ObamaCare Clusterfuck: "Per beneficiary" limits a loophole insurance companies can drive a truck through?
ObamaCare defenders consistently point to caps on dollar costs as one of the main benefits of ObamaCare. However, via Michael Olenick, from ObamaCare Facts ("dispelling the myths") we read this:
While you may have to meet a certain amount of out-of-pocket expenses (deductible) before essential benefits are covered, the Affordable Care Act prohibits health plans (grandfathered and non-grandfathered) from imposing annual and lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits.
So far so good. Now get this:
Health plans can still however set limits on the number of times you can receive a certain treatment.
Hmm. How can this be? Let's go to the text of the statute; I'm guessing 42 U.S. Code § 300gg–11 - No lifetime or annual limits: Read below the fold...
One of those "world turned upside down" things that keeps happening with the ObamaCare story: Megan McArdle isn't always wrong!
Don't Judge Obamacare by Medicaid Numbers
The latest reports we have on Medicaid enrollment suggest that 6.3 million people had been “deemed eligible” for Medicaid since Obamacare went live Oct. 1. But almost no one thinks that means 6.3 million people have gained new insurance; some of them were already eligible, and some of them won’t have actually signed up.
We don’t know how big the difference is between people who were deemed eligible and people who actually got new insurance. The new report, from health-care consultancy Avalere Health LLC, suggests that the answer is “very big”:
"Avalere estimates that from October through December 2013, between 1.1M and 1.8M people have newly enrolled in Medicaid as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)." ...
This is less than a quarter of the 8 million people that the Congressional Budget Office projected would enroll in Medicaid this year thanks to the health-care overhaul. However, unlike the exchanges, Medicaid will remain open for enrollment year-round, so the administration doesn’t need to sign up all those people in the next two months. We won’t really have a good sense of what this year’s Medicaid numbers will look like until we get data for April and May and see whether Medicaid enrollment falls off the way exchange enrollments are expected to, or whether it remains elevated throughout the year.
Still, this is a good reminder that the early gross data we’re getting from the administration aren’t necessarily a good guide to what the net result will be on insurance coverage.
Soft numbers and sloppy record keeping have been hallmarks of the ObamaCare project from the very beginning. Read below the fold...
The Brief Version
Because of yearly revisions, direct December-January comparisons are dicey. I will just note that, in the business survey, seasonally adjusted 197,000 jobs were added December 2012-January 2013 as compared with 113,000 this month, December 2013-January 2014. Keep in mind that anything below 200,000 is weak, and anything below 150,000 is bad. Read below the fold...
This headline made me think of it again:
The post was a grand tour of the actual cavern where the Democrats keep their dry powder. There were barrels and barrels of the stuff, kept in catacombs, possibly. I recall the post was vaguely like The Inferno, in that the poster had an older and more experienced guide, whose job was to explain why all that powder had to be kept dry. Read below the fold...
Senate hits another dead end on unemployment benefits
The Senate remained gridlocked Thursday over the effort to renew emergency unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless, including more than 1.7 million Americans without work who lost their benefits as the federal program expired in late December.
In a largely party-line vote, Democrats came a single vote shy of the 60-vote hurdle to break a filibuster by Republicans, who complained that the latest proposal did not have a proper offsetting spending cut to lessen the impact on the federal deficit. Additionally, the two sides continued to squabble over procedural matters related to how many amendments the Republicans would be allowed to offer.
Reid, Democrats trigger ‘nuclear’ option; eliminate most filibusters on nominees
In other words, the Democrats were happy to get nuke the filibuster for
patronage nominees in 2013, but not for the unemployed, in 2014. Serious analysis would begin with this fact, not obscure it. Read below the fold...
Yahoo Finance (of all places), "The Exchange" blog:
Walmart, though known as a discounter, may be too expensive for millions of shoppers finding themselves more pinched — not less — as the pace of the so-called recovery accelerates. “Their consumer is shifting downward,” says Joe Brusuelas, chief economist for financial-data firm Bloomberg LP. “The competition for Walmart is changing. It’s now dollar stores.”
Ouch. Read below the fold...
Fascinating article in Modern Farmer:
“People have this idea, because it’s a ‘community’ garden, you’ll have a bunch of people sitting around holding hands, singing ‘Kumbaya,’” says Julie Beals, executive director of the Los Angeles Community Garden Council (LACGC ). “Have you seen an actual community?”
Community gardens make wonderful additions to any city — that’s not in dispute. But let’s face it: Any time strangers mix, you can’t always bank on good behavior. Children’s birthday parties turn into brawls. Subway riders become instant enemies. Department store shopping looks like trench warfare.
Community gardens throw a cross-section of people cheek to cheek, shovel to shovel, on a continual, regular basis. There’s bound to be some issues.
“People never fail to both delight, disappoint and exasperate me,” says Laura Campbell, a community gardener in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “The garden is micro community living — heck, it is Syria, Iraq, USA, Russia — just in plots and plantings.”
Heck, any time neighbors mix, you can't always bank on good behavior! Read below the fold...