Free Markets, Free People

promises

Is the Obama presidency failing?

Edward Luce, writing in the Financial Times, certainly seems to think so:

Anyone wondering about the scale of the anti-Obama backlash should look at its impact on the 2016 US presidential race. Both major parties are looking for candidates with genuine executive experience. The Republican list of hopefuls is filling up with sitting governors. Among Democrats, hopes rest mainly with Hillary Clinton. Should Elizabeth Warren, the popular senator from Massachusetts, enter the fray Mrs Clinton’s riposte would trip off the tongue. Ms Warren has no governing experience, she could say. And we all know the risks of that.

Having authored an inspirational politics, President Barack Obama’s difficulties are spawning a new fashion for perspiration. Given its limited powers, the strength of the US presidency derives largely from its occupant’s credibility.

Faith in Mr Obama’s competence was already negative. Doubts now extend to his personal integrity. A majority of Americans tell pollsters that they no longer believe he is always telling the truth. Were Mr Obama in a different system, he would be fending off a leadership challenge or facing a snap election. Since the US constitution rules out those options, Mr Obama is in danger of becoming a permanent lame duck.

I’d say that was a pretty fair summary of the depth of Obama’s problems.  It reminds many of the George H. W. Bush “read my lips” moment, only on steroids. In both cases, personal credibility suffered.  It is also interesting to read the first paragraph.  Suddenly the experience of actually having run something or done something besides promote yourself all your life is in demand.

But Luce makes some important points – especially with the line, “Given its limited powers, the strength of the US presidency derives largely from its occupant’s credibility.”  Mr. Obama has trampled his.  And, unfortunately for Democrats, he continues to do so.  Luce gives a bit of insight for that as well:

But Mr Obama’s problems derive chiefly from his tendency to react politically to events, rather than from a lack of time. His fumbling response to the woes engulfing the Affordable Care Act show how hard it is for him to kick the habit – even if the remainder of his presidency depends on it.

Pinpoint accuracy in describing the major problem of this administration.  As I’ve said many times, it is all politics all the time with them.  And for such a politically astute group while on the campaign trail, they are incredibly inept in the use of politics while governing.  That’s mainly because the only experience they have is with politics – certainly not with governing.

Finally:

Mr Obama has continually promised more from his signature healthcare reform than it can deliver. In addition to telling Americans that they could keep their insurance if they liked it – a pledge that millions now know was untrue – Mr Obama said the law would extend coverage to the one in six uninsured Americans, reduce costs for the other five and improve delivery for all six.

There ought to have been more scepticism about whether he could make a thing universally available, higher quality and cheaper all at the same time. Only price controls and public provision could conceivably have done that. And Mr Obama had ruled those out early on.

There ought to have been?  There was plenty of skepticism at the time among those who actually took the time to think it through.  And so far the only promises that have been kept are those the skeptics said would happen.  The fact is this was panned by the entire right, but that argument against was virtually ignored by the main stream press who, on the whole, thought this was a dandy idea.  There was plenty of skepticism … just no one willing to listen to it.  Instead, they chose to listen to the snake-0il-salesman-in-chief.

So is Obama’s presidency failing?  Of course it is.  It is a presidency built on a cult of personality.  And once that which held it together and gave it its strength and resiliency is destroyed, the whole house of cards collapses.  Mr. Obama’s credibility is in tatters.  While there are those who will claim this is recoverable, it’s not.  Even if they finally get the website fixed, they then have to deal with the sticker shock so many are going to experience when they see higher premiums and higher deductions and feel lied too again.

Is the Obama presidency failing?  In a word, ‘yes’.  And if, as Luce claims, Obama is relegated to “permanent lame duck status”, so be it.  That may give the country an outside chance to survive this administration.

~McQ

If you’ve lost Redford …

Reality is definitely dealing President Obama a different plan than he and his supporters intended.   All glistening with “green” credentials and riding the hopes of environmental extremists into office, both expected to be able to push their agenda through while he occupied the Oval Office.

Then he’s faced with the reality of a recession, job losses and economic misery, all of which the agenda he backed would make worse.

Then there’s the added pressure of re-election looming and the fact he has to run on a record this time.  What’s a president to do?

Well set priorities apparently, and it seems the green agenda takes a backseat to re-election, much to the chagrin of his erstwhile supporters, such as Robert Redford:

One reason I supported President Obama is because he said we must protect clean air, water and lands. But what good is it to say the right thing unless you act on it?

Since early August, three administration decisions — on Arctic drilling, the Keystone XL pipeline and the ozone that causes smog — have all favored dirty industry over public health and a clean environment. Like so many others, I’m beginning to wonder just where the man stands.

Really, Mr. Redford?

