Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Long May It Waive

The government has never been shy about paying big bucks for cute mascots to help popularize important issues. And now Smokey the Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, and Woodsy the Owl are being joined by a new iconic cartoon figure who genuinely speaks to our times: The Obamacare Waver!

This jolly fellow exists to remind us that over 1000 businesses (encompassing some 2.6 million people) are now saving
huge amounts of money on healthcare thanks to the fact that they've all been granted waivers which allow them to escape the alleged president's unaffordable plan for at least a year.

Virtually all of those people currently have insurance...and virtually
all of them would lose it under the president's plan because it calls for either great coverage or no coverage. And unsurprisingly, many employers simply can't afford to give great coverage to part-time and minimum-wage workers.

According to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the Obamacare waivers are being granted because "We don't want to take away people's health insurance before they have some realistic other choices.” And therein lies the problem: there
are no realistic "other choices" because no insurance company can stay in business if forced to charge Dollar Store prices which won't cover their out-of-pocket expenses...no matter how Mr. Obama and the Democrats try to cook the books.

Which is why "The Obamacare Waver" isn't the
only new mascot the government will be introducing in this high-stakes, budget-battling year. Get ready for "Swampy McDeficit - The Bookkeeping Crock!"

Swampy Sez: "Obamacare doesn't add one dime to the deficit!"

Update 3/9/11 - The federal government has just given a three-year Obamacare waiver to the state of Maine, while acknowledging that enforcing Obamacare in that state could "destabilize the state's market for health insurance."

Specifically, Maine's largest health insurance company (insuring 37% of the people) was simply going to pull out of the state because Obamacare made it economically unfeasible to stay in business.
We salute the state of Maine, and encourage the alleged president to sign those other 49 state waivers as soon as possible.


StupidLiberal said...

Have I ever told you that I LOVE your cherry-picking skills? I mean really, you should have been a farmer. Had I not read the article you linked, I would have had no idea that these waivers were temporary and for companies that run mini-med plans. Had I taken you at your word, it would've been easy to assume that these waivers last forever, but that would be untrue. You wouldn't need to state things in an untrue way, or a way that tends to skew the truth, to support your absurd opinions, would you Stil?

Angry Hoosier Dad said...

And because there are no other choices and private insurance will cease to exist, everybody will eventually end up on the public option (misnamed - it's no option at all). These waivers are a temporary hiccup in the Obamacare plan that was never meant to control costs; it's meant to control us.

robert said...

My health insurance company went out of business as of 12/31/2010. It took zero care less than a year to put them out of business. They wrote a letter and said that in eight months costs had risen so high, so fast, that there was no way they could realistically keep up. They had been in business 127 years!! ONE HUNDRED TWENTY SEVEN YEARS!!!

It took king hussein less than a year to destroy them. Thanks a lot neo-communists!

But since I have been rolled over into a far inferior plan ALL of my costs have at least doubled! I guess that's what our king meant by costs were going to go down. But I guess he is too freaking STUPID to know the difference between MORE and LESS!

Worst king EVER!

Sorry about the yelling. But I'm still a little pissed.

Earl said...

Stupid Liberal-Stilton's comments point out the waivers last "at least a year." For you to take Stilton "at his word" and presume that "these waivers last forever" shows me you're aptly named.

John the Econ said...

Don't worry robert, a lot more are certain to be pissed in the very near future. And hopefully they will be taking that wrath out upon the legislators that were not purged in 2010.

I hope people understand what is happening here. The majority of these "waivers" have gone to companies or groups who have been supportive to the Obama administration. For those who are still under the impression that we are a nation of laws that apply equally to all, this should be a wake-up call. What good living in a land of "rule of law" if an Administration is allowed "waivers" to grant exceptions to any individuals or groups who garner its favor? Who is safe and who gets to benefit?

Within the next few days, I'll be receiving the annual letter from my insurance company telling me exactly how much my premium will be going up next month. Last year, it was 20%. I can only imagine how much it will be this year now that they've had time to factor in the costs of all of the new benefits mandated by Obamacare. (Benefits that mainly benefit others than myself, by the way)

At the current rate of growth, within a few years my health care costs will eclipse my housing costs, with no end in sight! At some point, I, like millions of others will be one of the "uninsured" that this law was meant to eliminate.

Alise said...

It's "Smokey Bear," not "Smokey the Bear."

Rick said...

