The Health Exchange Hindenburg

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Obamacare is not fundamentally about providing medical care. Just as mandatory car insurance is not fundamentally about replacing or fixing your car.don corleone

Both are fundamentally about making you buy hand over money to a government-backed private mafia – the insurance industry – for “coverage.”

Which doesn’t mean you’ll get anything in return … except empty pockets.

One “family” of this mafia is the car insurance mafia. Another – the newest – is the heath insurance mafia, which recently secured from the Great Don in Washington what the car insurance “family” has had for decades: The power to make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Mandatory insurance – that is, insurance at gunpoint – is an example of cartel or crony capitalism. Rather than offer their services on the free market, to be accepted (or not) on the merits, the insurance mafia relies on the threatened violence of the state to force you to hand over your money for “services” you may not want or need.

Other crony capitalists have been cashing in, too.

When Obamacare was passed, the law required states to establish so-called Health Exchanges, which were touted as a “marketplace” for coverage (except you couldn’t say no – an odd conception of a “market”). Several states hired private contractors to build the web sites for these exchanges. Oregon awarded the software giant Oracle Corp. a  a multi-million-dollar contract to help build the state’s Cover Oregon health exchange web site.

The exchange failed, Hindenburg-style.Hindenburg

Reportedly, at least $300 million was spent to design Oregon’s health exchange “marketplace” – and not one person actually signed up, according to Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee.

Ellen Rosenbaum, Oregon’s attorney general, stated that Oracle “repeatedly lied and defrauded the state.”

The state wants Oracle to cough up the coin – and has taken the company to court. But even if Oregon wins, taxpayers will lose. The federal government has its paw out now – arguing that because some of the funds used to pay off Oracle were federal grants, the federal government should be awarded the funds rather than Oregon.

Andrew Slavitt, the administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (along with two U.S. senators) says that “the recoupment of funds from the state-based marketplace contractors (i.e., Oracle) is an area where the federal government has a specific interest.”

Imagine Marlon Brandon’s Don Corleone saying that, at a meeting of the Five Families.

It’s not just Oregon that’s getting the federal fisheye. Health care exchange crash-and-burns in Maryland and Massachusetts have also left potential billion-dollar craters in the earth.

Unfortunately, it’ll be taxpayers who pay – no matter who wins.Luca brasi

It was taxpayers who were forced to hand over their money to the state of Oregon and Maryland and Massachusetts as well as to the federal government – in the same way that Luca Brasi got the Hollywood producer to cast Johnny Fontane in the movie that would make his career. (Either his signature or his brains would be on the contract.)

The federal and state governments then handed this money – other people’s money – over to Oracle. Which did with it what mobsters often do after a big score. They went on a spending spree.

But now “Uncle Brasi” is irritated.

Not because taxpayers got ripped off.

Because he feels ripped off.

He wants “his” money back. Which of course isn’t his – and never was.

Oregon Attorney General Rosenbaum says she wants to make sure “taxpayers aren’t left holding the bag,” but the fact remains they won’t be getting a refund. Best case scenario, the state recovers some of the money it snatched – and maybe won’t feel a pressing need to snatch more, at least for awhile.obamacare

If, on the other hand, the feds win and the money is turned over to them rather than the state, the state will almost certainly look (again) to taxpayers for “help” to cover the deficit.

This debacle is just one of many that can be laid at the feet of Obamacare, which – it bears repeating – was never about providing medical care to people who can’t afford it. That’s the Happy Talk used to sell it to the people. But when all is said and done, Obamacare is about feathering the nests of the big insurance companies, which are among the most profitable businesses around. They are not providing “care.”

They are getting very rich.

Because you are forced to buy coverage – and that’s not quite the same thing as being entitled to medical care.

Those who didn’t appreciate this distinction but who supported the plan are now learning – the hard way – that maybe they should have paid closer attention.

Meanwhile, the “families” squabble amongst themselves – and (for now) it looks as though the best we can hope for is to not be caught in the crossfire. depends on you to keep the wheels turning! The control freaks (Clovers) hate us. Goo-guhl blackballed us.

