THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING EZRA

In today’s American Spectator, I discuss the long-overdue departure of Ezra Klein from the Washington Post:

We don’t know if Jeff Bezos laughed aloud when Ezra Klein, one of his star bloggers at The Washington Post, pitched an idea for a new website and asked for an eight-figure check to get it off the ground. We do know that Bezos decided to let him to seek investors elsewhere.

Many in the media establishment seem to have concluded that Bezos has shot himself in the foot by not showering cash on his resident ‘wunderkind.’

But Bezos is no dummy. He didn’t earn enough money to buy one of the country’s most respected publications by making dumb decisions.

Klein is profoundly ignorant in his ostensible areas of expertise … As recently as three weeks ago, apparently unaware that countless studies have shown Medicaid coverage to be worse for one’s health than no coverage at all, he described Obamacare’s expansion of that failed program as a ‘huge win.’

Interestingly, on the same day that Klein’s departure was confirmed, The Post also announced a partnership with The Volokh Conspiracy.

Eugene Volokh and his co-conspirators have been ‘lawblogging’ since Klein was in high school. They enjoy a vast national readership.

All of which suggests that, rather than committing a blunder, Bezos has traded up. To read the rest of the column, click here.

SINGLE PAYER: WE’VE BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

In today’s American Spectator, I discuss the renewed calls for single payer health care that we’ve begun to hear since Obamacare exploded on the launch pad.

Well, our progressive friends are once again calling for single payer health care. The ironic pretext this time is that Obamacare has collapsed into chaos. The health care “reform” law they assured us would cure the ills of our medical delivery system is disintegrating before their eyes.

But the advocates of the “Affordable Care Act,” as these people stubbornly refer to it, refuse to accept that the crackup was caused by the inevitable incompetence of government bureaucrats.

They believe the real problem was avaricious insurance executives. Thus, people like Michael Moore, Paul Krugman and even Colin Powell urge us to cast out the money changers and wholly surrender our health care to the tender mercies of the federal government.

Powell’s contribution to this chorus was embarrassing. If he possessed any expertise in health care, he would know that the U.S. has spent nearly half a century experimenting with the kind of system he advocates.

Paul Krugman puts a name on this experiment in a recent pitch for single payer, ‘In this hypothetical system you wouldn’t have to shop for insurance, nor would you have to provide lots of personal details … we don’t have to imagine such a system, because it already exists. It’s called Medicare … So why don’t we just extend that system to cover everyone?’

That’s right. Medicare is a single payer health care system for seniors, and it is Exhibit A in the case against government-run health care. To read the rest of the column, click here.

OBAMACARE’S MEDICAID FRAUD

In today’s American Spectator, I discuss what may be Obamacare’s cruelest swindle–dumping 17 million poor Americans into a program that guarantees limited access to doctors and low quality care:

A couple of weeks ago I visited my internist for the annual physical to which she subjects me in order to confirm that my various organs are still operating according to specifications. As she poked and prodded, I asked how her practice was going. This question elicited a resigned sigh and a brief but poignant discourse on the necessity of “firing” her Medicaid patients.

Medicaid imposes so much red tape and pays so parsimoniously that she simply cannot afford to treat these patients and remain solvent. And she is by no means the only physician forced to make this decision.

This is the cruelest deception of the “reform” law. As Avik Roy phrases it: ‘There’s a massive fallacy at the heart of Medicaid and therefore at the heart of Obamacare. It’s the idea that health insurance equals health care.’ And, as is usually the case with the deliberately deceptive fallacies promoted by the Democrats, the target victims are poor Americans.

But don’t make the common mistake of blaming this problem on “rich greedy doctors.” Medicaid doesn’t merely pay less than private insurance. It pays less than the cost of treating a patient.

A primary care medical practice is essentially a small business. How many small businesses can afford to sell their wares for less than cost? To read the rest of the column, click here.