He “stands” for re-election.  That’s why he’s in the midst of throwing your agenda under the bus along with much of the rest of the left.  He knows perfectly well you don’t have any place else to go. And, he also knows that he must do what he can to stimulate job growth before November of 2012, and that doesn’t include onerous and costly new regulations, further stifling the jobs possibilities associated with oil drilling or killing off those that the Keystone XL pipeline bring with it.

But he’s not worried … you’ll still be there for him in 2012.  My bet is you’ll show up with money in your hand to help him along again when he calls on you for it.  And all for more empty promises to be chucked out the window at the first sign of political trouble.  Real hope and change, huh Robert?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Meanwhile back to the more mundane but important stuff

Like uncovering more nonsense to be found in the promises made for ObamaCare.

Such as, “when everyone has insurance, Emergency Rooms will no longer be overcrowded.”

Uh, wrong:

Hospital emergency rooms, the theory goes, get overcrowded because people without health insurance have no place else to go.

But that’s not the view of the doctors who staff those emergency departments.
The real problem, according to a new survey from the American College of Emergency Physicians, isn’t caused by people who don’t have insurance — it’s caused by people who do, but still can’t find a doctor to treat them.

A full 97 percent of ER doctors who responded to the ACEP survey said they treated patients "daily" who have Medicaid (the federal-state health plan for the low-income), but who can’t find a doctors who will accept their insurance…."The results are significant," said ACEP President Sandra Schneider in prepared comments. "They confirm what we are witnessing in Massachusetts — that visits to emergency rooms are going to increase across the country, despite the advent of health care reform, and that health insurance coverage does not guarantee access to medical care."

Yes, that little 1/50th scale ObamaCare model that’s been functioning – well sort of – in Massachusetts (aka RomneyCare) has proved to be the debacle it was predicted to be.

And the ObamaCare promise hasn’t tested out there at all. 

The Massachusetts story Schneider refers to is important because it shows exactly what we can expect under the new health care law. In the wake of the Bay State’s 2006 health care overhaul, which provided the model for ObamaCare, emergency room visits soared. Backers of that overhaul made arguments similar to President Obama’s, saying that they hoped that by expanding insurance coverage, they’d get people set up with primary care physicians and thus reduce the number of emergency room visits. Didn’t happen. Lines to see doctors got longer. And as they did, emergency room visits rose 9 percent between 2004 and 2008, at which point the commissioner of the state’s Health Care Finance and Policy division kind of shrugged his shoulders and admitted that the uninsured aren’t really the cause of emergency room crowding. Too bad, I guess, and too late: Massachusetts passed the law anyway. And now the rest of us are stuck with it too.

Yup.  And the cost?

But John Goodman, the head of the National Center for Policy Analysis, did some rough calculations for the health policy journal Health Affairs last year, and he estimated that thanks to the law’s coverage expansion, we can expect somewhere in the range of 848,000 to 901,000 additional emergency room visits each and every year. ObamaCare’s backers are right that, as passed, the law will result in significantly greater health insurance coverage across the country. But all that coverage will come with a hefty price tag attached: about a trillion dollars over the next decade, and more like $1.8 trillion in the first full decade of operation. In return we’ll get longer wait times at the doctor, and even more crowded emergency rooms—but nothing like a guarantee of actual access to care.

Reality.

Sucks, doesn’t it?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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Promises, promises: If you like your insurance … nothing changes.

Remember this promise (it begins at about the 1:10 mark):

Here’s the reality:

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has notified customers that it will drop its Medicare Advantage health insurance program at the end of the year, forcing 22,000 senior citizens in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine to seek alternative supplemental coverage.

[...]

Under Medicare Advantage plans, the federal government pays private health insurers to sell customers over 65 years old enhanced policies, many of which offer prescription drug coverage not covered by standard Medicare. But the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been seeking to reduce the amount it pays to private insurers for such programs.

Medicare told Harvard Pilgrim to notify customers that its Medicare Advantage program, known as First Seniority Freedom, was being canceled. In a mailing, the insurer was required to list alternative Medicare Advantage plans, including those offered by its competitors.

[...]

It will be “slightly more expensive’’ than the Medicare Advantage plans, but competitive with supplemental insurance plans offered by rivals such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest health insurer, Bowman said.

Now I assume anyone who has read this blog for more than a day knows I’m not trying to argue for subsidized health insurance here.

Far from it. What I’m pointing out is the basic dishonesty that was rampant in the President’s promises about health care. An integral part of the plan to "pay for it" involved cutting out Medicare Advantage – an insurance supplemental plan that many seniors had and wanted to keep.

As you hear in the video, the promise wasn’t ambiguous or couched in rhetoric that gave a lot of wiggle room. Obama flat out says "if you like your insurance you can keep it. Nothing changes", or words to that effect.

