RH Lee

Richard Henry Lee raised a troop of Virginia militia, was elected their leader, and marched the troop to join the colonial forces in the French & Indian War. He later served in the Virginia House of Burgesses, the First Continental Congress, and was elected the first State Senator from Virginia following the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. He was an avid supporter of states rights and individual freedom.

Why Has The ObamaCare Enrollment Failed?

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Why Has The ObamaCare Enrollment Failed?

It’s not because of errors in the rollout. It’s not because the website was horrible. It’s not because the Republicans opposed it.  It’s not because the Democrats passed it through political maneuvering that bypassed the normal procedural process of the US Senate.

The reason is more at the heart of the entire rationale and justification that Mr. Obama and his people advanced from the very beginning of their campaign for health care reform.  Namely, it is because the facts that were screamed at us by the Obama Administration and their supporters both in the political world as in the main stream media were fallacious from the very start.

The statistics that Obama and his cronies were so fond of quoting back when they were pushing for passage of health care reform were that approximately 15% of Americans were uninsured. Unfortunately that was merely a shadow of the actual truth. Leaders of the health care industry tried to tell the Obama-ites that, but the main stream media shouted down the blasphemous cries of the people who really knew the facts about the numbers.

Of that 15% of our population, those 45 million uninsured that we heard about ad nauseum, nearly 1/3, or 15 million could have afforded care and were qualified to get it based on the insurance underwriting procedures then in place, but just didn’t want it. They had no interest, didn’t feel they needed it, so they didn’t buy it. Nothing much has changed – they still don’t want it and they haven’t bought it.

Another 1/3 of that oft-quoted number, another 15 million, were already qualified for government supported medical insurance programs such as MediCal and Healthy Families (in California) but had so little interest that they simply hadn’t bothered to apply! That 15 million still aren’t interested and still haven’t bothered to apply.

The final 1/3, the last 15 million of the “famous” 45 million, who either couldn’t afford it or couldn’t qualify for it, were truly in need. What is the biggest surprise to me (I’ve been in the health insurance industry for over 35 years) is that less than 1/2 of those who I fully expected to be very excited about and to enroll in with alacrity haven’t done anything either. Perhaps as time passes they may, perhaps the system may get easier to navigate, or the “mandate penalty tax” may motivate some – but by and large the result has been what America has seen for many years in many instances.

The proverbial bottom line is that government legislation – whether it be banning alcohol or marijuana, dictating speed limits, or mandating health insurance – can’t force people to do something that they simply don’t want to do. It’s as simple as that.  Americans don’t want ObamaCare, and all Mr. Obama’s whining and crusading and main stream media support can’t change that hard fact, not even one tiny little bit.

Obamacare question

The President Who Cried Wolf!

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“The boy President who Cried Wolf”

When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.”
― Thomas Jefferson

 

All the world remembers last September when President Obama proclaimed that Syria, by launching gas attacks on their own people, had crossed a “red line” which America would not tolerate. The President then went on to announce that he had “determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.”

This was a clear and powerful statement by the President, one which reverberated across America and indeed the world, giving notice that there was a point at which we would not back down.

Unfortunately, it proved to be a rather hollow statement. As of this date, nearly half a year later, the situation in Syria is unresolved, and Mr. Obama’s statement proved to be on the edge of completely meaningless.  Syria missed the December 31 deadline to remove the most dangerous of their chemical weapons, then missed the second deadline for removal of weapons on February 5. They’re now over a week past the March 1 timeframe which Russia promised Syria would achieve in moving towards the final steps in the negotiations to remove their chemical weapons as concluded last fall.

Now, six months after his famous – or will it go down in history as infamous? – “red line” speech, he is again threatening sanctions, this time against Russia herself!

I can just imagine how Russian President Putin is quaking in his shoes after hearing Mr. Obama’s threats to “impose a cost” on Russia for its incursion into the Ukraine?

Or is it more likely that, having watched Mr. Obama’s blustering approach to the Syrian issue which accomplished next to nothing, Mr. Putin is probably chuckling softly to himself, convinced that the threats he’s hearing from the White House are about as meaningful as the ObamaCare websites were functional back on October 1.

That’s the problem with making big bombastic statements which are followed up by inaction – you set a precedent for the future, and people stop listening when you make threats.

I guess no one ever told Mr. Obama the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

wolf

Barack Obama is Not a Liberal

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I am disgusted by the Democrat refrain that Barack Obama is the “savior of the middle class.”

The true saviors of the people of America were our Founding Fathers who created this nation.

They broke away from the record of virtually all previous human civilizations since the dawn of history which were ruled by the elite for the benefit of the elite. Whether in Europe, Africa, Asia, or the Americas, for countless centuries the elite ran things for themselves while the vast bulk of the population existed merely to serve their needs. Does anyone think that the rulers of Babylon, Egypt, China, Japan, the Incas, the Aztec, the Mayans, the Mali Empire, the Roman Empire, the European kings of the Middle Ages ran their countries for the benefits of the “common man?”   If you do, I would suggest you go back and study your world history, for they most emphatically did not.

