Tag Archives: Self-Congratulation

Analysis: how much did each Obamacare mandate drive up health insurance premiums?

How each Obamacare mandate affected the health insurance premiums
How each Obamacare mandate affected the health insurance premiums

Since 2010, we were inundated with reports and studies from various groups that argued that the new mandates in Obamacare would drive up the cost of health insurance. And that was actually observed to happen. Year after year, health insurance costs rose – usually by double digits. We knew why this was happening, too: Obamacare required health insurers to cover more conditions, many of them not even related to health insurance.

Here is an an analysis of which mandates caused health insurance costs to rise the most from the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

Obamacare caused premiums to rise for various reasons, chief among them being the vast new regulations the law imposed on insurance markets. A new analysis from Milliman backs this up. The study provided estimates of the average impact that various Obamacare regulations had on premiums.

[…]Changes in morbidity (or the sickness of the population) due to newly uninsured by itself caused 4 percent increases in premiums nationally, but in Ohio it raised premiums by 35-40 percent.

Age is also a factor in premium prices, and Obamacare disrupted the natural order by dictating the age banding, which disproportionately harmed young people. (Age banding here refers to how much the most expensive plans can be in comparison to the cheapest.)

Before Obamacare, the national rate of age banding was 1-to-5. In other words, the most expensive plan was five times more costly than the cheapest plan, with expense increasing with age.

Obamacare mandated that the rate be set at 1-to-3, so that the most expensive plan could be no more than three times as expensive. While elderly people’s premiums might have seen fewer increases—which is both due to banding and the fact that Obamacare is close to a death spiral—young people have suffered.

Overall, young people can expect to have rate increases between 58.9 percent and 91.8 percent using national averages. However, not every state had a 1-to-5 age band.

In places like Ohio, the effects are far worse—it had a 1-to-6 age band. Even accounting for the differences in its population from the national average, young people in Ohio can still expect to pay an average of 7.7 percent more on top of other increases.

In addition to this “youth tax,” mandates like the “essential health benefits” and actuarial requirements further punish all Americans with benefits that they don’t need, at prices they can’t afford. While in places like Maryland these mandates might only contribute 8 to 10 percent to premium increases, nationally they raise premiums by an average of 16.5 percent, up to 32 percent.

Overall, accounting for gender, age, and the relative proportions of all those groups, Americans are paying 44.5 to 68 percent more in premiums owing just to Title I regulations. That number is even higher when factoring all the other adverse effects of Obamacare.

Notice that “guaranteed issue”, which is so popular with those who feel that they can somehow be generous by spending other people’s money, is one of the biggest drivers of health insurance costs. When pollsters ask people whether they want to keep these provisions, they mostly say yes. But when the pollsters ask whether they want to keep these provisions if it means that their own health insurance costs will go up, they mostly say no. It’s amazing how American voters, especially Democrats, love the idea of spending other people’s money. As long as they don’t have to pay for it, then it’s a great idea to spend someone else’s money in order to buy the feeling (and the peer approval) of being generous and compassionate.

And after 8 years of Obama offering that feeling to his supporters, we now have a national debt of $20 trillion, instead of $10 trillion. Mind you, in decades of asking my co-workers, I’ve never yet met one Democrat who could tell me what the national debt was. I guess that would interrupt their feelings of generosity and compassion.

 

 

Satellite missile launch proves that North Korea can hit United States with ICBM

This story is from the Daily Signal.

It says:

North Korea has again successfully put a satellite into orbit, demonstrating the same technology needed to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and showing that its long-range missile program is becoming increasingly reliable.

In 2015, the U.S. commanders of U.S. Forces Korea, Pacific Command, and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) publicly assessed that North Korea has the ability to hit the United States with a nuclear weapon.

Preliminary assessments indicate that the satellite was approximately 450 pounds, twice as heavy a payload as the previous successful satellite launch in Dec. 2012, and that the missile may have a range of 13,000 km, an increase from the previous estimated 10,000 km range.

