Was Obamacare designed to fail?


Well, DUH!

Of course Obamacare was designed to fail. The system is built on lies. It is a Trojan horse for a total government takeover of health care in the United States.

In an op-ed in The Hill, Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D., who practices family medicine in Newport Beach, Calif., examines the issue. He writes:

As ObamaCare’s troubles mount, I’ve heard my patients and my peers in healthcare ask: How could the law’s authors not have seen this coming? For my part, I think a different question needs to be asked: What if they did? What if ObamaCare was purposely designed to fail?

Every day, it seems like there are a dozen new headlines about the crisis facing ObamaCare. Premiums are rising faster than ever. Meanwhile, health insurance companies are abandoning the law’s exchanges left and right, unable to compete in the top-down, regulation-driven environment created by the law. Less than three years into its implementation, the law has never looked so precarious.

This vindicates the critics who have predicted these outcomes for years. They were laughed out of the room when they said the law would enter into a “death spiral,” but now that looks like an inevitability. Even the law’s most ardent defenders — including its namesake, President Obama — are calling for serious reforms to stop the law from imploding. Inevitably, the solutions they demand are more regulation, more government, more top-down control of Americans’ health care.

Then again, that may have always been the plan. It now seems to me that ObamaCare’s creators weren’t blind to what they were doing — they were playing a long game that is just now coming to fruition.

Dr. Barke is late to the party but he’s definitely welcome to grab a beer, sit down on a comfortable couch, and stick around.

The evidence has been around since before Barack Obama became president.

Yale University political science professor Jacob Hacker, known as the “father of the public option” admitted at a Tides Foundation event in 2008 that Obamacare would lead to a single-payer health care system.

Hacker said:

Someone once said to me, ‘Well, this is a Trojan horse for single payer.’ Well, it’s not a Trojan horse, right? It’s just right there! I’m telling you, we’re going to get there over time, slowly, but we’ll move away from reliance on employment based health insurance as we should. But we’re going to do it in a way that we’re not going to frighten people into thinking that they’re going to lose their private insurance.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has admitted Obamacare was designed to fail in order to clear the way for a single-payer system.

Capital Research Center alumnus David Hogberg says more or less the same thing.

Obamacare is in a death spiral, Hogberg says. “A death spiral occurs when not enough young and healthy people sign up for health insurance. Thanks to Obamacare’s design, a death spiral is inevitable.”

The above is only a tiny portion of the evidence available, by the way.

So of course Obamacare was designed to fail. It’s a gigantic con job. It was drawn up in such a way that it would eventually collapse thus theoretically clearing the way for single-payer.

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David Hogberg wins book award for Medicare’s Victims


Congratulations to Capital Research Center alumnus David Hogberg, Ph.D., for winning an award for his recent book, Medicare’s Victims: How the U.S. Government’s Largest Health Care Program Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians.

Medicare’s Victims won a bronze medal in the category of “Current Events II (Social Issues / Public Affairs/ Ecological / Humanitarian)” from the eLit Book Awards.



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Insuring Crony Capitalism


Insuring Crony Capitalism

Obamacare leads trade groups to fight for a bigger place at the trough

by David Hogberg, Organization Trends, February 2016 (PDF here)

Summary:  Obamacare was originally passed into law with the help of payoffs to industries in health care.  Now the law’s machinery encourages each part of the medical sector to advocate for policy twists that benefit their group at the expense of other groups—and of consumers above all.  For instance, the insurance industry wants to use government to squeeze drug makers, and part of this campaign involves a “nonpartisan” nonprofit think tank that’s designed to persuade the public that price controls on drugs will be swell.  Actually, the history of price controls proves the opposite.  If Americans want both innovation and incentives for lower prices, they will have to substitute competition in the marketplace for government-run health care.