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  1. Hey Guys, I guess this is as good a place as any to post this. I will be offline for a few days, as I go in for knee replacement today.
    Hold the fort till I get back.

      • Hi All,
        Thanks for your thoughts.
        Home from the Horsepistol and doing very well according to the physical therapist. Very tired and in varying amounts of pain, but it should be diminishing.

        • PtB, just finding this. Best wishes. I don’t get enough walking like I used to. I left at 5:30, in the dark, got in at 5:30 and it was getting dark. I’m just hoping that heavy clutch and brake are helping. Nearly 3 years and I’m not over the broken leg, probably never will be completely, but it continues to feel better. A new Peterbilt would help greatly……seriously. Or a job walking the RR all day…..Or being a counselor at the Bunny Ranch…..

  2. I don’t see how this all lasts more than a few more years.

    The business I worked for got sold, so for 2016 “family” coverage through my spouse’s employer would be $1300/month (employee share, her employer ponies up another $700/month)

    So I dropped out so her share of coverage (employee/children) now only runs $500/month (plus her employer still pays $700/month)

    I will be on a federal exchange with the cheapest silver-level individual plan, at $500/month.

    And we’re both in our 40s!

    I can’t imagine what some poor guy or gal in their early 60s, not-quite-Medicare eligible has to pay.

    • Hi Bill,

      I’m on my wife’s plan, but if we split I will go without “coverage” – Obama be damned. I’ll take my chances and the bastards can come for me, if they want to. I will – like the Scharnhorst – fight to the last shell against impossible odds, if need be, and go down with all my turrets firing.

      • Same here, I say screw them and the horse they rode in on. I refuse to “COMPLY!” (Can’t afford insurance anyway and I will not participate in gunvermin subsidies. It’s none of their damned business that I even exist, let alone what I earn or what my health status might be.)

        The key for tax filers is to arrange your affairs such that there is no refund due you. Although the IRS thugs can fine you for failing to “COMPLY!” with 0bamacare, they were given no authority to forcibly collect those fines except by deducting them from whatever refund might be due. So if you are not receiving a refund you can stiff the bastards they are unable to play their usual criminal games.

        • “It’s none of their damned business that I even exist, let alone what I earn or what my health status might be.”

          Oh, hail yayuh, Jason. That’s exactly how I see it. Fork’em all and feed ’em fish heads.

          I remember one of the mountain poets back in the 70s writing that watching “the soft-handed sonsabitches (politicians) talking on TV” and being reminded of baby copperheads running into their mama’s mouth to escape danger.

        • I am also not complying either. They will have to bust down my door for the “fine” as far as I am concerned (though I am guessing at some point they will just steal it direct from a bank account or something).

  3. “That’s the Happy Talk used to sell it to the people. ” Just like FDR’s administration sold Socialist Insecurity to the people as ‘insurance.’ But when the Supremes threatened to declare it unconstitutional on that basis, they said, “Oh, no. That’s not what we meant. We were misunderstood.” But lot of folks (most of them, maybe) still think of it that way – ‘We put money into the system, and they owe it to us.’ And they also insist that it is not an ‘entitlement,’ even though that’s what ‘entitled’ means, LOL.

  4. Sort of like astro-turfing, except almost the opposite. I offer you a bit of what I call anarcho-turfing. In this endeavor, I’ll find any old semi-relevant source material, post a link, excerpt a bit of it, and see where the whole thing goes.

    I don’t usually end up taking any one side of anything, but only exposing and disrobing all the various “authorities” and “experts” who never seem to be especially qualified in anything, except the art of pushing everybody around and turning everybody against everyone else so some scumbags can making a living off some age-old scam.

    The Flexner Report ― 100 Years Later.
    Published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine

    The Flexner Report transformed the nature and process of medical education in America by eliminating proprietary schools and establishing the biomedical model as the gold standard of training.