OBAMACARE AND GOP COMPLACENCE

In today’s American Spectator I fret about GOP overconfidence concerning the advantage Obamacare’s flop has given them in the upcoming midterm elections:

The breathtaking ineptitude with which the Obama administration has implemented the Affordable Care Act provides the Republican Party a very real opportunity to make major gains in the upcoming midterm elections. A mere 60 days ago, the Democrats seemed well-positioned to hold on to its Senate Majority and perhaps even regain control of the House. Since then, according to a CNN/ORC survey released last week, the GOP has improved its standing among registered voters by 13 points.

But some of the commentary offered by pundits concerning this trend threaten to infect Republicans with a deadly strain of overconfidence:

Rick Manning, of Americans for Limited Government, provided an all too typical example in a recent paean to Senator Ted Cruz for the Hill: ‘Fear of losing coverage, fear of significantly increased healthcare costs and fear of losing the doctor/patient relationship have become the table topic in households. These households know that Republicans… did everything possible to protect America from the impact of Obamacare.’

This claim that Americans know the GOP “did everything possible” to protect them from ACA’s ill effects is a perfect example of what scares me.

The GOP will get hammered if it bets on on such wishful thinking. To read the rest of the column, click here.

INSURANCE COMPANIES DESERVE OBAMACARE

In my latest column for the American Spectator, I discuss the Faustian bargain made by the insurance industry with the White House. The former should have read the fine print before they agreed to spend hundreds of millions pimping Obamacare:

The latest attempt by the Obama administration to avoid the consequences of its inept implementation of the Affordable Care Act has been to issue yet another of its surprise edicts. The new HHS regulation, which was announced Thursday night, ‘significantly relaxed the rules of the federal health-care law for millions of consumers whose individual insurance policies have been canceled, saying they can buy bare-bones plans or entirely avoid a requirement that most Americans have health coverage.’

This is the second time the White House has double-crossed the health insurers in as many weeks:

This last minute movement of the goalpost comes on the heels of another HHS rule change, issued a week ago, that essentially forces insurers to provide retroactive, discounted coverage to the many Americans who are about to lose their insurance plans because of Obamacare. The insurers are not amused. The statement released by the President of America’s Health Insurance Plans was typical: ‘This latest rule change could cause significant instability in the marketplace and lead to further confusion and disruption for consumers.’

Neither the President nor his HHS Secretary has any legal right to make this rule change or the one they announced last week. But legality has never been a serious consideration for Obama or Commissar Sebelius. To read the rest of the column, click here.

SCOTUS, HOBBY LOBBY & MEDIA MALPRACTICE

In today’s American Spectator, I discuss the lies that the “news” media have been telling the public about the Supreme Court’s decision to hear two challenges to Obamacare’s contraception manddate:

Those Americans still naïve enough to rely on establishment news outlets for information … are being told that Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius are part of a sinister conspiracy to restrict access to birth control, endow corporations with religious rights, and escalate the ‘war on women.’

Here’s some prime BS from the LA Times:

The LA Times, for example, immediately churned out an editorial titled, ‘The Hobby Lobby Dodge.’ This semi-coherent jeremiad included the following portentous warning: ‘A decision allowing businesses to deny contraceptive coverage to employees based on religion would do more than hurt Obamacare.’

Never mind that the owners of Hobby Lobby have no objection to contraception. Forget the well-publicized fact that their employee health plans cover sixteen types of birth control. And it’s not just the LA Times:

Newsweek, demonstrating the kind of journalistic acumen that allowed it to command a price of $1.00 when it was sold in 2010, introduces this straw man thus: ‘It is surprising that the high court took up the issue, since it has never found that profit-making corporations enjoy religious rights.

First, no one with a clue was surprised that the Court accepted the case. I myself predicted it last Monday. Second, the owners of Hobby Lobby have never claimed that corporations have religious rights.

To read the entire column, click here.