The year 2009 must seem like the halcyon days for the health care industry and crony capitalism.  The process of passing a health care overhaul, eventually dubbed Obamacare, through Congress provided stakeholders in the health care industry ample opportunity to use the government to their advantage.  Instead of trying to convince consumers to purchase their products and services—i.e., instead of competition via the marketplace—health care companies would support government policies that forced people to purchase their products and used subsidies from taxpayers to lessen the pain of the purchase.

It seemed there was something for almost every stakeholder.  As the saying went during the debate over Obamacare, “Better to be at the table than on the table.”  The insurance companies secured an individual mandate that requires most Americans to purchase their services.  Other goodies for insurers included government subsidies to help people purchase health insurance and a bailout—called a “risk corridor”—for insurers who lose money in the Obamacare exchanges during their first three years of operation.  In return, the insurance industry trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), publicly backed the bill, and insurance companies spent millions of dollars lobbying for it.

The pharmaceutical industry made out pretty well too.  Prescription drugs were one of the “essential benefits” that Obamacare mandates all “qualified” health insurance must cover.  Through the benefit mandate, the pharmaceutical industry was getting an in-kind subsidy for its products.  The pharmaceutical industry also received a promise from the Obama administration that the amount it would have to contribute to health care reform would not be more than $80 billion over 10 years, down from an initial $100 billion.  The pharmaceutical industry’s quid pro quo was a $150 million advertising campaign in 2009 backing Obamacare.

Those days are over.  As 2016 dawns, one section of the health industry is flirting with another type of crony capitalism: using government regulation to hamstring some market players for the benefit of others.  Specifically, the insurance industry, with a big assist from the political Left, is supporting more government regulations on the pharmaceutical industry, new mandates that could ultimately lead to price controls.

Such price controls would no doubt boost insurance industry profits by artificially lowering the price of the prescription drugs that insurers must cover.  Yet price controls invariably have nasty side effects, such as shortages and decreased investment.  For patients, this could mean difficulty in getting much needed pharmaceuticals in a timely manner, and fewer new drugs that better treat disease.  Expect this sort of crony capitalism in the health care industry to continue as long as Obamacare is the law of the land.

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“Official Time” and the Veterans Affairs Scandal / Sick veterans languish on waiting lists while VA employees work full-time for unions

 “Official Time” and the Veterans Affairs Scandal

Sick veterans languish on waiting lists while VA employees work full-time for unions (PDF here)

By Alec Torres

Summary: The Veterans Affairs scandal shocked the nation, and as further revela­tions of widespread corruption and failure became public, they showed the natural failure of socialized medicine. But one part of the scandal has not received the attention it deserves: the role of special privileges for union officials, who spend their time serving their self-interest, rather than serving the nation’s ailing veterans.

As bad as the VA scandal seems, it’s actually worse. While veterans of the U.S. armed forces wait for health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is paying hundreds of its employees to work full-time for labor unions.

First, a summary of the facts behind the scandal:

The VA boasts that it “operates the na­tion’s largest integrated health care system, with more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics, community living centers, domiciliaries, readjustment counseling centers, and other facilities.” Yet officials at as many as 42 VA facilities have come under investigation for allegedly keeping two sets of books, appar­ently in order to hide long wait-times (and protect bonuses that are paid if wait-times are short). After a patient requested an appoint­ment, administrators would wait to enter the request into the electronic records system until the point at which a doctor would be available within 14 days.

After the scandal broke, first reported by CNN, the VA conducted an internal audit that found that over 57,000 patients had to wait more than three months for their initial appointments at the VA. Around 70 percent of all VA facilities had used an alternative to the official appointment schedule in or­der to deceptively minimize the reported wait-times.

When the scandal became public, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki declared himself “mad as hell,” while President Obama declared himself “madder than hell.” Shinseki was fired and replaced by former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald.

The scandal takes on added significance because the VA has been cited in the debate over health care. As members of Congress considered the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” the VA system was often cited as a model for healthcare in America. [See the sidebar by Steven J. Allen Continue reading →

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VA Scandal: This Is What Death Panels Look Like

Capital Research Center’s Matthew Vadum has an article in today’s FrontPage magazine well worth reading.