A pure and unadulterated lie that he still tends to throw out there when trying to hype this white elephant Congress rammed through.

The simple fact – something anyone who took to understand where the Democrats were headed with this turkey – is that there was no way everyone could keep their insurance because the law was written to change the way insurance was delivered. And on the table, from the beginning, were cuts in Medicare that focused on eliminating what? An insurance program called Medicare Advantage.

It is one thing to watch a politician shade the truth a bit. It is quite another to watch one tell a bald faced lie (and I mean “lie” in the truest sense of the word, not how some tend to use it today). This one fits the latter category.

HT: Arley Ward

~McQ

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“I” isn’t just a letter in “Iraq”

Ed Morrissey reminds us that if we’re waiting on the present POTUS to show a little class and at least acknowledge the success in Iraq was due to his predecessor’s strategy and persistence, we shouldn’t hold our breath.  Obama’s weekly address is an indicator of why that’s the case:

On Tuesday, after more than seven years, the United States of America will end its combat mission in Iraq and take an important step forward in responsibly ending the Iraq war.

As a candidate for this office, I pledged I would end this war. As president, that is what I am doing. We have brought home more than 90,000 troops since I took office. We have closed or turned over to Iraq hundreds of bases. In many parts of the country, Iraqis have already taken the lead for security.

In the months ahead, our troops will continue to support and train Iraqi forces, partner with Iraqis in counterterrorism missions, and protect our civilian and military efforts. But the bottom line is this: the war is ending. Like any sovereign, independent nation, Iraq is free to chart its own course. And by the end of next year, all of our troops will be home.

Of course he didn’t “end this war”, success has ended it and “we” (meaning “he”) hasn’t brought 90,000 troops home, a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) negotiated by the Bush administration and signed, sealed and delivered before he ever was elected is the reason they’re home.

4 “I”’s, no mention of success, no mention of Bush, and strangely, no mention of inheriting something that seems to be winding up well.

Iraq has been on SOFA auto-drive since the treaty was agreed too by both sides.  It has nothing to do with Obama or his “promise”.  And I’ll make you a bet right now that he’s wrong about all of our troops being home by “the end of next year”.

As Morrissey notes about that promise:

It’s certainly possible, although very unwise. The Iraqis still don’t have much of an air force or navy, and it will take years to build both. They face pressures from Iran and Syria, and while their army can maintain internal security now, they won’t be any match for Iran or Syria alone, let alone together, if the two countries decide to subjugate Baghdad. I’d put that promise in the easier-said-than-done category, where the promise to close Gitmo wound up. If we’re not involved in combat operations, the political pressure to withdraw those forces drops to about the same level of class shown by Barack Obama in this address.

I’d say that’s about right.

~McQ

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MassCare best previews life under ObamaCare

And it isn’t a pretty picture. It also emphasizes how wrong many of the claims that have been made for ObamaCare are. For instance, remember the claim made that when everyone has insurance it will cut the use of the emergency room dramatically.

When the Bay State passed its health-reform law in 2006, 9 percent of non-elderly adults lacked insurance; that’s now down to 5 percent. The law didn’t reduce expensive emergency-room use as predicted. Instead, emergency-room visits have climbed by 9 percent, or about 3 million visits, from 2004 to 2008.

Or, how about the claim that it would significantly lower the cost of medical care – to the patient and the government:

Health care now consumes 35 percent of the state budget, up from 22 percent in 2000. Patrick recently asked Washington for $473 million to help make the Massachusetts reform work — on top of the $1.2 billion in support the feds have already kicked in over three years, more than $3,000 per person in the state.

And physicians? Why they’ll be competing for your business as government cuts payments to hospitals and doctors:

Reimbursements are already so low under the state-subsidized plans (most of whose 152,000 enrollees pay nothing) that doctors are already refusing to accept new patients with that "coverage."

Oh, and if you like your doctor and your plan, you can keep both – guaranteed:

Yet small businesses are clearly finding it necessary to dump their employees on the public health plans. The Boston Globe recently reported on a broker who helps firms do just that; his practice is booming. He’s seen about 90 business owners terminate their plans since April.

MassCare is almost identical to ObamaCare – many of the same people who authored it were instrumental in putting the federal monstrosity together.  Reviewing the above 4 items, I’d say they’re 0 for 4 in their promises.  The sad thing is we had this example at a state level there to study and as usual, the media wasn’t able to manage the comparison during the weeks of hype surrounding the bill before its passage.

This is you life on ObamaCare.  More money, fewer choices, less care.

That’s what happens when the gullible buy into the “something for nothing” political promises of a pack of charlatans and snake oil salesmen.

~McQ

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