    In the middle of the 17th century, an extraordinary group of scientists and natural philosophers coalesced as the Oxford Circle and created a scientific revolution in the study and understanding of the brain and consciousness.

    A similar combustion of shared thought and imagination occurred at the beginning of the 20th century when a group of men who comprised what may be called the Hopkins Circle joined in a project that altered the course of medical education in America.

    They erected an edifice that became the system of medical education that we know today more than a century later. Their successful efforts resulted in the science-based foundation of medical training that has made the United States the recognized leader in medical education and medical research today.

    Much of the credit for this transformation has been appropriately attributed to Abraham Flexner and his critique of medical education contained in his Flexner Report of 1910. The membership of the Circle affirms a particularly American phenomenon in which an aristocracy of excellence occurs that is not defined by one’s origins or wealth, although wealth permitted the group’s recommendations to be successful.

    Abraham Flexner, member of the Hopkins Circle, was a former school teacher and expert on educational practices whose background and training made him an outlier in the Circle. (So not medical, sounds waaaay outside.)

    He was the sixth of seven siblings in a Louisville, Kentucky, Jewish family whose father was a struggling but unsuccessful business man. Education and being well educated had become the secular faith that replaced religious orthodoxy for Abraham and most of his siblings.(Yeah-yus the grand old-timey American State religion.)

    He was able to attend Johns Hopkins University through a gift and beneficence of his older brother, Simon, who was then a pharmacist in Louisville and later achieved great eminence as the head of the Rockefeller Institute.(Good ol Rockefeller, such a sweetheart.)

    Abraham assumed the role as major support of his family by teaching high school; His talents as a teacher generated a large following that facilitated his establishment of a private high school, where his visionary concepts of education were instituted and refined.(What a mensch, sharing his crony loot with his family.)

    His educational philosophy resembled that of the progressive model of John Dewey in which students learned by doing, by solving problems, rather than rote memorization that was the more common educational motif of the day. It was a philosophy that he would translate into his transformation of medical education in America.(Dewey, he’s the best.)

    There was maldevelopment in the structure of medical education in America in the aftermath of the Flexner Report. The profession’s infatuation with the hyper-rational world of German medicine created an excellence in science that was not balanced by a comparable excellence in clinical caring. (Yeah, kinda like Obamacare. A tad smidge of maldevelopment is all.)

    Flexner’s corpus was all nerves without the life blood of caring. Osler’s warning that the ideals of medicine would change as “teacher and student chased each other down the fascinating road of research, forgetful of those wider interests to which a hospital must minister” has proven prescient and wise.(dreidels dreidels dreidel doctors make us out of clay.)

    We have learned that scientific medicine must travel linked to a professional ethos of caring that’s held in place by our oaths and aspirations. (Cause our doctors are brillllllliant. Oprah says so.)

    Cross-talk must occur between the two with a bi-directional bedside to bench dialogue. This creates the frisson that animates the quest for breakthroughs in a medical realm.(Preach it himey.)

    The revisions in medical education that are now taking place are re-claiming the rightful eminence of the service component of medicine ― the centerpiece of the doctor-patient relationship. Though the Flexner model still remains in place, the solid foundation of the magnificent edifice that is American medicine. (Sheeesh.)

    Another 6 pointed star of wonder and light, that Abraham.

    I wonder how President Commander Paul von Hindenburg Care is going to turn out for everyone.

    …Figures, it’s always that damn Fegelein that spoils things.

  5. The reason we have employer supplied med insurance is because of the way the tax code is written. It started under FDR’s wage (and price) controls as a way to increase employee compensation w/o running afoul the the wage nazis.
    At the very least, the tax code should be adjusted so you can own your own policy and take it with you when you change employers, but employers would still be able to compensate you for it as part of your ‘package.’

    • In 1910 something had to be done about the falling prices of medical care. There were too many doctors for one. So our dear industrialist utopia builders commissioned the Flexner Report. It was put into action a few years later. Medical schools were shut down, the number of doctors decreased, state licensing further restricted doctoring to just one approach, the approach favored by the industrialists, the interventionist surgical and pharmaceutical approach*.