It was only with the creation of the United States did that change.  Only in America was a government first instituted with the primary goal being that of preserving the rights and freedoms of the common citizen.

Our Constitution established a national government of the people, for the people and by the people. Our Bill of Rights guarantees the rights of Americans to freedoms such as the Freedom of Speech, of the Press, of Religion, to Keep and Bear Arms, from Unreasonable Search and Seizure.  The Founding Fathers crowned their creation of that Bill of Rights with the 10th Amendment’s clear and unambiguous statement that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Constitution both protects the people from the potentially abusive power of the government while simultaneously protecting the individual states from that same potentially abusive power of the federal government.  The individual states banded together to form a union, but with the 9th Amendment to the Constitution they sought to preserve their own integrity, to ensure that their rights were not usurped by the federal entity of which all states became sovereign members.

Why did our forefathers include this guarantee that the ultimate power must reside with the states?  Because they knew that the smaller state governments were closer to the people, and they feared the intrinsic propensity of any governing entity to unceasingly strive to increase its own power.

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter written on May 27, 1788 to Edward Carrington, a Virginia delegate at the Continental Congress warned:

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”

How right he was!  Thus by seeking to eliminate areas into which the federal government could expand (by reserving everything not specifically granted to the federal government to the states) the Founding Fathers hoped to prevent that “natural progress…of the government to gain ground.
Sadly, year by year, decade by decade the size of the government grows, and the rights of the people are eroded.

If you find that government expansion odious, then you should blame Mr. Obama as much as any other American President, for in nearly everything he has done, he has been striving to expand the power of the state.

Definition of a Liberal

What, you may ask, is a liberal?  The Encyclopedia Britannica defines liberalism as:

“A political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others; but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty.”

When he was elected, Mr. Obama was called a liberal by nearly everyone, Democrats, the mainstream media, Fox News, the Republicans, the Tea Party. You name ‘em – they called him a liberal.

I submit that Mr. Obama is not a liberal at all. Has the history of his five years as POTUS been characterized by enhancing the freedom of the individual?

Definition of a Statist

On the contrary, he is a “statist,” one who believes in “statism.” Definitions of the term vary from that of Dictionary.com as “the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty,” to that provided  by Miriam-Webster online  as “concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government often extending to government ownership of industry.” Either one characterizes Mr. Obama’s term quite well.

Consider the following:

  • 2009’s $787 billion Stimulus Plan,
  • Obamacare,  which widely expands government control over the entire health care industry
  • NSA’s PRISM program, which allowed highly intrusive surveillance without warrants or other judicial authorization
  • Authorization to have US citizens killed by drones without ever even being accused of a crime,
  • Appointments of “czars” (presidential appointees who oversee certain government policies or areas of which he has appointed well over 40 so far),
  • Presidential issuance of governmental “decrees” (164 declarations of law or policy so far which have been neither passed or approved by Congress),
  • Threats to issue more decrees (on FDA actions, on public land use, on gun control)

How could anyone possibly reconcile PRISM, drone killings, “ruling by decree” or forcing  Americans to purchase healthcare against their will with the Britannica’s definition of liberalism as protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual?  One simply cannot.

Mr. Obama is actually pursuing a course of policy precisely opposite to that of true liberalism. He is dramatically increasing both the size and scope of the Federal government, and thereby increasing its power over the lives of each and every one of us.

Perhaps those who proclaim themselves to be “progressive liberals” should consider becoming constitutional conservatives rather than following the path of the Statist Obama.  It is Obama who erodes our rights while massively expanding the federal government and its power.

It is conservatives like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Mark Levin and others like them who fight to preserve our rights, who strive to prevent the massive grab of power by the Washington bureaucracy.

This Obama Policy of Statism is not new, nor am I the first to recognize it.

Forbes magazine in a column by Charles Kadlec soon after Mr. Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address commented extensively on what Mr. Kadlec called “President Obama’s Blueprint for Expanding Government Power”.

Oliver Stone blasted Mr. Obama for having made America into an Orwellian State.

Edward Crane of the Cato Institute branded Obama a Statist, not a socialist.

Sadly, it is a problem that is growing, not diminishing. Americans need to band together to elect to both the Senate and the House of Representatives those with the courage and determination to fight back.

While it would be nice to say something as simple as “Vote Republican” it is unfortunately not that easy.  RINO – Republican In Name Only – is a relatively new term, but one which well describes many who run on the GOP ticket.

