Obamacare and Choice

There are 3,142 counties and equivalents (Louisiana has parishes, Alaska has boroughs, three States each have an independent city, Virginia has 38 of them, and State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations does things entirely differently) in the US.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects that 40 of those counties will have no health care coverage plan providers at all in 2018, and 1,332 of those counties—over 40% of them—will have only one such provider.

Warning Signs of Impending Dictatorship

Stephen Malt, in Foreign Policy, thinks he has some, and he’s concerned about many of them.

1. Systematic efforts to intimidate the media: Check

There’s little doubt that Trump and his associates have repeatedly tried to intimidate mainstream media organizations, whether through tweets deriding the supposedly “failing” New York Times, the repeated references to the “Amazon Washington Post,” or White House chief strategist and former Breitbart head Stephen Bannon’s referring to media organizations as “the opposition party.”

Investigation or Witch Hunt?

Bloomberg reported yesterday that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating President Donald Trump’s business dealings in the course of his investigation into Russian involvement with our election and the Trump campaign.

The US special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe.

It’s Time

…to sweep the ones we can’t trust from the Republican Party of Castrati and from Congress.

When Republicans voted on the repeal-only bill in 2015, they knew Mr Obama would veto it, making their vote largely symbolic. Of the GOP senators currently in the chamber, 49 voted for it at the time.  …

Moreover, many GOP lawmakers have already acknowledged that they would vote differently now that the stakes are far higher….

Now that these persons have to take action more concrete than virtue signaling, they’re exposing themselves as porch dogs.  They’re betraying their country, and more specifically, they’re betraying their constituents, to whom they promised for the last seven years, they’d repeal Obamacare and replace it.

Questions for Susan Collins

Susan Collins is the Republican Senator from Maine whose refusal to vote for the health care reform bill on offer (and any of the prior efforts) is centered on her insistence that the bill’s cuts to reductions to growth in Medicaid payments to the States—Maine in particular—are too great.  Collins needs to be asked, and required to give straight, substantive answers to, a number of questions.

What is Maine’s government doing to reduce the costs to its citizens of health care and of health coverage?

What is Maine’s government doing to make health care available to its citizens in the absence of health coverage?

Leaks

Investigators are re-examining conversations detected by US intelligence agencies in spring 2015 that captured Russian government officials discussing associates of Donald Trump, according to current and former US officials, a move prompted by revelations that the president’s eldest son met with a Russian lawyer last year.

Emphasis added.

Why is Special Counsel Robert Mueller allowing these leaks?  Is he not interested in running an honest investigation?

The Cruz Amendment

Senator Ted Cruz (R, TX) has a provision in the latest Senate health bill that’s on offer, one that would allow sellers of actual health insurance to sell non-Obamacare compliant policies on the condition that they also sold Obamacare compliant plans on the ObamaMart.  The idea, and it’s a sound one, is that those plans, better tailored their customers’ needs, would soon have commensurately lower premiums, deductibles, and copays and thereby be more affordable.

Health plan sellers don’t like it, though.

While this setup could offer healthy people less expensive policies, insurers and actuaries say it would likely prove dysfunctional over time, pushing up rates and reducing offerings for people buying the compliant plans.

Using the Cloud

“The cloud” is, in Internet jargon, the Internet, and in this context the jargon word means a collection of computers somewhere on the Internet that are tied together via Internet connections (they don’t have to be collocated; although, usually they are) and user reachable via the Internet.  The purposes of this sort of collection of computers are to centralize computational efforts, to centralize data storage, and for companies to pay the third parties operating a cloud facility to use it to do the computations or data storage.

On Whose Side Is He?

Senator Rand Paul (R, KY) has said he will not vote for the latest Senate effort at beginning the repeal and replace process of Obamacare.  He claims he can’t tell the difference between this offer and the Obamacare that exists because, in part, it leaves some of the Obamacare taxes in place.

Never mind that a critical difference between the offer and Obamacare is that the offer does repeal some of the Obamacare taxes.

Independence Day

I posted this in 2012; it bears repeating.

On this day 235 and more years ago, a group of Americans got together and, pledging their Lives, their Fortunes and their sacred Honor to each other while relying on the protection of divine Providence, took our country free from tyranny and set us on a new, wholly experimental course.

These men openly acknowledged both our right and our duty to throw off any government that too badly violates its moral obligations to us sovereign citizens, that for too long abuses our liberties and our individual responsibilities.  At the same time, though, they acknowledged that routinely rebelling at every small offense was equally wrong: Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.  Yet those light and transient offenses want correction along with those abuses and moral failures.