Here it is:


VA Scandal: This Is What Death Panels Look Like

By Matthew Vadum

The Veterans Administration hospital scandal that has claimed the lives of at least 40 U.S. military veterans continues to expand, adding to the image of a president who neither knows nor cares what happens to those who shed their blood on the battlefield for their fellow Americans.

With a little under six months before the crucial midterm elections, it is a helpful reminder to voters of the horrors that are not glitches, but essential features, of government-provided health care. The problems at the VA are omens, sneak previews of what the delivery of all health care in America will look like under Obamacare, and so it is fortuitous that the scandal should surface now.

President Obama is predictably, perfunctorily, outraged about these bad things that have been happening in the government he controls. He is shocked and promises to get to the bottom of the issue and do better in the future. It is tedious stuff.

The happenings at the VA are also more evidence, Obama critics say, that the president despises the military. Obama has been moving to reduce soldier pay and benefits and hollow out the military to mid-century staff levels. He has also been going on a human resources rampage, firing flag officers at a rate that alarms military observers. And like any good leftist, Obama believes that the only good American soldier is one who is functioning as a social worker, not a war-fighter.

Meanwhile, Obama VA officials have been working overtime covering up the various waiting list atrocities that have been popping up cross the country.

A whistleblower who exposed the waiting list scandal in Fort Collins, Colorado, says she was suspended after she refused to falsify records.

Lisa Lee, who was employed at that clinic, said she was placed on two weeks of unpaid leave for not following a directive that involved “cooking the books” on scheduling medical appointments to create the false impression that appointments were made closer to the time veterans requested.

“Why are they throwing me under the bus when I’m trying to say what the problem is?”

At least 40 U.S. veterans have died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix, Ariz., Veterans Affairs Health Care system, CNN reported April 30. Many of the dead had been put on a secret waiting list.

That list was reportedly part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Administration officials who were attempting to conceal the fact that between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a physician.

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Obamacare bites AmeriCorps

Over at PhilanthropyDaily.com, I have a piece on what may be the funniest of all the grim unintended consequences of Obamacare. It involves the endlessly controversial federal program known as “AmericaCorps,” which pays “volunteers” who work for nonprofits.

The program’s pseudo-volunteers now face penalties under Obamacare, because the health plans the Obama Administration provides for AmeriCorps members don’t meet the Administration’s requirements under the Affordable Care Act.

On the up side, this embarrassment has been educational for AmeriCorps youth, because it has helped them better understand the nature of government. Take AmeriCorps member Abby Grosslein, who is pictured in a New York Times article on this problem posing under her BarackObama.com FORWARD! poster:

“It would be nice if the government waived the penalty because we are a federally funded program,” said Ms. Grosslein, 24, who is completing her third year of service with AmeriCorps. “It’s as if the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.”

(Abby Grosslein, photographed by Cheryl Gerber for the New York Times)

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MoveOn freaking out over Obamacare

I just received this panicky mass email from MoveOn:


Dear MoveOn member,

There’s no sugar-coating it: Obamacare is in serious political trouble. And progressives need to step up and start fighting to save it right now.

Obviously, the law itself is still really good. But it’s clear to everyone that rollout has been badly botched—and now Republicans smell blood in the water. They think this is their chance to undo the whole thing. Worse yet, some Democrats in Congress are starting to waver too.1

To fight back, we need to push hard on Republicans trying to undermine the law—as well as Democrats thinking about caving. We also need to hold media outlets accountable for spreading false reports about the parts of the law that are working just fine.

But we don’t have much time. The House is voting tomorrow on a bill that would gut the whole law, and according to news reports some Democrats might vote for it as well.2 We’re aiming to raise $175,000 to make sure we have enough resources to turn the tide. Can you chip in $3?

Yes, I can contribute $3 to help save Obamacare.

There’s no excuse for the problems with the website. We all know that. But the website will be fixed.

And we can’t let a bad website undercut the most important expansion of the social safety net since the 1960s.