      Things started getting more expensive. Well then came the ww2 wage caps so employers start offering insurance perks. the prices went up then poor and old people couldn’t afford it so we got medicare and medicaid then prices went up then we got HMOs and PPOs and then prices went up. The people couldn’t afford the insurance so we got Obamacare to spread the costs out to people without claims by forcing them to buy insurance so then prices went up and insurance cost even more. This cartel has been fed for a 100 years plus and it always wants more.

      It’s not sustainable. It will collapse. Into government run medical care. Which will be rationed out depending on who a person is and how much he produces for the corporate state.

      *before this constriction women and various minorities could go to medical school.This constriction then resulted in the schools that served them closing and those that didn’t now being able to accept few or choosing to accept none because of the competition for all the spots nationwide. Today affirmative action exists as a patch for the consequence of the other interference. One intervention begets another.

      • “One intervention begets another.”
        Ain’t that the truth – with the Law of Unintended Consequences leading the way.

      • Hi Brent,

        You may find this article, “How Government Solved the Health Care Crisis”, interesting.

        As usual, free people acting voluntarily can solve, or at least mitigate, the serious issues that people face. This fact, of course, represents a serious threat to GovCo and their hordes of busybodies and planners. Thus, they collude with connected interests to crush the voluntary society.

        As for “unintended consequences”, I believe, with Robert Higgs, that they do not exist.

        “People label a policy as a failure because it does not bring about its declared objective. For example, drug policies do not reduce drug use; educational policies do not educate children better; national-security policies do not make Americans more secure; and so forth. The mistake is to take seriously the announced policy objectives, to forget that virtually everything the government does is a fraud. The best way to document the government’s nearly unblemished record of policy success is to follow the money. With very little trouble, you will be able to follow the trail to the individuals and groups who benefit from the policy. Occasionally the true beneficiaries do not benefit in the form of augmented income or wealth, but in other forms of reward, yet the principle remains the same.”

        “Analysts who approach the question of failed policies along these avenues (unintended consequences) can rest assured that they will never lack for new studies to perform and new measures to propose to legislators, regulators, administrators, and judges. For example, if government fiscal or monetary policy fails to stabilize the economy’s growth because it derives from unsound macroeconomic theory, then the analyst attempts to identify the ways in which the received theory is unsound and to formulate a sounder theory, on the basis of which a more successful policy may be carried out. This sort of back and forth between theoretical tinkering and policy appraisal fills many pages in mainstream economics journals.

        But it’s all a waste of time insofar as the attainment of the ostensible policy objectives is concerned, because these objectives are not the policy-makers’ real objectives, but only the public rationales they use to disguise their true objective, which invariably is to bring about the enrichment, aggrandizement, and other benefit of the politically potent individuals and interest groups that pack the decisive punch in the policy-making process—for example, those who can most effectively threaten legislators with affirmative punishments or the withdrawal of financial support for the legislators’ reelection if the string pullers’ interests are not served.” – Robert Higgs – “All Government Policies Succeed in the Long Run”


        • Skimmed article, yes that’s the before time, when things got cheap. That had to be stopped. Had that been allowed to continue medical care would be exceedingly cheap today to where anyone could afford it out of pocket.

          If the consequences benefit those in government or close to it I consider them intended consequences. That is how I make sense of how people run the world. The masses believe in mistakes and coincidences and I believe in self interest. By believing in self interest, especially weighting short term over long term, almost everything makes sense.

          • So you’re saying that if a gunvermin program meets its publicly stated objectives, that is an unintended consquence. Sounds right.
            Always remember Bastiat’s things not seen.

  6. Had to use Bing to find this:

    Interesting the estimate from the IRS was $20K/family in 2016. Note the article was written in 2013. I couldn’t find it, but I did just read an article that when all the costs are added up (employer and employee), next year we’ll all pay an average of $25K.

    Imagine what you could afford to buy with that $25K. Oh, sure a car. But what about a part time nutritionist? A few hours a day with a personal trainer? My custom built bicycle was a bargain at $7000, so I could have 3 and probably be healthier than I’ll ever be handing that money over to the “health” industry.

