Obamacare Fail

The headline of this Wall Street Journal piece pretty much says it all: Average Cost of Employer Health Coverage Tops $18,000 for Family in 2016.

The sub-head, with careful reading, adds clarity: Pace of cost increase slowed by accelerating shift into high-deductible plans, new survey shows.

That cost of employer coverage, buy the way, refers to the premiums employees must pay: $18,142 for a 2016 typical employer-offered family plan, and employees have to pay 30% of that, typically, up from 29%.  Like a sergeant I once worked with liked to say, sort of, “Holy cats.”

Of Course They Are

President Obama and his Democratic allies are seizing on the exodus of private insurers from ObamaCare markets to renew their push for a so-called “public option[.]”

Never mind that the revival of this push is a direct result of the broad, expensive failure that is those same Know Betters’ Obamacare.  No, when government fails as miserably as it has done with Obamacare, the only right answer is the Progressive answer: more government.  A bigger hammer.

We can’t have competition and private enterprise do this.  We gotta have Know Betters in Government do this; us mere citizens can’t be trusted with such weighty matters.

The Progressive Socialist Goal Made Manifest

In the context of Aetna’s decision to sharply curtail its participation in ObamaMart—because such participation was costing Aetna millions of dollars—Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I, VT) has said openly

The provision of health care cannot continue to be dependent upon the whims and market projections of large private insurance companies whose only goal is to make as much profit as possible.

Because making money—the engine of economic growth and the economic welfare of all Americans—is inappropriate when it’s done outside Government control.  American businesses and Americans can’t be allowed to earn more than Government deems fit.  President Barack Obama (D) has held this before Sanders became a public fixture:

What’s in Store

…for the rest of us.  Kate Vershov Downing is a Liberal who has been mugged by reality.  She is—or was until she resigned—a member of the Palo Alto, CA, Planning and Transportation Commission, the city’s central planning facility for all things a private citizen might want to do.  Here’s an excerpt from her letter of resignation from that Commission, via PJMedia‘s Tom Knighton.  (Unfortunately, she’s not completely learned the mugging lesson; she and her husband are moving to another California city.)

Prior Restraint

The EU has it.  And it doesn’t hesitate to reach overseas to try to inflict it outside EU jurisdiction.

The European Union’s antitrust authority on Thursday opened a full-blown investigation into plans by Dow Chemical Co and DuPont Co to merge, on concerns the deal would reduce competition [in] the global agricultural sector.

The European Commission said it would investigate whether the deal may reduce competition in areas such as crop protection, seeds, and certain petrochemicals. Announced in December, the proposed merger aims to create an American industry giant with a combined market cap of about $122 billion.

A Free Speech Ruling

The Federal trial judge got this one right, even though the Arkansas law had been on the books for 35 years.  The question concerned whether the State could restrict political speech by robocall with the mechanism of banning political robocalls.  The same statute did not ban other political calls, only robocalls, and the judge called them on that logical conflict.

The statute is underinclusive. Banning calls made through an automated telephone system in connection with a political campaign cannot be justified by saying that the ban is needed to residential privacy and public safety when no limit is placed on other types of political calls that also may intrude on residential privacy or seize telephone lines.

Government’s Market Interference

I wrote about this matter just a bit ago.  Now DoJ has gone ahead and filed its lawsuits seeking to block the mergers between Anthem Inc and Cigna Corp and between Aetna Inc and Humana Inc.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s rationale for this is this:

If these mergers were to take place, the competition among these insurers that has pushed them to provide lower premiums, higher quality care and better benefits would be eliminated[.]

And

They would leave much of the multi-trillion dollar health insurance industry in the hands of three mammoth insurance companies, and restricting companies, and restricting competition in key markets[.]

But That’s The Point

Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division, on the proposed mergers between Anthem Inc and Cigna Corp and between Aetna Inc and Humana Inc, called them “game-changers” and added that it was necessary for Government to interfere with the mergers

to make sure we aren’t making a mistake in which shareholders benefit and the consumers pay the cost.

It’s certainly true that consumers should be protected from fraudulent behaviors and from price gouging.  However, it is those consumers who, as customers, pay for the goods and services companies provide—which ultimately pays those shareholders, too—else the companies don’t survive, and the consumer/customer has no good or service available to buy.

Leave it to Obama

…and his fellow Progressives, including his proud acolyte, Democratic Party Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The Obama administration is working on a series of agreements with foreign governments that would allow them for the first time to serve US technology companies with warrants for email searches and wiretaps—a move that is already stirring debates over privacy, security, crime and terrorism.

And

Under the proposed agreements described by Mr [Brad, Deputy Assistant Attorney General] Wiegmann, foreign investigators would be able to serve a warrant directly on a U.S. firm to see a suspect’s stored emails or intercept their messages in real time….

Tony Blair Misunderstands

Great Britain’s Ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair has sensed danger from the Brits’ vote to leave the European Union.

Blair said in a Friday column in The Daily Telegraph that the future of the United Kingdom is at stake as the country faces negotiations on the terms of leaving the European Union.

Of course there’s danger—there always is when a change as large as this is embarked on.  But Great Britain didn’t get to be as great as it was and still is by being timid.  This move is a great opportunity for the nation, much more so than it is a risk, however real that risk is.