The longer range would put virtually the entire continental United States within range. Even at 10,000 km, approximately 38 percent of the United States, comprising 120 million people, was already within range.

It is clear that North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests are serious, irreparable violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions. This while the North Korean regime remains openly defiant of the international community despite countless attempts to reach a diplomatic resolution.

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

Hot Air explains how the North Korea deal was presented to the American people by Bill Clinton and his allies in the left-wing news media (note how similar it is to the way that Obama raved about his deal with Iran):

“This is a good deal for the United States,” said President Clinton. “North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our other allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons.”

This whole agreement collapsed in 2002, when the CIA discovered that North Korea was secretly enriching uranium for further weapons production. The country, which also carried the title of virtually being the world’s largest prison, not only kept the nuclear weapons it already had at the time–which estimates said was to be just one–but they built more (shocker) and the geopolitical situation in Asia hasn’t changed.

You can read about the full chronology for Clinton’s North Korea deal, the subsequent CIA discoveries, and the missile launches that violated the United Nations resolutions. It’s important for young people to know the history of the efforts by Democrats to give goodies to bad actors in the world. It never works, but young people are often not taught about these things in liberal schools. And they don’t do much on their own to find the truth about these issues.

Where do Republicans stand on the threat from North Korea?

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Texas senator Ted Cruz reacted to the North Korea missile launch in the ABC News debate last Saturday night, connecting it to the Democrat Party’s previous deal with North Korea.

CNS News explains what Ted Cruz said about the missile launch:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), asked to respond toNorth Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States, called for an expanded missile defense capacity and a “hardened” electrical grid.

But first, he noted that President Bill Clinton relaxed sanctions against North Korea, just as President Obama has relaxed sanctions against Iran: “So, what we are seeing with North Korea is foreshadowing of where we will be with Iran.”

At Saturday’s Republican debate in New Hampshire, moderator Martha Raddatz asked Cruz how he would respond as commander in chief to the North Korean missile launch:

“Well, I would note initially, the fact that we’re seeing the launch, and we’re seeing the launch from a nuclear North Korea, is the direct result of the failures of the first Clinton administration. The Clinton administration led the world in relaxing sanctions against North Korea. Billions of dollars flowed into North Korea in exchange for promises not to build nuclear weapons. They took those billions and built nuclear weapons.

“And, I would note also the lead negotiator in that failed North Korea sanctions deal was a woman named Wendy Sherman who Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton promptly recruited to come back to be the lead negotiator with Iran. So, what we are seeing with North Korea is foreshadowing of where we will be with Iran.”

Cruz said one of the first things the U.S. should do is expand its missile defense capacity: “We ought to put missile defense interceptors in South Korea. South Korea wants them.

“One of the real risks of this launch, North Korea wants to launch a satellite, and one of the greatest risks of the satellite is they would place a nuclear device in the satellite. As it would orbit around the Earth, and as it got over the United States, they would detonate that nuclear weapon and set of what’s called an EMP, and electromagnetic pulse, which could take down the entire electrical grid on the Eastern seaboard, potentially killing millions.

“We need to harden the grid to defend ourselves, and we need missile defense to protect ourselves against North Korea.”

One of the first things that Barack Obama did when he became president was kill a deal to deploy missile defense interceptors to Poland and other European countries. He wouldn’t protect America from missile launches from nations that hate us, but he did release $100-150 billion dollars to Iran to continue their arms development. We can see where that leads by looking at where the Bill Clinton deal lead North Korea. We need to learn from history. Democrats don’t do foreign policy to protect America. Democrats do foreign policy so they can congratulate themselves on achieving “world peace” by giving away everything to aggressive regimes who want to destroy us.

Underage teen girl forced into daily sex by Muslim “grooming” gang in Rotherham, UK

Muslim populations in Europe
Muslim populations in Europe

I’ve covered this story before, but there are some new details about the alleged sexual abuse from the trial.

This was reported in the radically leftist UK Guardian, of all places. (H/T Ari)

Excerpt:

A teenage girl abused by the Rotherham grooming ring was forced into daily sexual relations with men for years and used as a commodity to settle her abuser’s debts, a court has heard.