If McGruff the Crime Dog says "Take a bite out of crime" does Swampy McDeficit say "Take a bite out of the Constitution"? or perhaps he just says "Bite Me America!"

Anonymous said...

I, too, have lost my insurance company of many years. They completely pulled out of the private health insurance market, sending out letters stating that the decision was a direct result of the new healthcare laws. My new insurance is 30% higher with insane co-pays (I now have a pile of co-pay bills waiting to be paid, ranging from $250-$1600) My son has kidney problems and is only 6 months old. I'm not rich, but my medical costs have already surpassed my housing costs, averaging $1300-$1500 per month. I've taken a second job to cover this. None of this was necessary before Obama's "reform", and it's only getting worse. I'm honestly scared and I don't know what to do.

John the Econ said...

Don't worry Anonymous. ObamaCare was designed to destroy what was left of the private marketplace for health care. The damage is already mostly done. Once the Progressives declare "mission accomplished", they will propose what they've planned all along; the comprehensive "single payer" plan; That's where the government will pick up the entire tab and you'll supposedly no longer have to pay anything. (Of course, as the British and Canadians have long known, that approach just introduces a whole lot of new kinds of problems) Since there will no longer be a private marketplace, a desperate public will reluctantly go along with it.

Personally, I'm ready for it. My soon-to-be single largest monthly bill will go away, along with most of the pre-deductible cost that I currently pay out-of-pocket. In a few more years when my home is paid off, my two largest monthly expenses will be gone. Since income taxes will be going through the roof to pay for this, there will be little incentive to work any more than what is required to qualify for the misnamed "Earned Income Tax Credit".

Until recently, I never expected that I'd actually be able to retire early. Not only that, but everyone else who can't will get to pay for my health care!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

StupidLiberal- Let's see, I specifically STATE that the waivers last one year, I specifically STATE that we're talking (largely but not exclusively) about part-timers and minimum-wage types who are getting minimal (but existing) healthcare coverate, AND I give you a link to a more detailed article. And then you accuse me of being a liar because you can't understand what you're reading?

You, sir or madam (or more likely something in-between) are an idiot. And if you can't understand five simple paragraphs of plain speaking, I'm pretty sure you have no cogent insights into a 2000 page healthcare bill that you couldn't possibly understand, and have certainly never read.

I hope you bring greater attention to detail in your alleged job as an engineer. What's your specialty - "O Rings" for space shuttles?

Earl- Thanks for spanking the troll before I had my morning cup of coffee. Don't forget to wash your hands.

John the Econ- Isn't it funny that the groups getting waivers who aren't dealing with "mini-med" plans are the unions and other political cronies of Obama? Isn't it funny that they want to escape from something that's supposed to be so good for everyone? And of course it's not funny at all. Just like the existing tax system, the Obamacare system will become another way to deliver political gifts and paybacks at the expense of the taxpayers. It's one thing when a policy becomes corrupted over time, but it's especially dispiriting when one is created with the corruption built in.

Robert & Anonymous- Wow, real people suffering real hardships and real cost increases. Believe me, I feel (and share) your pain. Obamacare has been created as "step one" to eliminate private health insurance, plain and simple. And even if it can be stopped, many companies (and doctors) will already be gone, never to return.

Andrew said...

Obamacare is a multiple-steps process, and we're now at Step One--phasing out/destroying the accountable, consumer-chosen insurance companies, many of whom do date back to the Victorian era.
The waivers to unions and other major Obama contributors (or future contributors for 2012) are just ' the Chicago Way'--Hizzoner and the Ward Bosses can find an exemption to their odious new regulations for you, it just costs you the right sized envelope of bribes, er, contributions. SOP.
On a practical basis, we the peons are all intended to wind up on Medicaid....the 'direct option'. And Medicaid is after all good enough for the core of Obama's constituency.
And at Step One, my insurer is also hiking premiums, hiking copays and threatening to cease operating altogether. Looks like they're continuing for now in hopes Obamacare will get a GOP repeal. The way Boehner is dithering back to business-as-usual, I'm not holding much hope.

I think we'll all be seeing a lot more of Swampy. Looks like he might not be voiced by Matt Damon, though. Maybe Charlie Sheen? ("Obamacare! WINNING!")

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Alise- It's "Smokey the Bear" to his friends. The Smokester and I go way back. Good times.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Andrew- Yes, we're all intended to end up on Medicaid. And has anyone looked at the magnificent care available through that program lately? Plainly, Obamacare won't improve either the quality of, or access to, medical treatment. But it will redistribute the nation's wealth, which was always the primary goal.

Andrew said...

I will add that my personal G.P., a genuinely idealist young Doc from Jamaica who was all elated about both Obama and Obamacare, is now considering leaving the practice of medicine. She's run the numbers and doesn't see how she can afford to stay in business under Obamacare--even though she isn't in it primarily for the bucks.
She makes the third M.D. I know who's quitting medicine. (And I don't hang out with a lot of doctors, so this feels like quite a 'tell'.) They're in an ironic position--med schools will be swamped with resumes and few openings, insurance companies will cease to exist, and the future of professional-expert-witness looks shaky once the Government becomes the sole provider. Look for an exodus of US doctors --but to where?

Andrew said...

(Secretly StupidLiberal, sorry Andrew.)

Woah, talk about anger issues! Chill out Stil, I thought you were supposed to be a humorist, not a aggressive and deeply dogmatic "guy" afraid of the world that is trying to con others into being just as afraid as he is hiding behind the title of satirist. Right?

Sorry if I misunderstood your attempt to twist words to fit your own mangled opinions. When you say "at least" another year, that assumes that there's a logical "at most" paramter related to what your talking about. I shouldn't really be too insulted though, anyone who really doubts Obama's legitimacy as a US citizen obviously has no concept of words like "logic" or "reality".

The article that you reference clearly, and explicitly mentions the waiver as one year waivers, and does not attempt to push an agenda by adding value statements to what is otherwise objective fact.

But, by all means, continue to ban my username. I'm not at all creative enough to come up with a new one. It's not as if you can have real discourse, when everyone that comments on your blog completely agrees with you. That's just hanging out with yes-men, and you sir, must have to much integrity to do that. Right?

Pete(Detroit) said...

Stilt, you shouldn't really be too insulted though, anyone who really believes Obama's policies are remotely good for the country obviously has no concept of words like "logic" or "reality".

SLib, the reason this (and most blogs) turn into 'echo chambers' is that the people who hang out and contribute TEND to have similar views / beliefs (see also HuffPo, DailyKos, etc) - and, in the case of this particular blog, people tend to back up opinions w/ facts, or get called on it. Sure, it's all about 'if we didn't laugh, we'd have to cry' looking at the absurdity of life lately, but jumping in and being rude for no reason is just annoying. If you were interested in having reasoned discourse I'm sure there are several who would engage, but walking in and randomly flinging poo around impresses no one.
Well, no one that I know of, anyway.

As far as the topic of the day goes, I've said for a long time, if you want cheaper medical care, pay cash. When people are actively engaged in keeping costs low they will a) seek out low cost providers, b) practice preventive living. Face it, the largest slice of "health care" expenses are related to diet, exercise, smoking, and other personal decisions. When people have incentive to control the things they can, they will. When 'someone else' (the insurance, the gummint) picks up the tab, there *is* no incentive. Well, ok, there's feeling WELL, but that's clearly not incentive enough for all the schlebs out there...

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

StupidStupidStupidLiberal- I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Here on Blogspot, moderators don't have the ability to ban a username, which means that despite your alleged engineering degree, you're simply failing to figure out how to make a post. I'm not doing anything at all.

"Anger issues?" Well, I'll concede that it angers me to be called a liar, and it still chafes even when the accuser is a demonstrable nitwit and foodstamp thief.

Note that I'm a "humorist" not a "comedian." There are lots of different kinds of humor, and lots of ways to use it. I'm using it to make instructive points about politics which are apparently a bit above your reading level.

And you still claim that the reason you "misunderstood" my commentary is because I was twisting words and mangling meanings...and cite as your only example that I said "at least one year" instead of "just one year and never ever again," which is how you'd like to imagine the waivers work.

And it doesn't take a bevy of "yes men" to have everyone agree with you. You just have to be right.

Now, as I said, I haven't (and can't) ban the username "StupidLiberal." The fault is entirely on your end. And you can post under that name, or any name you want. But if you use another user's name and I figure it out, I'll nuke your post immediately. And if you continue to ascribe your inability to understand English to lies on my part, I'll similarly nuke your post.

I don't particularly mind swatting intellectual flies, but it's not fair to the other readers for me to give you too much time and space if you have nothing substantive to say.

Pete(Detroit)- Thank you for restoring sanity to today's thread. (grin)

Colby_Muenster said...

