More Government Regulation Foolishness

Used to be, brewers could send their spent grains, the leftovers after their brewing is done and the beverage…decanted…to ranchers to add to the latter’s feed supply.  Now, though, the FDA is “proposing” a set of regulations that would require brewers to treat their spent grains as pet food(!), meaning these leftovers must be dried and packaged without human contact.

This is expensive—too expensive for most brewers to handle.  Their landfill alternative isn’t any better: one Chicago brewer says it would cost him $100,000, every year, to send his leftover grains to a landfill.

Obamacare Rates

So much (to pound the dead horse) for rates going down $2,500 per, courtesy of Obamacare.

The research team at investment bank Morgan Stanley surveyed 131 brokers, finding that December 2013 rates are rising in excess of 6% in the small group market, and 9% in the individual market.

But that’s just chump change, so far (except for the victims of the rise).

More:

[H]ealth plans are also predicting higher cost trends in 2014, after years of stabilization (much of it attributable to the economic downturn [and its long-term non-recovery, say I], which reduced medical utilization rates).

More Failed Government

This example isn’t a demonstration of dishonesty, and it isn’t unique to this administration.

Market-sensitive information vitally important to health-insurance companies has once again reached Wall Street before the public, and this time it appears to have come from the government itself.

On Dec 3, an official with the agency in charge of Medicare spending held a conference call for industry officials.  During the call, he provided data suggesting that federal funding for private Medicare plans would likely fall more than expected.

Obamacare Jobs Impact

The American Health Policy Institute has some data [emphasis in the original].  Although their study concerned itself primarily with the cost impact of Obamacare to large employers—those with 10,000 or more employees—the study’s outcome has implications for our economy’s jobs picture.

  • The cost of the ACA…is estimated to be between $4,800 to $5,900 per employee.
  • These large employers will see overall ACA-related cost hikes of…4.3 percent in 2016 and 8.4 percent in 2023 over and above what they would otherwise be spending.
  • The total cost of the ACA to all large US employers over the next ten years is estimated to be from $151 billion to $186 billion.

Value of Your Tax Bill

…if the money were left in your hands to put toward your own retirement.  WalletHub has looked at the differing state and local tax bites that they charge you for the privilege of living in their fair states.  Not surprisingly (to some of us) Red states take a sharply lower bite out of your money than do Blue states, as the figure below illustrates. 

The Liberal Justice and the Birth Control Mandate

Justice Elena Kagan had a number of questions—as did Justice Sonya Sotomayor—in Tuesday’s oral arguments on Obamacare’s Contraceptive Mandate.  Indeed, counsel for the mandate’s challengers, Paul Clement, wasn’t even allowed to get into his argument, so little were these Justices in a listening mode, but that’s for another post.  Kagan had one “question,” though, which was very telling:

One religious group would opt out of this and one religious group would opt out of that, and everything would be piecemeal.  Nothing would be uniform[.]

Birth Control “Mandate”

In the Twitter to-do surrounding the Supreme Court’s hearing two cases related to this, Planned Parenthood linked to one of their favorite posters, reproduced just below.  The poster is so mendacious, it cries out for a post in point-by-point response.

1. 99% still can—and 99% already were, long before Obamacare came up.  Neither case before the Court has anything to do with women’s access, only whether employers, or insurers, must cover birth control in every plan offered.  And it’s always been cheap, too, including for guys (why aren’t condoms mandated, by the way?  Whatever happened to equality of the sexes?).  WalMart, for instance sells birth control pills for as little as $4/mo.  The doctor’s appointment to get the prescription still is extra.  WalMart sells condoms for as little as $15 for three dozen.  No doctor’s appointment required.

How Can We Trust This Program?

ObamaMart’s back end has yet another “glitch,” this time one that impacts whether a potential Obamacare health welfare plan buyer gets the subsidy the Obama administration says is due him.

The Philadelphia Inquirer found this one in its own explorations for a story on the various income scenarios that would draw a Federal subsidy.

Incorrect poverty-level guidelines are automatically telling what could be tens of thousands of eligible people they do not qualify for subsidized insurance.

Knowledge of Obamacare

Seventy percent of uninsured Americans said they do not know about Obamacare tax credits, and 45% are unaware of the enrollment deadline.  So says a poll taken by Bankrate.com.

What might this mean, really, especially in the face of a Democratic Party that’s already demonstrated an impressive skill at getting its message out to all Americans?  Some thoughts come to mind.

  • We aren’t as plugged in to the Internet as we like to think we are.  While that might be true for rural America, the number of rural Americans cannot account for these numbers.

Fannie and Freddie “Restructuring”

Federal National Mortgage Association—Fannie Mae—and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation—Freddie Mac—are at the heart of the US housing industry, since they play a central role in guaranteeing a major fraction of the mortgage loans through which we Americans buy our homes.  They also lie at the heart of the housing bust that was a major cause (albeit not the only one) of the Panic of 2008.  Their role in the bust stems from their decision functionally to waive credit standards and to encourage anyone with two nickels to rub together to borrow to buy a house, whether those borrowers could afford to make the loan payments or not.  And too often Fannie and Freddie waived the two-nickel standard, too.