The girl, who was in and out of care from the age of 12, was allegedly taken around the country and made to perform sexual acts up to three times a day on different men, becoming pregnant twice, once when she was only 14.

She had just turned 16, and was still in local authority care, when her abuse became a daily occurrence, the jury was told. She terminated the first pregnancy but later gave birth to a boy who was looked after by her mother.

The girl is one of 12 allegedly groomed in a child sexual exploitation ring led by seven people, including two sets of brothers and two women, who between them are accused of 51 counts of abuse including rape, indecent assault, false imprisonment, abduction and procurement of girls for prostitution or for sex with another.

All of the girls were vulnerable to grooming and predatory behaviour, with unstable family backgrounds. “Some had unsettled home lives, had suffered previous ill treatment or abuse and some were in local authority care,” said prosecutor Michelle Colborne QC.

They were deliberately “targeted, sexualised and in some instances subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature”, she said, adding that one girl was so terrified of her alleged abuser, Basharat Hussain, she feared for her life.

The jury heard on Thursday that one of the girls was 12 when she was first abused, while the grooming of another alleged victim started with treats of “sweets and pop” and progressed to gifts of perfume and a mobile phone.

The catalogue of alleged abuse, which spanned more than a decade from 1990 to 2003, was said to have been masterminded by Basharat’s brother, Arshid Hussain, 40, who is facing 29 counts relating to nine girls. The court heard that he passed the lead victim to his brother and friends and arranged her abuse in flats, garages and houses in the Rotherham area and in London.

The violence against her allegedly became regular and no one in the victim’s care home expressed concern when she returned bloodied or shaken from encounters, the jury was told. On one occasion, it is alleged she was bundled into the boot of a car and taken to a house in Tottenham, north London, where she was abused by five men, all in their 20s.

“Afterwards she was driven back to Rotherham and ‘Mad Ash’ [Arshid Hussein] told her he loved her,” said Colborne. She tried to say no to the abuse, but eventually knew that to resist was to invite more violence and “protracted” attacks, the court heard.

“She was beaten, had a cigarette stubbed out on her chest, she was tied up, she was raped from a very young age, often by numerous men, one after the other, at the say-so of Arshid Hussain. She was insecure and vulnerable and believed he was her boyfriend,” said Colborne. “He passed her to his brother and friends, and over time gave her as payment to men for debts he owed.”

Also in the dock were brothers Sajid Bostan, 38, and Majid Bostan, 37, associates of the Hussain brothers, and two women, Karen MacGregor, 58, and Shelley Davies, 40, who associated with one another and with Ali and Arshid Hussain. All seven deny the charges.

One connecting feature in the case is a minicab firm, Speedline Taxis, owned by the Hussain’s uncle and co-defendant, Qurban Ali. MacGregor worked there as a radio operator and one of the victims said the Hussain brothers visited the office regularly.

The jury heard how Arshid and Basharat plied some of the girls with alcohol or drugs after initially befriending them. They then dominated and controlled them and subjected them to horrific abuse.

Jurors also heard that five of the girls became pregnant through the abuse, two of them twice and two of them aged just 14. Both had a termination the first time but gave birth the second time.

When one of the victims got pregnant she was persuaded by Basharat to have an abortion. “He told her Ash [Arshid] had children with seven English women already,” said Colborne.

The jury heard the final victim “suffered years of mental and physical cruelty”. She was 15 when she met Basharat Hussain, then 24, and they quickly started having sex. Her mother was unhappy about the relationship and would confiscate her phone, but Basharat would replace it. “He would habitually be violent. He would slap, punch, kick and spit at her,” Colborne said.

At one stage he became angry with her and called her a “slag”. He told her he had shovels in the boot of his car and she could dig her own grave, the prosecution said.

The girl went to the police on numerous occasions and asked to go into the witness protection programme, but Hussain allegedly told her he had a paid mole in the force and knew all about her plans, which she then abandoned.