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Obamacare, the ‘Free Rider’ Provision & Food Service Employees

Remember when former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi – in a moment of surprising candor – said of Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it”?

Well, we’re just 14 days into 2013, and already we’re beginning to find out just how harmful it’s going to be to our economy.  The first victims? Hourly-wage employees at fast-food restaurants.

Within the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congress approved a “Free Rider” provision that is forcing businesses such as fast-food restaurants to cut hours on “part-time” workers.

Here’s the crux of the problem: The so-called “Free Rider” provision requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees that do not provide health coverage to pay a $2,000 penalty for every uninsured worker above the threshold of 30 employees.

What’s more, according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, businesses that do provide health coverage for their workers will need to ensure that the plan covers 60% of medical bills, on average, and costs employees less than 9.5% of their household income. If the businesses fail to meet these standards, they will be fined $3,000 for each employee above the 30-person mark.

As a result of this provision, employers in the food service industry are scrambling to cut the number of “full-time employees” to get under the critical 30-worker threshold.

An e-mail sent by an operator of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Florida to employees and obtained by CRC summarizes the problem this way: “The implementation of this act is causing me to differentiate between part-time and full-time employees. Because I’m considered a ‘large employer,’, I’ve had to make some difficult decisions.”

The operator wrote that hours would be cut for “part-time” employees in order to prevent them from being classified as full-time employees, which the law defines as employees working 30 hours or more.

Last week Fox News reported that nearly 100 Wendy’s ‘non-management’ employees in Nebraska would have their hours reduced because of Obamacare. This Wendy’s franchise in Nebraska, like the Chick-fil-A in Florida, is among many food service companies that are reducing the hours of hourly-wage workers to sidestep these new regulations.

Congressional Democrats and President Obama have outwardly expressed their pride in this law. They claim it will bring savings for families, equality for the uninsured, and stability to the health care sector.

What is clear right now, though, is that at least some of the people this bill was designed to help are actually being hurt. Many food service employees now have to look for second jobs because their hours are being cut – or worse, they have been let go and now have to look for another job altogether.

Many of these employees could barely afford insurance, if at all, before these cuts and layoffs. Starting in 2014, these same individuals will be required to purchase insurance—private or through the exchange—or face hefty fines.

The Free Rider provision in the ACA is another example of legislation that is both ineffective and harmful to individuals and to businesses.

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Jack Black and America Ferrera Mock Those Opposed to ObamaCare in New Ad

FoxNews.com quotes me in an article about comic actor Jack Black and America Ferrera appearing in a commercial that mocks those who don’t like ObamaCare.

Here’s a link to the article.

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The Million-Dollar Sister: Hospital Executive Chooses Obamacare Over Catholic Creed

Frequent Capital Research Center contributor Elias Crim has an excellent op-ed in the Washington Times touching upon the absurdity of the Catholic Health Association’s support for ObamaCare.

It begins

This Sunday, one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People will address this year’s senior class at Gonzaga College High School in Washington. For Sister Carol Keehan, here’s a suggestion for an inspiring topic: “How to make it big.”

As president of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), the largest group of not-for-profit health care facilities in the country, Sister Carol, as she’s called, delivered an 11th-hour endorsement of President Obama’s health care reform bill. Herseal of approval appeared to give the legislation a Catholic blessing. It even earned Sister Carol one of the 21 pens the president used to sign the bill into law.

However, the CHA’s endorsement contradicted the position of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a group whose commitment to health care reform is decades old. The bishops exercise oversight on Catholic moral teaching that transcends the legislative policy provisions over which politicians squabble.

So whom to believe? Which group represents authentic Catholic opinion? “Listen to the nuns,” urges columnist E.J. Dionne, a Catholic, like Sister Carol, who wins praise in the secular world by his redefinition of the word “Catholic.” His endorsement of Sister Carol is critical to politicians like North Dakota Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy, who cites the encouragement of “Catholic nuns” to defend his vote for Obamacare. […]

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