January 21, 2018

Thinking about Obamacare while in Cabo

My article as originally published in American Thinker:

My family and I recently returned from a much-needed vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We had a blast, but unfortunately, I was unable to completely escape being reminded of the disaster known as ObamaCare, despite being many hundreds of miles south of the U.S. border.

Feeding a family of four while on vacation can be a costly endeavor. My wife and I usually enroll in an all-inclusive meal plan because once the fixed price is paid, we can mostly order what we like without having to worry about keeping track of every minute expenditure. It may not be very cost effective, but it does help expedite the process of relaxation and ensure there are no multi-thousand-peso surprises at the end of the trip.  But since it was the first time we had brought our kids to Cabo, we wanted them to experience a few of the off-resort restaurants that the city had to offer. Therefore, it made no economic sense for four people to be on a meal plan during the days when the most expensive meal of the day would be enjoyed elsewhere.

We settled for four days on the all-inclusive plan and three days off of it. The price for adults was $105 USD and for children it was $55 USD. But the cut-off age for kids was thirteen which meant our son was priced as a child and our daughter (who doesn’t eat very much) as an adult. We did inquire as to why teens cost as much as adults, after all, our daughter wouldn’t be consuming any adult beverages. We were told that experience had shown that teenagers in possession of all-inclusive bracelets tended to order a meal, take just a few bites, and then order something entirely different, i.e., they waste resources. Cabo economic lesson #1.

Our children clearly thought they were royalty for the first four days while the all-inclusive plan was in effect. We normally teach our children to be cost-conscience (as I write this, my son informed me that he needed to lick the maple syrup off his plate because it’s expensive and shouldn’t be wasted), so at first they were a little reluctant to splurge, but we reassured them that everything was already paid for and that they could order as much of anything as they wished within the limits of the plan. Human nature took over from there and we did our best to extract every penny of value we could from the plan. I’m fairly confident the resort actually lost money on our deceptively-thin eleven-year-old son.

To the great disappointment of our children, the meal plan eventually expired and we were forced to revert back to reality and once again be cost-conscience. It was at that point that I began thinking about ObamaCare and health insurance in general. I realized that the days we spent on the meal plan were somewhat like being enrolled in the typical third-party payer health plan before ObamaCare had taken effect. After a set price was paid, there was really no thought given to what was consumed. This is why while on the plan, we were determined to get all we could out of it and gave little thought toward overconsumption or waste. After all, we’d paid good money for the privilege of doing just that. Be it food, healthcare or anything else, there’s no real incentive to conserve resources under this type of arrangement. The predictable behavior that ensues is in part why the cost of health insurance and all-inclusive plans both continue to rise.

Our attitudes changed quite dramatically once we entered the pay-as-you-go phase of our trip. We were suddenly much more cautious about our spending habits. Those enormous plates of carne asada nachos could now be shared by two of us; multiple appetizers were no longer ordered with each dinner and extra bottled waters were no longer requested with each drink order. My wife and I had planned ahead for this phase of the trip and set aside a chunk of cash that we had hoped to make last for the remainder of the trip. It was almost like having a health savings account (HSA). And it worked pretty darn well. The cost of the typical extended day by the pool including drinks, snacks and lunch was averaging about $130 USD while on the meal plan but had dropped to about $60 USD once we were off of it. Full disclosure: the off-plan cost would have been slightly higher had we not hoarded “free” bottled waters while the meal plan was still in effect.

So how did ObamaCare fit into our all-inclusive Cabo experience?  Fortunately, it didn’t, which is why there’s a very good chance we’ll be going back. While it’s true that third-party payer health insurance may not be the most efficient method of providing healthcare, any improvements are best left to the free market.

No, an ObamaCare-like experience would have required the Federales to show up at the resort and enforce a mandate that everyone purchase a government approved all-inclusive meal plan. Further, since not everyone around the pool could afford the expensive meal plan, the government would ensure that those who couldn’t pay for it would be subsidized by those who were already willing to pay for the plan, and by those who could afford it but choose not to enroll for various reasons of their own choosing.

After accounting for all of the mandates, subsidies (including for those who would purposefully earn less in order to qualify), failed website design and salaries consumed by bureaucrats, the bottom line would be that those vacationers who were once happy with going either all-inclusive or pay-as-you-go would find that they were now forced to buy an all-inclusive plan and then, in addition, pay sky-high “deductibles” before they could ever use it. So by the time any benefits actually kicked in, vacation would long be over with. Meanwhile, those being subsidized would have even less of an incentive to conserve resources than a fickle teenager in possession of an all-inclusive bracelet.