Another victim said she was taken to a house that was run like a brothel. She recognised one of the men there “as an MP or councillor from Rotherham” who she believed was “related to one of the defendants”.

The trial is the first to take place since the Jay report into child sexual exploitation in the Rotherham area was published last year.

Explaining how the grooming allegedly worked, Colborne told the jury that one of the alleged victims, Girl A, lived in “squalid conditions” in the 1980s and was befriended by Davies, who was just three years older and took her to stay at MacGregor’s house. Girl A thought the house was “posh” and “she was made to feel welcome and was fed and clothed”.

The prosecution said “there would always be Asian men in the house in the early hours” and abuse soon started.

The girl, who was between 15 and 17 years old at the time and is now 43, told no one about the incident until she reported it this year after seeing allegations about MacGregor in the press and on Facebook, the court heard.

Notice how the Muslim men were (reportedly) able to find English women to assist them with their abuse of English girls. That part really sickens me – how could these grown women put their needs above an innocent child? Anyone can look at a little girl and know that what is best for her is education, care, chastity and marriage. Not sexual abuse! She was just a little girl! I guess I should expect this from a country where abortion is the law of the land… if they will murder innocent unborn children, then of course they’ll torture and abuse born children.

The problem of fatherless girls being vulnerable to abusers only gets worse as left-wing policies eject more and more fathers from the home, e.g. – single mother welfare, no-fault divorce, etc. Those policies sound nice, but all they do is encourage reckless, irresponsible women to make babies before marriage with “fun” men, instead of getting married to “boring” good men. I am sure that if these girls had fathers, they would not have been easy victims.

I would think that in our own country, that teenage girl could expect as much protection from Democrats as they were willing to give Kate Steinle, when they voted against punishing sanctuary cities that provide safe harbor for violent criminals. Democrats don’t care about the harm that can result to the most vulnerable in society when they refuse to punish criminals. In fact, siding with evil against the good is a virtue, on the secular left. Previously, I wrote about how the police had ignored complaints from the victims because they were afraid of being seen as racists. They get that idea from the left, which denounces anyone who tries to protect the innocent from evildoers as “intolerant”. Well, I think that the rights of innocent children are more important than the feelings of criminals.

Related posts

What’s the real cause of obesity in children?

Ari send me an article from the New York Times.

Excerpt:

It has become an article of faith among some policy makers and advocates, including Michelle Obama, that poor urban neighborhoods are food deserts, bereft of fresh fruits and vegetables.

But two new studies have found something unexpected. Such neighborhoods not only have more fast food restaurants and convenience stores than more affluent ones, but more grocery stores, supermarkets and full-service restaurants, too. And there is no relationship between the type of food being sold in a neighborhood and obesity among its children and adolescents.

Within a couple of miles of almost any urban neighborhood, “you can get basically any type of food,” said Roland Sturm of the RAND Corporation, lead author of one of the studies. “Maybe we should call it a food swamp rather than a desert,” he said.

Some experts say these new findings raise questions about the effectiveness of efforts to combat the obesity epidemic simply by improving access to healthy foods. Despite campaigns to get Americans to exercise more and eat healthier foods, obesity rates have not budged over the past decade, according to recently released federal data.

“It is always easy to advocate for more grocery stores,” said Kelly D. Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, who was not involved in the studies. “But if you are looking for what you hope will change obesity, healthy food access is probably just wishful thinking.”

Advocates have long called for more supermarkets in poor neighborhoods and questioned the quality of the food that is available. And Mrs. Obama has made elimination of food deserts an element of her broader campaign against childhood obesity, Let’s Move, winning praise from Democrats and even some Republicans, and denunciations from conservative commentators and bloggers who have cited it as yet another example of the nanny state.

[…]In one neighborhood in Camden, N.J., where 80 percent of children are eligible for a free school lunch, children bought empanadas, sodas and candy at a grocer, while adults said they had no trouble finding produce. Wedged in among fast food restaurants, convenience stores, sit-down restaurants, take-out Chinese and pizza parlors were three places with abundant produce: Pathmark and Save-A-Lot supermarkets and a produce stand.