    • Obamacare is company town bondage.
      Medical insurance is unaffordable unless one has corporate employment. People must have medical insurance or else. Therefore one must have corporate employment. If you don’t want to be corporately employed you must pay the medical cartel or the government for the privilege. This of course makes it very expensive to try and go out one’s own. Which is why of course people starting their own businesses and being self employed has hit new lows.

      It’s all about binding us to a system which extracts everything it can from us.

      • “It’s all about binding us to a system”
        One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them, in the land of Mordor where shadows lie.

        • My approach looks saner by the day, doesn’t it?
          Kick things off before everyone is indoctrinated, and the entire system so corrupt Satan turns away in disgust…

          Or, we wait and reason with the cancer…. See where that’s going.

            • You owe me a new breakfast…
              Though it’s my fault, really, for being stupid enough to go read, and the result of reading is projectile vomiting… 😛

              OTOH, I don’t need lunch any more, I’ve lost all appetite… 😉

    • EricG, I just spent 4 months ( part of the time in a hospital and part in a nursing home for “Physical Therapy”) as a captive of the “health industry”. The costs for that added up to about a million, three. I can say that the so-called health industry is a total fraud.

      My actual recovery from injuries sustained in a head-on collision didn’t progress much until I came home, and dumped the 12 prescription meds they had me on. The whole industry is aimed at billing, rather than at providing any support for the health of patients.

      The $25-50K less that a corporate employees gets per year in trade for his insurance coverage buys only the assurance that a hospital will be willing to keep you as a hostage while they run wild with billing. Fish heads for all of them.

    • It is all a scam. I can vouch for this. I am a small businessman and I and my family (4 still at home) have been uncovered for the last 6 years. My gross revenues run between $30k and $250k. I couldn’t afford insurance if I wanted it.

      My neighbor is also a small business. He was kind of crowing last year about how he had gotten MNSure (The Minnesota exchange of Obastardcare- and another fiscal black hole btw). Last year he said it really wasn’t too bad. Until a month or 2 ago when he got the new premium notices- between the 50% increase and the $5k deductible, he’s facing $25k/year out of pocket.

      The few medical thing’s we’ve needed since going without have totaled a couple hundred bucks a month on average, with a couple of illustrative exceptions.

      My 20 year old son (important- over 18) got appendicitis and had to have a routine appendectomy. Nothing infected, didn’t burst, a procedure basically arthroscopic judging by the quick recovery and the tiny scar. They tried to charge him $21,000 dollars for a simple 20 minute surgery and a night in a cheap bed.

      Had we been insured we probably would have been hit up for a 2-5 thousand dollars after the “insurance” company had talked to the hospital cartel’s crooks and agreed to pay next to noting and make us pay that much.

      Instead after negotiating back and forth for a year where it was obvious that he as a single 20 year old guy with minimal income and not assets couldn’t pay $21,000, rather than settle for a reasonable $4 or 5000 paid over a year, wrote off the whole thing.

      It is all a very ugly scam. The doctors, nurses, techs, etc are well but not extravagently paid. But the Insurance suits and the hospital company suits have a very corrupt deal going where they skim off the very lifeblood of the country.

      People pay through the nose for insurance. Welfare deadbeats get it for freeeeeee… And then people end up paying as a deductible/copay what the total bill should have been anyway.

      • But but but. muh credit score. how ever will the junior john galts be able to rent to own their furniture and giant flatscreens at five times the cash price plus exorbitant interest if their magic prole score dips too low

        Might not hurt since its medical, heck, I’m still in the mid 600s discredit score range, despite all the countless not even life necessities but more like “deadbeat discounts” I’ve heartlessly taken over the years during my callously selfish gypsy financial terror campaign to rot the glorious American homeland from deep within the spangledest core of its yankee doodled deepest pockets.

        Good to hear more confirmation we finally have haggling here, like they’ve always had everywhere else.


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