Some Duplicity in Obamacare

Recall that a while ago, in 2014, the GAO ran some tests of Obamacare: they set up 12 fake persons with invalid Social Security numbers, fake citizenship, and/or false income claims. Eleven of these got coverage, several of them got subsidies, many of them got renewed for this year, and some of the renewals got increased subsidies.

…officials running Obamacare told the GAO they possess “limited ability to respond to attempts at fraud….”

Worse, these guys added in wide-eyed innocence

that measures to ensure program integrity would undermine “consumers’ ability to ‘effectively and efficiently’ select Marketplace [Obamacare] coverage.”

Equilibrium

Tony Badran has an interesting piece in Real Clear World that talks about President Barack Obama’s dream of a Middle East equilibrium:

Obama wants to integrate Iran into a regional concert system presumably based on “equilibrium.”

The first step of this involves Syria. As Obama said at his news conference announcing conclusion of his deal with Iran concerning the latter’s nuclear weapons program,

We’re not going to solve the problems of Syria unless there’s buy-in from the Russians, the Iranians, the Turks, our Gulf partners…. Iran is one of those players, and I think that it’s important for them to be part of that conversation.

The Iran Deal and the New York Times’ Argument

Nicholas Kristof had some thoughts in the Paper of Obama’s Water. And so do I. Kristof presented his thoughts as arguments against the “deal” and his responses, so that’s the format I’ll use here, modified by my bolding the beginning phrase of each argument and response to set them off from my response.

Obama didn’t deliver what he promised. For example, we wanted “anywhere, anytime” inspections, but we caved and got a complex system that allows Iran to delay inspections. And in the later years of the agreement, Iran won a significant easing of controls.

John Kerry on the Law

Paul Mirengoff, over at Power Line, highlighted this exchange between the guy who sits in the Secretary of State’s chair and Congressman Brad Sherman (D, CA) while Kerry testified before the House Foreign Relations Committee regarding the Iranian nuclear weapons deal.

Sherman: You strongly do not want [Congress] to override a presidential veto, but if we do, that triggers certain American laws…. You don’t want us to do it. You think its terrible policy. You think the rest of the world would be against us.

A Corrupt IRS

Two Congressmen have some concerns, and they want IRS Commissioner John Koskinen removed. Ron DeSantis (R, FL), House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security Chairman, and Jim Jordan (R, OH), Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules Chairman, laid out their case in Monday’s Wall Street Journal. RTWT, but here are the highlights.

  • Failure to inform Congress. Koskinen concealed—during repeated sworn testimony—from Congress for four months his knowledge that the IRS that it had “lost” vast amounts of Lois Lerner’s (of “I didn’t do it” infamy) emails.

Change the Subject

At the Federal level, Republicans in Congress are attempting to take national-level steps to curb union abuses of members and nonmembers. The particular abuse is union use of dues to fund a particular party’s candidates, whether the union members support that party or candidate or not for now, at least, the Congress is ignoring union states’ practice of collecting dues from non-union members—which the employees are required to pay as a condition of keeping their jobs—and using those coerced dues also for political work rather than union activities related to work).

Changing the Subject

Planned Parenthood and President Barack Obama are partners in this misbehavior.

Recall the hoo-raw over the videos published by Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the best way to harvest valuable (monetarily) body parts from freshly aborted babies. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards spent her time decrying the videos as “edited” and insisting that Planned Parenthood behavior was both legal and ethical.

Obama’s only comment on the matter came through his Press Secretary Josh Earnest, and it was centered on the editing and a repeat of Richards’ claim of “ethical behavior.”

Projecting Again

Recall the union violence threatened and inflicted in Wisconsin when Governor Scott Walker (R) was working to break union strangleholds on the state government and local school districts.

Now, in nearby Illinois, we get this.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union sent a memo to its members expressing fear that in the face of union intransigence in negotiations with the State’s government, Governor Bruce Rauner (R) might use the National Guard and retired state workers to keep the government open should the AFSCME decide to strike.

Medicare Funding

The fund Medicare uses to pay hospitals will run out in the next 15 years, and experts say there are no easy answers to solve it.

Certainly not politically easy answers, and that does matter. However, the practical answer is quite simple, if expensive in the transition.

Keep everyone 55 and older in the current Medicare system, with the individual option to leave that system in favor of the one I’ve proposed many times and summarize here. It’s important to note also that the “experts” are referring only to Medicare Part A, the hospitalization part. My reform is broader and applies to Medicare Parts B, payments to physicians, and D, drug coverage.

The PRC’s Markets

Beijing thought they could “rescue” the PRC’s stock market. Recall that those markets had tanked collapsed last month, with no bottom in sight. Then the government stepped in:

There is the buying program financed by the central bank. A state pension fund has gone into equities for the first time. Beijing mandated that anyone holding 5% of a company can’t sell for six months. And brokerage firms, directed by regulators, are sitting on a boatload of shares as inventory, notes Erwin Sanft of Macquarie.