Obamacare Strikes Yet Again

Insurers will seek significant premium hikes under President Barack Obama’s health care law this summer….

For example, in Virginia, a state that reports early, nine insurers returning to the HealthCare.gov marketplace are seeking average premium increases that range from 9.4% to 37.1%.

And

The health law’s nagging problems center on lower-than-hoped-for enrollment, sicker-than-expected customers, and a balky internal stabilization system that didn’t deliver as advertised and was already scheduled to be pared back next year.

Who is truly surprised by this?  Oh, yeah….

Market Choice?

Can’t have that.

The Obama administration is locked and loaded for a fresh push on gun control initiatives—reportedly moving to advocate for so-called “smart gun” technology….

Smart gun technology research may well be a good idea, and having smart guns—weapons that can be fired only by their legitimate owners—certainly seems like a good idea.

Even Government involvement in funding basic research—the secrets of the universe kind of thing—or doing its own basic research might be a good idea.

However, Government involvement in engineering research, which smart gun tech development surely is, and Government involvement in determining, or even merely jawboning, what products it wants in a free market most assuredly are not legitimate.

Chimera

The Justice Department said Friday it has withdrawn a request that sought a court order forcing Apple to assist in opening a locked iPhone 5s linked to a drug case in New York.

According to a court filing, the Justice Department no longer needs Apple’s assistance in unlocking the device because an individual provided investigators with the correct passcode Thursday.

This is yet another demonstration that DoJ didn’t need to dragoon a private enterprise into blowing up its own product—here hacking its encryption algorithm, to the detriment of its product and of its private citizen customers—for government convenience.  Government had the capability to get into the iPhone with its own resources.

OPM

The FBI paid a non-governmental third party over $1 million for technology that allowed the agency to unlock an iPhone 5C that belonged to San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook, according to a remark made by FBI director James Comey at a moderated discussion in London on Thursday.

And

The bureau’s top official added that the purchase of third party tools for the purpose of unlocking encrypted devices is not the preferred road the FBI would like to travel in investigating crimes and terrorism cases.

Who Enrolls in Obamacare?

What’s the effect of that on costs under Obamacare?  The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association rudely conducted a study of the matter, and they found

  • New enrollees in individual health plans in 2014 and 2015 had higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, depression, coronary artery disease, HIV and Hepatitis C than those enrolled before ObamaCare.
  • New enrollees received significantly more medical care, on average, than those with individual or employer-based plans.
  • New enrollees had more inpatient admissions, outpatient visits, prescriptions filled and emergency room visits.

American Exceptionalism

seen from the other side of the world.  Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has a perspective.

Every one of America’s important trading partners in Asia, he points out, now has China as its “biggest trading partner.”  These nations know they will have a freer and more open trading system if America, not China, is writing the rules.

And

What makes it all so twisted [the debate over the TPP], says Mr Lee, is that no one in Asia is rooting for an American retreat.  To the contrary, Asian leaders are eager to make America great again….

Climatistas, Again

From Watts Up With That we get the latest internal inconsistency of the climate panic-mongers.

Including gas, oil and coal, they [the UN’s IPCC] estimate a total fossil fuel reserve of nine hundred to two thousand gigatonnes of carbon (GtC).  I decided to apply those numbers to both the Bern Model and the simple exponential decay model.

Willis Eschenbach, the author of the linked-to article, asked:

My interest was in finding out what would happen, according to the two CO2 models, if we burned all of the fossil fuels by 2100.

Another Bill Did Pass

I wrote earlier about the National Football League’s apparent attempt to extort Georgia into not enacting a bill that didn’t suit the NFL’s pleasure.

North Carolina did enact a bill in the same tenor, and now the National Basketball Association is threatening to pull its next year’s All-Star game from Charlotte in retaliation.

When can we expect the NBA to mandate an inclusive environment to all who attend our games and event[s] and safe spaces of equality and mutual respect in its clubs’ arena rest rooms and to ban Men’s and Women’s rest rooms as unacceptably discriminatory?

Hmm….

Now the Bill Must Pass?

The Georgia legislature has passed a bill and put it in front of the governor that would

protect pastors from performing same-sex marriages and give “faith-based” organizations permission to deny use of their business for anything they find “objectionable.” Businesses wouldn’t have to hire anyone whose religious beliefs are different from theirs[.]

The NFL doesn’t like that.

“NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.”

Central Management

China is having a harder time managing a property market that is diverging, the country’s housing minister said Tuesday.

“The differences are severe, and it is worsening,” Chen Zhenggao said at a news conference on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress on Tuesday.  “The situation in the first-tier cities and the third- and fourth-tier cities are different, which brings about challenges to our regulatory work, and is a major issue.”

[emphasis added]  And this: