Free Markets, Free People
In the middle of last week the buzz was all about McDonalds possibly dropping its health care coverage for its employees because of a requirement called the “medical loss ratio” which mandates that insurance companies spend 80 to 85% of the premium on health care. Because of the McDonalds business model, that’s not possible.
Not to worry we’re told, the administration will work it out with McDonalds. No word on how those businesses in the same boat but that don’t enjoy the political heft of McDonalds will fare.
Earlier in the week we were alerted to the fact that Harvard Pilgrim Health Care will be dropping coverage on about 22,000 senior citizens in the Northeast. Again, thanks to ObamaCare, the promise that if you liked your insurance, “you could keep it” was clobbered by the reality of the law.
Last Friday, two new developments foretold by the critics came to pass.
The first is that the Principal Financial Group has made the decision to stop offering health care insurance as a direct result of the new law:
At the Principal Financial Group, the company’s decision reflected its assessment of its ability to compete in the environment created by the new law. “Now scale really matters,” said Daniel J. Houston, a senior executive at Principal, which is headquartered in Des Moines. “We don’t have a significant concentration in any one market.”
The decision will affect approximately 840,000 Americans. Principal’s insurance product was mostly offered through employers. It’s assessment of the law and what it would cost the company gave it no choice but to quite offering the product.
“If you like your insurance, you can keep it.”
Finally, another problem that critics of the sweeping health care law said was as inevitable as Principal’s decision. A report today says ObamaCare will worsen the doctor shortage:
The U.S. healthcare reform law will worsen a shortage of physicians as millions of newly insured patients seek care, the Association of American Medical Colleges said on Thursday.
The group’s Center for Workforce Studies released new estimates that showed shortages would be 50 percent worse in 2015 than forecast.
"While previous projections showed a baseline shortage of 39,600 doctors in 2015, current estimates bring that number closer to 63,000, with a worsening of shortages through 2025," the group said in a statement.
Legislation passed by Congress is always criticized by some faction or another. Rarely, however, is it ever 100% correct. But in the case of ObamaCare, that may change. Thus far almost every criticism and warning leveled by the opposition to this monstrosity has been shown to be true. Unfortunately we’re just now beginning to see its impact.
Stay tuned for more and more of the critics arguments to be proven right as we wend our way into this almighty mess created by Congress and the President. Today’s news is reason enough to jettison the entire mess as soon as the numbers line up correctly in Congress and the right person is in the White House. Hopefully we’ll only have to wait a couple of years for that all to be in place.
The Obama administration is considering requiring US car makers to meet a CAFE requirement of 62 MPG by 2025. That is, of course how progress usually works: A beneficent, wise, all-knowing, government authority makes a decree, and the world magically changes to accommodate the desires of our political overlords.
Of course, it’s perfectly possible to make 62 MPG cars now. They just have to have tiny engines, and be extremely small and light. Who wouldn’t want that?
On the other hand, maybe steam-powered vehicles will make a big comeback.
Pending sales of existing homes rose 4.5% last month. They’re still 18% lower than the same month last year, however.
Factory orders declined for the third time in for months. Orders decreased by 0.5% to $408.94 billion, the Commerce Department reported. The decline was led by a 1.5% decrease in durable goods orders.
However, capital good orders rose more than expected. Orders for non-military capital goods, excluding aircraft, rose by 5.1%.
Is this a tacit admission that despite all the whistling past the graveyard that many Democrats are doing by "guaranteeing" they’ll win in November, the White House expects a GOP majority in at least one chamber of Congress?
If they’re not smoking the same thing as Joe Biden, then yes, it is.
What would that agenda look like?
They are talking about a new, more incremental approach, championed by former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, to fulfilling campaign promises on energy, immigration and on closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. The new White House chief of staff, Pete Rouse, is far more steeped than Mr. Emanuel in the culture of the Senate, where comprehensive approaches to some of these issues have fared poorly. White House officials hope Mr. Rouse’s expertise will help navigate smaller measures through the chamber.
"We weren’t able to do a lot of those other things even with this Congress. That obviously calls for a new approach," one White House official said.
Ya think? If indeed the GOP is able to take the House and narrow the majority in the Senate, they’ll run into a new obstacle – the GOP legislative agenda. And most expect that agenda to butt heads on everyone of the issues outlined above as priorities for the administration.
Energy will most likely be limited by Republicans and climate change will probably not be a part of any such legislation. As Ryan Lizza points out in The New Yorker, Obama and the Democrats stood on the dock and watched that ship sail a while ago. And most believe it hit an iceberg and sunk, never to be seen again or until the next all Democratic Congress and administration manage to get themselves elected to office – which ever comes first.
Immigration will also most likely not see a comprehensive plan offered. Instead, whatever the administration wants will run smack dab into the “secure the border first” demand from the GOP.
Same with GITMO – the GOP and many Democrats are not going to be happy or comfortable moving terrorists into the homeland from Cuba.
Then there’s the real priorities that one hopes the GOP will focus on instead:
Retiring Rep. David Obey (D., Wis.), the longtime chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said nothing would get done on immigration and climate change until the economy has fully recovered, and that the incoming class of Republicans would be in no mood to compromise on economic measures.
And that’s precisely the way it should be – in fact, must be, considering that lack of focus on what concerns the people out there in fly over land as reflected in town hall meetings and Tea Party protests says "it’s the economy stupid". The GOP had better heed the point and act.
The underlying question of interest is what Obama will we see when and if the GOP have a majority in the House? Will he be more conciliatory, drop the anti-GOP rhetoric and be prepared to try to work with Republicans? Or will he turn harder to the left, whine about obstructionism and use his bully pulpit to further demonize the opposition in hopes of garnering enough sympathy votes to squeak him through the 2012 election?
At the moment I’m inclined toward believing the latter is much more the real Obama.
Anyway, it appears reality is beginning to settle in a bit now. I’m sure Joe Biden is exempted from that since he’s rarely seen reality much less recognize it. But this announcement seems to point to some understanding that the window is almost closed to the grand, costly and socialistic programs that the liberal side of the spectrum holds so dear.
Somewhere in the night, QandO rolled 7,000,000 visits. We continue to get about 1,000,000 a year. Not what some of the “big boy” blogs get, but a pretty darn good average. Along with those 7,000,000, we’ve now surpassed 10,000,000 page views. That’s about a page and a half viewed per visit. And our average visit length is 1:43 – which is pretty darn good.
Thanks to all that have and continue to visit, thanks to all the commenters who keep a vibrant and entertaining community alive. So, let’s work on 8,000,000.