Back in the U.S., we’re stuck with ObamaCare because the president spends much, much more time vacationing than he does studying even the most rudimentary laws of economics.


When will daily ObamaCare body count reporting begin?

My article as originally published in American Thinker:   

Even before the last tidbits of silver and gold confetti could be swept away following New Year’s Eve celebrations, Americans were already starting off the year with fresh ObamaCare surprises.  Some of the new “enrollees” in President Obama’s signature law are showing up at hospitals in parts of the U.S. and are being met with confusion as to whether or not they’re actually insured.  Because of this, some are just leaving without needed treatment to avoid the enormous out-of-pocket expenses that would be incurred (which they would most likely pay anyway due to ObamaCare’s high deductibles), as Rick Moran discussed in this AT piece highlighting a Northern Virginia hospital.

And in Chicago, a doctor decided to move forward with a patient’s scheduled surgery not knowing if the costs would be covered by insurance:

Paperwork problems almost delayed suburban Chicago resident Sheri Zajcew’s scheduled surgery Thursday, but Dr. John Venetos decided to operate without a routine go-ahead from the insurance company. That was after Venetos’ office manager spent two hours on hold with the insurer Thursday, trying to get an answer about whether the patient needed prior authorization for the surgery. The office manager finally gave up.


Venetos, a Chicago digestive system specialist, described “tremendous uncertainty and anxiety” among patients calling his office recently. Some thought they’d signed up for coverage but hadn’t received insurance cards yet. Others had insurance policies that were canceled and weren’t sure if their coverage had been reinstated after Gov. Pat Quinn decided to allow one-year extensions of canceled plans.

Venetos said he has decided to take a risk and provide care for these patients, at least until there’s less confusion about coverage.

So what exactly will happen once tens of millions of Americans start losing their employer-sponsored health plans due to ObamaCare, thus adding even more confusion to a once-working system?  This is serious stuff, and if it continues, people will start dying in sizable numbers.

Just imagine if this disaster known as ObamaCare were instead BushCare under the previous administration.  Rest assured, if people were to begin dying due to these same disastrous policies under George W. Bush, Americans would be reminded daily of the body count, just as they were during the Iraq War when he was commander and chief.  Of course, not only would we be hearing about the daily BushCare body counts (along with his dwindling poll numbers); we would also be glued to the TV watching simultaneous impeachment hearings.

Don’t hold your breath while waiting for the mainstream media to provide any real tally of future ObamaCare-caused carnage.

By the end of 2014, perhaps Americans will be singing “Auld Lang Syne” while reminiscing about what once was the greatest health care system in the world


Who Likes Their Health Insurance?

My article as originally published in American Thinker:   

The Obama administration clearly underestimated just how tough the sale of ObamaCare would be once the American people found out what “was in it.” To say the task is a bit like selling broccoli or asparagus flavored candy to a child is surely an understatement. In fact, thanks to a short video my daughter alerted me to, the Administration can get an idea of how the American people feel about having the so-called Affordable Care Act shoved down their throats. (Note: the video is by Crest and Oral B, not Michael Bloomberg.)

While I’m quite certain the Obama administration sees the American people as helpless children who need to have every aspect of their lives planned out for them, the problem isn’t the administration’s sales ability. The problem is the disgusting product they are trying to sell. At least the guy in the video told the children “what was in” the candy up front and didn’t lie to them. And it appears these kids weren’t going to be force fed the candy once they rejected it.

Even a child understands when they are being scammed. And they certainly don’t care what kind of pajamas the salesman is wearing.


Don’t Fire Democrats in 2014, ‘Transition’ Them

My article as originally published in American Thinker:       

The  most “transparent” administration in the history of the universe is for the very first time living up  to that title, albeit in one area only. The utterly embarrassing disaster and  convoluted set of lies known as ObamaCare has given Americans a front row seat  at one of the windows into big government  — and the view is anything but pretty.

Conservatives  are surly not surprised by the results of this law’s implementation. But those  who did believe the lies and misinformation spread by the president —  Democrats, mainstream media, Hollywood and even WebMD — are seemingly left in a total daze, knowing not  what to do or who to turn to after being so brazenly misled. Vulnerable  Democrats are now doing their best pretzel imitations in order to  distance themselves from ObamaCare as the 2014 elections  approach. And who knows, maybe even Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Democrat  Party’s equivalent of Baghdad Bob, will someday be forced to concede the total failure of ObamaCare?

