An Unintended Consequence

The health coverage plan providers, companies like Humana, Aetna, Anthem, et al., are gaming the Medicare system to keep their Medicare bonuses coming in.  Surprise.

It seems that when Obamacare was passed, it included a system of paying bonuses from Medicare to those plan providers that got sufficiently high ratings on the quality of their plans.

But wait….

Medicare ranks privately managed plans…on a five-star quality scale and provides financial bonuses to providers of top-ranked plans. [A plan-holder’s] plan was set to be downgraded, which would have cost Humana its bonus. So the company merged plans covering [the plan-holder] and more than a million others into different contracts with higher scores. That preserved the bonuses.

Biofuel Mandates

The Wall Street Journal had a piece titled Biofuel Mandates Are a Bad Idea Whose Time May Be Up that centered on the possibility that these might get watered down, or even eliminated, sometime “soon.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard, which forces oil refiners to mix corn-based fuel into gasoline, is one of history’s great policy boondoggles.

Well, NSS.  The only things it’s done of practical consequence have been to serve as a backdoor subsidy for farmers and to drive up the cost of corn, corn substitutes, and food that eats corn.  And to drive up the cost of gasoline and to create ethanol fuel-related automobile engine maintenance costs.

Arms Keeping and Bearing “Reform”

The House passed a bill last December that greatly expands background checks and that mandates concealed-carry reciprocity among the several States.

The Senate should take up that bill without further delay and pass it as well.  With the much broader background checks, there’s no longer any rational argument for opposing concealed-carry reciprocity.

It’s a pipedream, though; there aren’t enough Progressive-Democrat Senators willing to vote for cloture.  The lack of progress is too important to them as a campaign issue.

Big Government and Responsibility

The Progressive-Democratic Party-run States and the Republican-run States are demonstrating what they think of the intelligence and capability of ordinary American citizens.

The roughly half of states controlled by Republicans are therefore moving aggressively to roll back the law widely known as Obamacare, while the smaller number of Democratic states are working to bolster it.

One party does not believe that Americans in a free market, here for health care and for health care coverage plans, are capable of making sound decisions.  They need Big Government to think and act for them.  The other party believes the opposite: the ordinary man is fully capable of thinking for himself and doesn’t need Big Government to tell him what to do.

Agency Fees

These are fees unions in a raft of jurisdictions are allowed to charge non-union members as a condition of those workers’ right to work at all.  Ostensibly, the fees are for the unions’ labor efforts in negotiating wages, benefits, and working conditions for everyone in the workplace.  The Supreme Court is considering a case, Janus v AFSCME, concerning whether such fees are constitutional.

It’s already the case that

Agency fees already are forbidden from paying for advocacy and other political activity.

Statutes, Judges, and DoJ

The Supreme Court last Tuesday heard a case between Microsoft and DoJ concerning whether the emails of an alleged drug dealer must be turned over to the government pursuant to a search warrant to that effect.  The catch is that the emails are stored exclusively on servers in Ireland—nominally beyond the reach of the US’ long arm of the law.

The statute in question is the Stored Communications Act, enacted 30 years ago before email and similar electronic communications were available.


The Treasury Department wants to keep Dodd-Frank’s “orderly liquidation” power, albeit with “tweaks.”  The authority was designed so the Federal government could take those financial institutions the government itself decided were “systemically important” and shut them down if the same government, in sequence with that SI claim, decided the business was not performing up to government-dictated standards.

That’s a lot of “decides” in government hands.  It also deliberately bypasses existing bankruptcy law that has done a fine job with business failures generally and would do a fine job with financial institutions in particular, were government not putting itself in the way.

A New Insurance Plan

Idaho has one.  Blue Cross of Idaho says it’s going to take advantage of newly issued State regulations to start marketing a plan that won’t meet Obamacare requirements, and they’re going to sell the plan alongside its existing Obamacare-compliant plans.

The Idaho Department of Insurance last month became the first state regulator to say it would let insurers begin offering “state-based plans” for consumers that involved practices generally banned for individual insurance under the ACA, including tying premium rates to enrollees’ pre-existing health conditions.

In particular,

A New Welfare Trap

This one is in the offing at the State level, and comes as a result of the punitive tax for not buying health coverage was repealed last December.

At least nine states are considering their own versions of a requirement that residents must have health insurance….


Maryland lawmakers are pursuing a plan to replace the ACA mandate, which requires most people to pay a penalty if they don’t have coverage. California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia, are publicly considering similar ideas.

Working for a Living

Indiana has joined Kentucky in getting approval to add a work requirement to its Medicaid program (separately: Federal approval should not be a requirement; the program should be a State-run and -funded program only).

Of course, there are objections.

Democrats and consumer groups are decrying the GOP push, saying it is antithetical to Medicaid’s goal of expanding health care.