not bode well for production during the fourth quarter or early 2014.

2. The government’s finances have stabilized.

We’re supposed to be impressed that the Federal Reserve will only be creating $900 billion a year in funny money instead of $1.02 trillion. The truth remains, as outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress in July, that without this historically unprecedented level of artificial stimulus, “the economy would tank.”

The Fed’s decision to barely taper its stimulus to $75 billion per month from $85 billion is really a vote of no confidence in the government’s ability to survive on its own. Before the taper, the Fed was financing $540 billion, or about half, of the government’s annual trilion-dollar 2012 deficit (the rest goes into sopping up mortgage-backed securities). The taper only reduces that to $480 billion, which is about 80 percent of the government’s projected fiscal 2014 deficit. This means that Bernanke & Co., soon to be Janet Yellen & Co., believe that precious few others want to own additional Treasury securities. They are probably right.

3. Obamacare will work out.

Most of the impact of Obama’s “Lie of the Year,” better described as a five-year series of dozens of lies — that “if you like your insurance plan, doctor, medical provider, and drug regimen, you can keep them” — has yet to hit home.

We have no idea how many of Obamacare’s vaunted 2 million enrollees will actually pay their premiums.

We have no idea how many will game the system by paying a single month’s premium and then milking the system at insurers’ and providers’ expense for another 60-90 days, as regulations now permit.

We have no idea if the government will ever be able to build the infrastructure elements it from all appearances deliberately chose not to build, including but certainly not limited to a legitimately secure web site and a system for paying tax subsidies to insurance companies.

We have no idea whether several states, e.g., Iowa, Maryland, Oregon, and others, can recover from their own calamitous rollouts.

We have no idea what the extent of the government-caused — and I would argue, likely government-orchestrated — chaos will be once patients who believe they have enrolled and are covered show up at doctors’ offices and find out they aren’t.

Finally, we have no idea how big the health insurance industry’s shortfall will be once it begins paying out claims. That there will be a shortfall is a virtual certainty, because Obamacare’s enrollees have from all appearances been older and sicker than the general population, and the program has utterly failed to sign up healthy young people in sufficient numbers. Whatever the deficit is, I certainly hope that people who should know better stop calling it a “bailout” when the government has to reimburse the industry. Though they seriously erred in failing to fight the law before it was passed, this disaster is not their fault.

4. We’re running out of time to stop global warming.

Even though we’re at 17 years and counting of no net increase in global temperatures, the Environmental Protection Agency still acts as if warming is settled science, and silences any dissent against dogma. Companies are being driven out of business and workers are losing their jobs because “scientists” would rather rely of faulty computer models than look out their windows.

5. Our “smart diplomacy” is holding our enemies at bay.

The administration continues to slavishly adhere to a long list of naive ideas about foreign relations.

In the real world, Iran continues to make progress towards possessing nuclear weapons. North Korea continues its attempts to delivering such weapons. The situation in Iraq, the war we won in 2008, is decaying. China and Russia are clearly emboldened. The White House and Secretary of State John Kerry are either okay with all of this, or clueless. Meanwhile, our military is being depleted and demoralized.

It seems likely that by fall the public, despite the press’s best efforts to cover up and obfuscate what’s really happening, will figure out that two or more of these five myths are utter fictions. This will make congressional and senatorial elections especially dangerous endeavors for Democrats and leftists throughout the land. Just how dangerous depends on how aggressively the President’s opponents work to expose the truth and overcome their annoying go-along, get-along tendencies.

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (010514)

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: We share in Mary’s ‘journey of faith,’ says Pope

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Jan 1, 2014 / 05:12 am

Pope Francis’ homily for the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God emphasized Mary’s path of faith and hope as an example for all Christians.

“The message of hope contained in this (God’s) blessing was fully realized in a woman, Mary, who was destined to become the Mother of God, and it was fulfilled in her before any other creature,” he said on Jan. 1 to the congregation gathered for mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“Our journey of faith is the same as that of Mary, and so we feel that she is particularly close to us.”

After the mass, Pope Francis led the traditional Angelus prayer, pausing to give a brief message for the World Day of Peace which also falls on January 1.

“On this first day of the year, the Lord helps us to journey with more decisiveness on the way of justice and of peace…peace, in fact, requires the strength of gentleness, the nonviolent strength of truth and love,” he explained.

Full text of the Pope’s homily, below:

In the first reading we find the ancient prayer of blessing which God gave to Moses to hand on to Aaron and his sons: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num 6:24-26). There is no more meaningful time than the beginning of a new year to hear these words of blessing: they will accompany our journey through the year opening up before us. They are words of strength, courage and hope. Not an illusory hope, based on frail human promises, or a naïve hope which presumes that the future will be better simply because it is the future. Rather, it is a hope that has its foundation precisely in God’s blessing, a blessing which contains the greatest message of good wishes there can be; and this is the message which the Church brings to each of us, filled with the Lord’s loving care and providential help. …

Go here for the rest of the story.