Anybody wanna bet that StupidLiberal is a Union guy who is a beneficiary of the "Waver?" Or maybe he (she?) has friends that got in on the action? Whatever....

I think it's freaking funny as hell that he, she keeps accusing Stilton of giving him, her the boot.

Stilton, ain't it great when your adversary manages to defeat themselves? Although, it's sort of a letdown. Sort of like out-thinking a four year old. Yeah, it's fun, but not so gratifying in the end.

I too, have already felt the Obamacare corn-holing. My co-pays and weekly health payments went way the hell up this year, and the awesome, highly rated surgeon that was going to do my neck surgery has now quit and opened up a machine shop.

Everybody remember, use some RIGHT guard because BO stinks.

Pete(Detroit) said...

Colby - RIGHT guard - NICE!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Colby_Muenster- I'll have to admit to a slight case of schadenfreude when I think of SL punching the wrong keys on the computer keyboard, then deciding it must be a conspiracy preventing the greatness of his post.

Sorry to hear about your surgeon, but not surprised. These stories are everywhere now. When you take the profit incentive out of any industry, it dies. It's obvious to anyone who has ever been even remotely involved in running a business. Which is why neither Obama nor his advisors know it or believe it.

graylady said...

You all are right, Obamacare wants Nieman Marcus care at Dollar General prices. Impossible. I'm just praying my cardiologist hangs in there longer than I do.

commoncents said...

THANK YOU for posting this! I always enjoy visiting your blog!!

Common Cents

pryorguy said...

woohooooo! love it!!!!

Just another Dave said...

Pete made a great point: pay cash. I once told a doctor that I was going to pay cash for an exam rather than mess with the insurance; he reduced my bill by 25% with my asking! I guess that was his overhead in dealing with the insurance company.

And Stilt, I'm with Alise: Smokey's middle name is not "The" ... despite the song lyrics.


Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Just Another Dave- Many medical providers will now offer services at cutrate cash prices rather than dealing with insurance or Medicare. Which just goes to show how much of the average person's medical dollar is going to bureaucracies and not actual treatment.

JustaJeepGuy said...

Was it ever a "feature" of Obamacare that doctors wouldn't be able to accept cash for medical work? I thought I had read that somewhere. The idea of the "Health Savings Account" would facilitate paying cash for medical purposes, but I think the socialists don't like that idea either, as it won't help buy any votes from the unions/welfare people. I guess it won't help redistribute wealth either, which is the entire point of Obamacare, isn't it?

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

JustaJeepGuy- I'm not sure about the "no cash" rule, but I can say with certainty that Obamacare has restrictions which largely cripple Health Savings Accounts. For instance, people with HSAs used to be able to buy a bottle of aspirin using their HSA money (which is their money, which they've saved in a tax-free account). Under Obamacare, that isn't acceptable unless the person first gets a prescription from a doctor for the bottle of aspirin. So now that $3 bottle of aspirin will also require an expensive doctor visit, will take the doctor's time (and decrease the doctor's availability for other patients), and take up the time of the patient (who just wants his or her headache to go away).

At which point, the person will say "to hell with my HSA" and close it out...which is, indeed, what Obama wants. HSAs reward responsibility, and put choices into peoples' hands. Which is the opposite of what this administration wants.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Update for StupidLiberal- Good news and bad news. I did some digging around, and discovered that your earlier attempts to post comments went into my Spam filter. And note that I can't turn off the Spam filter, nor tell it what to filter (by all means look at Blogger's policies and you'll see this is the case).

The bad news is that it's the content of your comments that seems to be triggering Blogger's spam filter. They don't share their exact screening methods (because that would help the spammers), but their listed spam policies suggest that they'll remove posts which are believed to contain angry or hate-filled rhetoric.

Which, rather magically and quite delightfully, seemed to eliminate much of what you wanted to say. Bottom line: if you express yourself politely, even when disagreeing, the odds will be better that Blogger won't automatically remove your messages.

JustaJeepGuy said...

It's the rare liberal who expresses him/herself politely when disagreeing with anyone, especially someone who's stated the truth.

Pete(Detroit) said...

And that explains why they're SO rare here...

JustaJeepGuy said...

Oh, and another point about HSAs: they're not taxed. That's the rub for Barack Hussein and the Demo_rats. If the HSA were taxable they wouldn't object so much. But of course, what would then be the point of the HSA?