Good Answer

I don't understand a man who doesn't want a dog, but at least he's got a good comeback.

That's Certainly Been My Observation

Even as President Obama reluctantly granted Americans thrown off their health plans quasi-permission to possibly keep them, he called them "the folks who, over time, I think, are going to find that the marketplaces are better." He means the ObamaCare exchanges that are replacing the private insurance market, adding that "it's important that we don't pretend that somehow that's a place worth going back to."

Easy for him to say. The reason this furor will continue even if the website is fixed is that the public is learning that ObamaCare's insurance costs more in return for worse coverage.

Mr. Obama and his liberal allies call the old plans "substandard," but he doesn't mean from the perspective of the consumers who bought them. He means people were free to choose insurance that wasn't designed to serve his social equity and income redistribution goals.
Dealing with my wife's hospital bills lately, I've been struck by how lucky I am to be handling this under the grandfathered plan than under one of the proposed plans that are available from the exchanges (at least, in theory they are available: I haven't met anyone from Georgia who has mentioned successfully signing up for one). For one thing, the hospital we just happened to be nearest was in-network -- common for the old plan, which has the kind of broad networks Blue Cross normally features, but unlikely to prove true under the new plans. Since it was emergency care, that is a significant benefit.

Second, our deductible -- though I always considered it 'catastrophic' coverage -- is less than the $12,700 that I would have to come up with under the Obamacare plans. There's an individual out of pocket limit, too.

Third, the monthly premiums are about half what the cheapest plans on the exchange purport to cost.

So if I had a plan like his, I'd have had less money in the bank (because I'd have to cover higher monthly premiums), in order to pay for a higher total bill (because of a higher deductible). Plus, my wife might have had to have been carted by ambulance goodness-knows-where to find a hospital that would accept her.

No thanks, pal. Your plans for us are not only not better, they are not acceptable.

"Death in Battle," by C. S. Lewis

A poem, mentioned in passing here, Lewis wrote about his experiences in the first world war for an audience of veterans. This is what he said to them, knowing they might understand.

"Death in Battle"

Open the gates for me,
Open the gates of the peaceful castle, rosy in the West,
In the sweet dim Isle of Apples over the wide sea’s breast,

Open the gates for me!

Sorely pressed have I been
And driven and hurt beyond bearing this summer day,
But the heat and the pain together suddenly fall away,
All’s cool and green.

But a moment agone,
Among men cursing in fight and toiling, blinded I fought,
But the labour passed on a sudden even as a passing thought,

And now—alone!

Ah, to be ever alone,
In flowery valleys among the mountains and silent wastes untrod,
In the dewy upland places, in the garden of God,
This would atone!

I shall not see
The brutal, crowded faces around me, that in their toil have grown
Into the faces of devils—yea, even as my own—
When I find thee,

O Country of Dreams!
Beyond the tide of the ocean, hidden and sunk away,
Out of the sound of battles, near to the end of day,
Full of dim woods and streams.


More unintended consequences:  some bright soul at a hospital figured out it would save the hospital money to buy qualified ACA coverage for their patients and have the hospital pay the premiums itself. After all, these are very needy sick people, just the ones Obamacare is supposed to help.  And they're in dire straits and probably can't afford the premiums.  And it would be very wrong to deny coverage to these desperate patients merely because they're already sick, right?  Why shouldn't the hospital give them money to buy health insurance, if it's cheaper than eating the uncollectible bills?

The Obama administration and insurers are up in arms about the proposal, because it will upset the balance of the risk pools, dumping all those expensive sick people in.

A little burst of honesty

Here's something you don't see every day.  The National Park Service is embarrassed about having cited an OpEd instead of scientific evidence for its statement opposing fracking.  It has requested that its comments be removed from the record.  There isn't even any weasel-talk.

News you can use

How to talk to your progressive relatives at Thanksgiving dinner:  tell them regulators are going to take away their organic kale.

Coming Soon: Ragnarok

The JORVIK Viking Center is a serious operation, so when they put out a press release calling for the end of the world, it's worth taking note.

Fortunately, they are ready with good advice on how to prepare.
‘Following a study published in 2010 that bearded men are more trustworthy than those without, we’re also looking for fantastic displays of facial hair, so that we can identify those with the potential to take us into the brave new world that is foretold to follow Ragnarok,’ said Danielle Daglan director of the JORVIK Viking Festival.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Hall, you are in luck.

(Earlier version of this post accidentally deleted, clearly another sign of the end times.)

Coincidences in the News

The Supreme Court is to consider claims that the First Amendment can't require religiously-founded companies to violate religious principles. If the First is not applicable to corporations, then religiously-founded companies will be limited to single-proprietorships or partnerships: that is to say, they will be able to be conducted only when exposed to full personal liability for losses, which is a significant economic disability. Both in terms of obtaining investors and in terms of surviving or recovering from difficult economic cycles, the effect could easily be to destroy the ability of the religious to operate in the market at any significant level without agreeing to set aside their religious principles.

The Pope has come out with a significant work that refers to the effect of financial markets on politics as "a new tyranny." It doesn't read like he is thinking of Hobby Lobby, though his remarks are on point there as well.

The Obama Administration has decided to close the embassy at the Vatican. Allegedly this is a lesson learned from Benghazi. The similarities are blindingly obvious: they are, after all, operating in a religious environment chiefly protected by mercenaries and militias. If this is how the administration connects dots, Benghazi makes a whole lot more sense.

Medicaid in the spotlight

Stories are mounting about people who are unhappy to learn that they're required to buy expensive insurance that they may not be able to afford without subsidies, and that at a low enough income they can't even ask for subsidies:  they're relegated to Medicaid whether they like it or not.  It's an uncomfortable position for people who've never intended to take a government handout.  It's especially jarring for someone with considerable life savings who simply doesn't have a great deal of current income.  As best I can understand, the recent Medicaid expansion doesn't require the new recipients to spend down their savings before qualifying.

Most of us probably are unaware that there is a complicated system, varying from state to state, for recovering some of the expenses of the Medicaid program from the estate of someone who received benefits after the age of 55.  I suspect this program is going to get more attention now that millions of people with savings but low income may be more or less forced into Medicaid.

Forging an Axe

Smithing is one of those things I wish I had taken up when I was younger. There may someday yet be time, and money, for such things.