States fare differently under Obamacare

More quirks in Obamacare:  The same policy from the same insurer with the same coverage costs $1,800 per month in Virginia, but it costs only $285 in adjoining Maryland.  This is because Maryland mandated that all policies cover, among other things, gastric by-pass surgery for obesity.  Virginia did not, requiring those interested in that surgery to pay extra for that coverage.

Presumably, insurance companies–which are not allowed to charge extra for the $15,000 operation in Maryland–are having to make up the difference when selling policies elsewhere.   I suspect that liberal states will be more generous in mandating coverage, with conservative states requiring fewer services unless consumers pay for them.  That will mean people in liberal states will get more comprehensive health care coverage at a lower cost than those in conservative states, which will also have to foot the bill for the liberals’ generosity! [Read more…]

Self-interest vs. ideology

Is it better in the realm of politics to stand on principle or to pursue self-interest?  Most of us would probably say the former.  But Robert J. Samuelson argues that self-interest is superior, even morally, to following an ideology, which breeds conflict, governmental paralysis, and the demonization of opponents.

Mr. Samuelson shows that the left and the right are both fixated on ideology and that their rhetoric and tactics are pretty much identical to each other.  After the jump, you can see how he makes his case. [Read more…]

From shutdown to default

I remember the government shutdown of 1995 and the huge uproar it caused among the general public.  I don’t notice much of  that happening today.  The shutdown is not much of a shutdown, with over 80% of the government continuing as usual and the non-esssential offices, while closed, are, well, not essential.

The much bigger issue comes in 10 days when the government reaches the debt ceiling and will have to default on what it owes if Congress doesn’t approve the borrowing of more money.  How do you think that will turn out?  How should it turn out?  After the jump, China and Japan are threatening not to bankroll us anymore if we default. [Read more…]

The Obamacare rollout debacle

Obamacare got off to an inauspicious start as the website that people were supposed to use to sign up for health insurance kept malfunctioning–not letting users sign in, throwing up error messages, and crashing users’ computers.  To the point that hardly anyone has been able to sign up for the mandated insurance.  Are these mere technical glitches, a bad omen, or an example of the problem with the whole program?  Namely, that it is too complicated, tries to do too much, is poorly planned, and is being run by agencies that don’t realize what they are getting into.

After the jump, a discussion by Ezra Klein, who supports Obamacare, about just how bad the website is. [Read more…]

The government is shut down

Lawmakers were unable to come up with a compromise to keep the federal government open, so it’s shut down.  “Essential” government functions, such as those affecting national security, will continue.  (I know, I know. . . Why is the government doing things that aren’t essential?)  But lots more offices will shut their doors.  Most discussion has to do with the number of federal employees who won’t get paid.  But there are also the considerable number of private companies that the government owes money to who are going to get stiffed.  Since the federal government is the nation’s biggest employer and biggest spender, the economy is going to take a hit.  After the jump, a list of what stays open and what gets shut down.

What do you think will happen now?  How long will this last?  How can it be resolved without either side giving in?  Might the general public support a government shutdown this time?

[Read more…]

Check out the Obamacare insurance exchange

Today the Obamacare insurance exchanges go live.  Everyone without health insurance must buy some, under penalty of law, from a list of approved companies. Here is the website where the uninsured must sign up:  Health Insurance Marketplace, Affordable Care Act | HealthCare.gov.

I thought that we could all look up what we would have to pay, but, as I should have known, it’s more complicated than that.  It looks like you have to start an account and enter all kinds of information before you can even see the different plans and how much they cost.

Some of you, though, have to go through this.  I’d very much like to hear from any of you who are uninsured.  Can you afford these premiums?  Do you find this a helpful program, or do you resent the federal government forcing you to buy a product at the cost of a big chunk of your monthly budget?  Or both?

My thoughts after the jump. [Read more…]


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