2014 Election is Critical

The 2014 elections are less than a year away, and time inexorably marches on.  We must march together to wrest control of the Senate away from those who aid and abet this Presidential power grab while ensuring that the House of Representatives grow into an even more effective bastion against Mr. Obama’s statist goals.

  • Study the platforms of the candidates
  • Seek out and support those who stand for individual freedom
  • Embrace and encourage those who strive to reduce rather than increase the power of the government
  • Do whatever you can to help elect those who are willing to stand up for what they believe in – not cave in to pressure from the Old Guard establishment

America needs leaders committed to advancing the cause of freedom, to preserve our inherent rights, and to achieving meaningful conservative goals, not pseudo-leaders committed to little more than getting re-elected.

tanks on call

Obamacare: One Calamity after Another

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A Presidential Decree is Sanctified by What Part of the Constitution?

Article Two, Section One, Clause Eight of the United States Constitution provides the Oath of Office of the President of the United States as follows:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Article One, Section one of the Constitutions specifically states that “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.”  There is nothing in the Constitution that gives the President the power to legislate.

On November 14 President Obama issued another of his many Presidential Decrees.  He announced that he was authorizing insurance commissioners of all the states across our nation to ignore the provisions of the Affordable Care Act banning non-compliant medical insurance plans.  Each insurance commissioner was empowered to require the insurance companies in their state to revoke cancellations and allow non-compliant plans to continue through 2014.

I suppose one has to give some credit to Mr. Obama for trying to rectify at least one of the many problems endemic to the Affordable Care Act which are devastating Americans.  At the same time, though, we must ask: “Where did he get the power to allow plans specifically banned by his signature health care act to continue in force, even though such plans are specifically forbidden by law?”

Even the courts agree!  On August 13 of this year the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled against President Obama for failing to obey a 2002 statute requiring the executive branch to take final action on the certification of Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a nuclear waste site.  Judge Brett Kavanaugh ruled that “Under Article Two of the Constitution and relevant Supreme Court precedents, the president must follow statutory mandates.”

Is advocating the breaking of a law passed by Congress and signed into law by the President himself considered to be “upholding and defending the Constitution?” I think not.

White House officials said that Mr. Obama does have the power to issue this decree, citing the President’s decision to defer removal of immigrants who came to the US as children.  Let me get this straight:  Because he issued an illegal and constitutionally unjustified decree earlier, that gives him the power to issue another illegal and constitutionally unjustified decree now?


Cancelling the Old “Bad” Plans

While Mr. Obama says that the reason many of the old “pre-ACA plans” are being cancelled is because they were bad plans, plans that didn’t provide the kind of coverage that people need.  That is a topic for an entire article, so we won’t address that claim here, though many would strongly disagree with his contention, as pointed out here, here, and here.

The reason so many people are so very angry that their “old” plans are being cancelled is because the people like their old plans.  If they like them, who is Mr. Obama to tell them that their plans are bad.

Isn’t this supposed to be a free country where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness matters?  If you’re happy with your medical plan, isn’t it absolutely wrong for the government to in essence tell you, “Sorry, you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re apparently not smart enough to realize that your old plan is really a bad plan, so we’re going to make that decision for you.” (Even though the President repeatedly promised you could keep them).

The arrogance is despicable.

So Obama has supposedly issued his decree to “correct” the problem.  But…not really.  What he did was pass the blame along to the insurance commissioners so that now he can say, “It’s not my fault – it’s their fault.”


Industry and Insurance Commissioner Responses

Response to Mr. Obama’s “fix” has been less than positive.

“I’m sure he has all sorts of reasons he made the decision he made,” said Monica Lindeen, vice president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).”But from a practical standpoint, for commissioners all across this country, it really did turn our lives upside down.”

“Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” said Karen Ignagni, the president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group in Washington.

In a statement concerning Obama’s announcement regarding policy cancellations and the role of state insurance regulators, South Dakota State Insurance Director Merle Scheiber may have summed up the feelings of most state insurance commissioners when he said:

“The Division of Insurance is sorting through the logistics of how this announcement will impact insureds and carriers. The President’s new direction requires a detailed analysis in order to identify the best options for consumers and businesses. We will do what is best for [our citizens] and are demanding more details regarding this policy change.”

Arkansas’ Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford and Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, both Democrats, have said that they’ll decline to implement the President’s fix, while Oregon has left it up to the insurers, neatly sidestepping accepting the responsibility for making a clearly controversial decision.

In their official statement, the NAIC warned that changing the rules this late in the game creates uncertainty, threatens to undermine the market and may lead to higher premiums and greater market disruption in the future.

The NAIC concluded, “This decision continues different rules for different policies and threatens to undermine the new market… In addition, it is unclear how, as a practical matter, the changes proposed by the President can be put into effect.”