The  natural instinct of irate voters may be to just “throw the bums out” in 2014.  But in order to make a broader appeal to independent voters and those who may  someday be known as Cruz-Democrats, why not take the Democrat’s kinder, gentler approach to canceling… eh, firing  these “substandard” politicians?

Instead,  during the 2014 midterms and again in 2016, just “transition” these “junk”  politicians back into the private sector where they will have a chance to prove  just how much value they actually provide for society. Then maybe we can begin  the long “transition” towards getting our high standard Constitutional Republic  back in order?

After  all, according to Democrats, a simple “transition” is a positive thing and a way  to rid millions of Americans of their so-called substandard-junk-policies. So  politicians should have no problem receiving a “transition” notice from the  American people. That’s most certainly a better outcome than being canceled,  right?

The  American people really don’t have a problem with substandard health insurance plans. But they do have a problem with  substandard-junk politicians trying to control every aspect of their  lives.

I  think “Transition 2014” has a really nice ring to it.


What if Obama were an Insurance CEO?

A lack of accountability on the part of government officials is the very reason for a limited government as outlined in our Constitution.  The very Constitution President Obama and Democrats are currently tearing apart.

Andrew McCarthy discusses what would happen to Obama if he were operating within the private sector:

“If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.” How serious was this lie, repeated by Barack Obama with such beguiling regularity? Well, how would the Justice Department be dealing with it if it had been uttered by, say, the president of an insurance company rather than the president of the United States?

Fraud is a serious federal felony, usually punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment — with every repetition of a fraudulent communication chargeable as a separate crime. In computing sentences, federal sentencing guidelines factor in such considerations as the dollar value of the fraud, the number of victims, and the degree to which the offender’s treachery breaches any special fiduciary duties he owes. Cases of multi-million-dollar corporate frauds — to say nothing of multi-billion-dollar, Bernie Madoff–level scams that nevertheless pale beside Obamacare’s dimensions — often result in terms amounting to decades in the slammer.

Read the rest at National Review Online      

Just a Few of the Reasons ObamaCare will Fail

Steven Plaut lays it out in Frontpage Mag:

There is a fundamental difference between economists and lawyers (or legal scholars) when it comes to resolving complex social and economic problems.  Economists believe that human behavior and the functioning of institutions are based upon incentives.  Lawyers and legal types believe that one can resolve complex problems by passing laws and imposing regulations.  The latter think one can legislate away the problem.

I like to describe the approach by lawyer-types to such problems as “rain laws.” They are like trying to resolve the problem of flooding from heavy rainfall by means of a law making it illegal for it to rain.

Read the ten reasons at Frontpage Mag    

Nothing ‘New’ About ObamaCare

Dr.  Thomas Sowell once again makes it real easy for us:

Like so many things that seem new, ObamaCare is in many ways old wine in new bottles.

For example, when confronted with the fact that millions of Americans stand to lose their existing medical insurance, as a result of ObamaCare, defenders of ObamaCare say that this is true only when those people have “substandard” insurance.

Who decides what is “substandard”? What is older than the idea that some exalted elite know what is good for us better than we know ourselves? Obama uses the rhetoric of going “forward,” but he is in fact going backward to an age when despots told everybody what they had better do and better not do.

Read the rest at Townhall

ObamaCare’s 93 Million Lies

From Frontpage Mag:


“The Obama administration has known for three years that when the employer mandate is enforced in 2015 up to 93 million Americans will be forced out of their employer-sponsored health insurance plans”


Read the rest at Frontpage Mag


The Edification of the Low-Information Voter

My article as originally published in American Thinker:           

The  predictably disastrous rollout of ObamaCare has given conservatives a rare  opportunity — a perfect storm, if you will — to just sit back and observe  while low-information voters discover firsthand that President  Obama’s lofty rhetoric in no way matches the actual effects of his signature  law.  It’s as if these shell-shocked low-information voters are being  thrust into a once-in-a-lifetime crash-course on the failures of big government  — before the law even gets off the ground.  ObamaCare’s  implementation is different because previous expansions of the federal leviathan  moved “forward” due to the temptations of unbridled utopian promises (think  Social Security and Medicare) and because  the inherent economic flaws didn’t present themselves until well after Americans  were fully dependent upon the system.  Not this time  around.