WHY THE SUPREMES AGREED TO HEAR THE HHS MANDATE CASES

In Monday’s American Spectator, I suggested that the Supreme Court would probably agree to hear one or more of the challenges to Obamacare’s contraception mandate:

[Tuesday] the justices will confer about Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius and Autocam v. Sebelius, all of which challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare’s contraception mandate … It is risky, of course, to predict what the all-too-capricious Court will do. Still, there are several reasons to believe that it will “grant cert” on at least one of these petitions.

Why?

First, an important criterion the justices use to decide whether to intervene in any dispute involves inconsistency in the lower courts. And, in those lower courts, the judges have been all over the map on the contraception mandate.

And …

Second, in the Hobby Lobby case, the plaintiffs and the Obama administration have both petitioned the Court to take the case. The latter was forced to do so after the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the company’s owners that the contraception mandate restricts their free exercise rights.

And …

Finally, there is virtually no way for the Court to avoid this controversy. In the unlikely event that the justices deny the three petitions now before the Court, there will be fresh petitions pursuant to recent rulings on the mandate.

The contraception mandate is more dangerous than the individual insurance mandate. Now that the justices have agreed to hear Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius, let’s hope they manage to avoid making a hash of their ultimate ruling this time.

OBAMACARE REPEAL A FANTASY?

My latest column for the American Spectator discusses the similarities between Medicare catastrophic care, which was repealed in 1989, and Obamacare:

The repeal of the “Affordable Care Act” is by no means without precedent in recent congressional history. In fact, one need look no farther back than 1989 to find a corollary. That was the year the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act (MCCA) was repealed.

As the NYT recently put it:

[Some] involved with the passage and repeal of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act see clear parallels with the current situation, in which a very vocal segment that views itself as harmed by the new law has joined with highly organized political operations to rally opposition to it.

Eventually, MCCA was repealed and sent to the dust bin of history, where Obamacare belongs. To read the rest of the column, click here.

OBAMACARE: WHO’S CRYING NOW?

In my latest column for the American Spectator, I discuss the growing number of Obamacare advocates who have learned the hard way that the not-so-Affordable Care Act is and always was a giant fraud.

I must confess that I have derived no small amount of schadenfreude from news stories about Obamacare advocates who have been adversely affected by the not-so-Affordable Care Act. It would take a stronger man than yours truly to suppress a smile as the law’s media pimps whine about their cancelled health plans, when smug urban progressives get mugged by the reality of “reform,” and lifelong Democrats publically denounce President Obama as a brazen liar.

One of the most exquisitely ironic complaints about Obamacare has come from former MSNBC blowhard, Dylan Ratigan:

During the debate preceding the law’s passage, this character regularly suggested that we who opposed the Democrat plan to take over U.S. health care were all racists. It appears, however, that this erstwhile scourge of bigotry has now joined the knuckle-dragging enemies of our first black president. Recently, he fired off the following querulous tweet: ‘I bought a catastrophic health policy for $170/mo when I left MSNBC. Obamacare cancelled the policy. New rate $600/mo. Thnx Mr. President!’

Few of the liberals lamenting the loss of their health plans are media types like Ratigan, however. Most are garden variety progressives naïve enough to believe the President’s promise that they could keep their coverage.

To read more about these chumps, click here.

WHITHER OBAMACARE’S CONTRACEPTION MANDATE NOW?

In my latest column for the American Spectator I discuss the decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down the much-hated Obamacare contraception mandate:

Last Friday, capping off a week filled with disturbing revelations of bureaucratic incompetence and presidential mendacity concerning Obamacare, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the “reform” law’s notorious contraception mandate.

On behalf of the majority, Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote that the mandate would force the plaintiffs in Gilardi v. HHS to choose between bankruptcy and violating their religious beliefs:

They can either abide by the sacred tenets of their faith, pay a penalty of over $14 million and cripple the companies they have spent a lifetime building, or they become complicit in a grave moral wrong.

Despite the red herrings introduced by the Obamazombies into the debate over the contraception mandate, it has nothing to do with “reporductive rights” or whether corporations are people.

Religious or not: If you can’t see why this mandate is a threat to your liberty, you’re already halfway to serfdom. To read the rest of the column, click here.