Fiscal Impact on Administrative Costs

Soon after the passage of Obamacare insurers began working on ways to bring their plans into compliance with the new law.  No one knows how much that compliance effort has cost, but you must include the cost of:

  • closing down all the old non-compliant plans
  • designing and implementing a new array of Metal Level plans
  • hiring & training new employees to administer the new plans
  • supporting the old plans through January 1, 2014

The numbers surely run into the multiple billions.

Furthermore, keep in mind that just like all business operations, insurers have a target market.  They design a portfolio of plans to fit the needs of that target market.  Just like an auto maker makes a line of cars to sell to its target market, and a computer manufacturer makes a line of computer to fit its target market.

Neither the automobile nor computer nor insurance industry – or probably any other! – creates a second line of products to compete with themselves.  Now President Obama, with less than 45 days notice, expects the insurers to revamp their entire systems and maintain two separate and distinct product lines.  That will leave the old non-ACA compliant plan portfolio which aren’t based on the Metal Levels, and the new ACA plans which are based on the Metal Levels in direct competition against one another for the same target market.

Insurers also expressed concern about the cost of reinstating policies that had already been purged from their computers and that had not been included in negotiations with doctors and hospitals.  Carl McDonald, an analyst with Citigroup, said the president’s plan created an “enormous administrative burden” for insurers and predicted many would choose not to extend coverage.

“The complexity of trying to uncancel millions of canceled individual policies with only six weeks left in the year is staggering,” he wrote.


Crushing the Risk Pool

Insurance is a moderately complex but eminently logical means of sharing a risk. Here’s the concept:

  • Take a group of people (the insurance term is “a pool”) all of whom share a common concern, such as a car accident, a fire, or a medical claim
  • That group of people sharing the same risk comprises a “Risk Pool”
  • The number crunchers calculate the expected number of claims in the risk pool, how many people will have claims and how much those will be
  • Based on those expected claims payments, you determine how much each member of the pool needs to contribute into the pool to pay all expected claims. That amount is the insurance premium
  • If you have fewer claims than expected, the premium goes down
  • If you have more claims than expected, the premium goes up
  • If you remove a large number of people who have very low claims from the risk pool the average cost of claims in the risk pool inevitably goes up, which in turn pushes the premium up

When the number crunchers calculated the premiums for the new Obamacare exchange plans they knew that they would have a large number of people who had not previously had insurance.  After all, that has always been one of the huge benefits to Americans touted by Mr. Obama.  Millions without insurance, people who either couldn’t afford it or couldn’t get it due to poor health – will now get coverage.

Let me pose a question. If you hadn’t had insurance for years, and hence hadn’t been able to see a doctor for either checkups or for treatment of existing problems, what would you do as soon as you got coverage under the new federally subsidized Obamacare plan?

You’d go to the doctor, wouldn’t you?  That seems obvious.  Which means that those millions who are newly insured will have higher claims than the average American, right?  That’s the goal of Obamacare, to get coverage for those who haven’t been able to get it before, so they can go to the doctor!

For the past two to three years, the actuaries have been figuring out what the premiums have to be for this new risk pool being sold in the exchanges.  The new Obamacare Exchange Risk Pool which was expected to have two groups of people in the risk pool:

(1) those relatively few who haven’t had insurance in the past and can be expected to have higher than average claims and,

(2) those who comprise the vast majority and who’ve been insured under their own plans for years, who’ve been seeing their doctors year in, year out, and can be expected to have fairly average claims.

When you pull the second group out of the above equation as Obama’s decree did, catastrophic claims and ensuing skyrocketing premium rates loom.


This Outrage is Widespread

The New York Times pointed out that insurance carriers who are new to the market could be particularly hurt by the proposal, with many people choosing to stay with their existing plans because they are less expensive rather than what’s available on the exchange.

The larger and potentially devastating overall impact of how removing the healthy from the risk pool could affect everyone in the country was addressed in a November 19 Wall Street Journal Op-ed by Marco Rubio.  Senator Rubio pointed out a memo from HHS that including the following comments on this concern:

“Risk corridors are…used to mitigate an insurer’s pricing risk. Under ObamaCare, risk corridors were established for…three years as a safety-net. While risk corridors can protect taxpayers when they are budget-neutral, the president’s action now exposes taxpayers to a [financial] bailout of the health-insurance industry if and when the law fails.”

On Nov. 14, the American Academy of Actuaries issued a press release saying that President Obama’s plan to reverse health-insurance cancellations “could lead to negative consequences for consumers, health insurers, and the federal government.” More specifically, the academy said, “Costs to the federal government could increase as higher-than-expected average medical claims are more likely to trigger risk corridor payments.”

Point after point, problem after problem, from a law that a November 20, 2013 CBS News poll says 93% of Americans believe should be either repealed or changed, including 72% of Democrats!

Seriously, isn’t it time we got rid of this monstrosity?  Meaning the law – not the President.

Obamacare questions

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