Where  did these millions of potential students of ObamaCare come from?  They  were created by an educational system, mainstream media, and Hollywood culture that consistently push a carefully crafted  “progressive” agenda.  Because of this, low-information voters can  easily be found among a highly educated class of doctors, lawyers, professors,  journalists, and of course politicians, just as they are found among totally  uneducated dupes.  Or as Mark Twain said: “It ain’t what you don’t  know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t  so.”  Couple the above with the intrinsic human desire to be accepted  among one’s peers, and what you end up with in the U.S. is what can only be  described as one giant low-information voter factory.  Who says  nothing is “Made in the USA” anymore?

But  there is a window of opportunity here (that I’m confident Republicans will screw  up) thanks to President Obama’s and the Democrats’ false promises and total lies  about ObamaCare.  And millions of low-information voters (at least  those willing to believe their own lying eyes) are suddenly receiving a  much-needed higher education:

Here  are just a few of the possible course titles for incoming ObamaCare  freshmen:


  • Economics      101: Did you really think you could keep your current health  plan?


  •  Philosophy  411: If your health plan cost      rises exorbitantly, but you can’t log on to  the exchange to see it, will      you still save $2,500 per year?


  • Sociology      205: How a once self-reliant middle class can get almost “free” health care      by intentionally working fewer hours and collecting taxpayer subsidies.


  • Home      Economics 911: How to live your 40-hour-per-week life on only 29      hours per week.


  • Computer      Science 404: How to spend  $634-plus million building a totally overpriced non-working website with friends while using none of your own money.


  • Journalism      Bias 101: Is showing up three years late to a party still within the boundaries of being just fashionably late?


  • Constitution      101: The three Ts of ObamaCare: Transitioning from your current  “inadequate” plan into ObamaCare, Transitioning peacefully into the afterlife with IPAB, and Transitioning from ObamaCare to a single-payer system.

And  my personal favorite:

  • Community      Service 101: Lessons in Altruism: “I was all      for ObamaCare until I found out I was paying for it.”

I  know that’s a lot to cram into a short time frame, but for a simple refresher  course on why big government always fails, see my previous AT piece (complete  with charts): “Could  Forrest Gump Plan Our Economy?”  Tip: For extra credit, simply  change part of the title to read: “…Plan One Sixth of Our Economy,” without  any other changes, and you’ll be deserving of an A+.

Senators  Ted Cruz and Mike Lee were vilified (by both parties) for standing on principle  and leading the fight in the budget battle to have ObamaCare  defunded.  At what point does the low-information voter cry out in  horror, beg for that very same outcome, and realize that those who were called  anarchists, racists, bomb-throwers, and hostage-takers were actually trying to  protect them from this monstrosity?  Perhaps this is asking too much  too soon of low-information voters with such limited  educations?



A Few ObamaCare Questions for the President

Obama3My article as originally published in American Thinker:           

Hey  Mr. President — if ObamaCare (ironically named the “Affordable” Care Act) is  such a wonderful thing for the American people, why aren’t they treating it like  the perquisite you claim it to be?

I  ask this because you’ve been out there claiming that Republicans are willing to “harm” the American  people by defunding ObamaCare and are trying to do so only to “stick it” to you.  (Why do you always think everything is about you?) Also, your ally, Debbie  Wasserman Schultz, is saying that once Americans really start experiencing it  (the “Affordable” Care Act), they just won’t want to let it  go.

But  the American people are starting to experience ObamaCare and they surely just  want to regain the freedom to “let it go.” Due to this law’s costly  burdens, thousands are being laid off, having their work weeks  reduced to less than 30 hours or are being thrown out of their current health plans. And for the privilege  of all of this, Americans will be stuck paying much more than before this monstrosity was  enacted.

And  how do the politically-connected Americans you surround yourself with feel about  ObamaCare? Surely if your health care law  is so beneficial, those with the most political capital must be running to the front of the line to cut in front of everyone  else and climb on  board?

To  the contrary, your friends in high places are asking for (more like demanding)  protection from ObamaCare. You’ve exempted Congress and most of its staff from this law. You’ve given  thousands of waivers to a select few. Even some of your biggest  supporters, the labor unions, now realize how harmful this law is to its members  and are demanding special treatment — I’m sure they’ll get it even though they  haven’t as of yet.

So  let me see if I’ve got all this straight: you say that the Republicans in  Congress are trying to “harm” the American people by attempting to legally  exempt everyone from this law that they didn’t want in the first place. So does  this mean that you are intentionally “harming” or attempting to “harm” Congress,  unions and all of your favorite crony donors by illegally giving them exemptions  from ObamaCare? I didn’t think so.

So,  Mr. President, If ObamaCare is the panacea that you and your administration  claim it to be, I have one more question. If you had a son, would his health  plan look like ObamaCare?