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…]

Production vs. redistribution

Economics columnist Robert Samuelson is worried that we are moving from an affluent society (based on economic growth that benefits everyone) to a “spoils” society (an economic mindset based on taking money from other people). [Read more…]

Shutdown countdown

The federal government runs out of money at the end of the day today and will shut down tomorrow unless the House of Representatives and Senate can strike a deal to keep the money flowing.  Republicans, who control the House, are saying they won’t pass such a resolution unless Obamacare is delayed for a year.  (They earlier wanted to strip funding from it entirely.  Now they are settling for a delay.)  Democrats are refusing to back down from their signature health care legislation (a major part of which goes into effect tomorrow).

So now we are on the brink.  Tomorrow the government may shut down AND the Obamacare insurance exchange sign-ups begin.

What do you think will happen?  Do you predict a last-second compromise?  If the shutdown takes place, what impact will that have?  What impact would that have on the Republican Party? [Read more…]

The shift from freedom to tolerance

Liberals used to champion individual freedom, including religious liberty.  But, argues Family Policy Institute scholar Joseph Backholm, that concern has shifted to a new set of values centered around tolerance, the need to prevent anyone from being discriminated against.  To the point that some Democratic lawmakers and the American Civil Liberties Union are now opposing religious liberty laws they themselves wrote!  After the jump, read Backholm’s essay Why the Left Abandoned Religious Freedom. [Read more…]

Republicans as the new 1989 Democrats

Today’s Republican party is in exactly the same situation as the Democratic party of 1989 and making exactly the same excuses for why they can’t win a national presidential election.  This is the point made by two Democratic strategists who revisit an essay they wrote way back then, only this time they apply it to Republicans. [Read more…]

Keeping and remembering everything

In a discussion of memory, the internet, and our impulse to document every moment of our lives (are we really going to look back at all of the photographs on our cell phones?), novelist Dara Horn tells about a medieval synagogue that, in its refusal to throw away any mention of the Name of God, kept everything its members wrote down for 900 years. [Read more…]