Wow! So there is fresh produce everywhere! Why aren’t the children eating it?

Here’s another article Ari sent me from City Journal, by Theodore Dalrymple.

Excerpt:

About two-thirds of these malnourished young men take drugs, upon which they spend sums of money that, however obtained, would secure them nightly banquets. The drugs they take suppress their appetite: the nausea induced by heroin inhibits the desire to eat, while cocaine and its derivatives suppress it altogether. The prostitutes who stand on the street corners not far from where I live—they work a shift system and commute in from a nearby town in buses chartered by their pimps—are likewise grossly malnourished (they often end up in my hospital), and for the same reason. You’d think famine were stalking the land.

Not all the malnourished are drug-takers, however. It is when you inquire into eating habits, not just recent but throughout entire lifetimes, that all this malnutrition begins to make sense. The trail is a short one between modern malnutrition and modern family and sexual relations.

Take the young burglar whom I saw in the prison last week. There was nothing remarkable about his case: on the contrary, he was, if I may put it thus, an average British burglar. And his story was one that I have heard a thousand times at least. Here, if anywhere, is the true banality of evil.

He smoked heroin, but the connection between his habit and his criminality was not what is conventionally assumed: that his addiction produced a craving so strong, and a need to avoid withdrawal symptoms so imperative, that resort to crime was his only choice. On the contrary—and as is usually the case—his criminal record started well before he took to heroin. Indeed, his decision to take heroin was itself a continuation, an almost logical development, of his choice of the criminal life.

He was thin and malnourished in the manner I have described. Five feet ten, he weighed just over 100 pounds. He told me what many young men in his situation have told me, that he asked the court not to grant him bail, so that he could recover his health in prison—something that he knew he would never do outside. A few months of incarceration would set him up nicely to indulge in heroin on his release. Prison is the health farm of the slums.

I examined him and said to him, “You don’t eat.”

“Not much,” he said. “I don’t feel like it.”

“And when you do eat, what do you eat?”

“Crisps [potato chips] and chocolate.”

This pattern, however, was not the heroin talking, as addicts sometimes put it. Rather, it was the story of his life.

He had never known his father, who had not even achieved the status of myth in his mind. His father’s existence was more of a logical deduction, the product of the syllogism that runs: all humans have fathers, I am a human, therefore I have a father. To make up for it, he had known stepfathers aplenty, the last of whom was in a steady, though violent, relationship with his mother, a relationship that required the frequent intervention of the police to prevent its premature end through murder. He had left home when he was 16 because his stepfather had made it clear that he was de trop.

I asked the young man whether his mother had ever cooked for him.

“Not since my stepfather arrived. She would cook for him, like, but not for us children.”

I asked him what they—he and his brothers and sisters—had eaten and how they had eaten it.

“We’d just eat whatever there was,” he said. “We’d look for something whenever we was hungry.”

“And what was there?”

“Bread, cereals, chocolate—that kind of thing.”

“So you never sat round a table and ate a meal together?”

“No.”

In fact, he told me that he had never once eaten at a table with others in the last 15 years. Eating was for him a solitary vice, something done almost furtively, with no pleasure attached to it and certainly not as a social event. The street was his principal dining room, as well as his trash can: and as far as food was concerned, he was more a hunter-gatherer than a man living in a highly evolved society.

Maybe the solution to the problem of poor eating habits isn’t more government at all. Maybe the solution is more chastity and more marriage and more traditional families. More mothers and fathers in the home, and more family friendly policies like shared parenting, school choice and income-splitting. The UK just rejected that.

Evan Sayet explains “How Modern Liberals Think”

A lecture given at the Heritage Foundation by Jewish pundit and former liberal Evan Sayet.

Excerpt:

Details:

Speaker: Evan Sayet
Writer, Lecturer and Pundit
Host: Becky Norton Dunlop

Vice President,
External Relations,
The Heritage Foundation

Location: The Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium

Evan Sayet has been a top Hollywood writer and producer for more than 20 years. His credits range from The Arsenio Hall Show to Politically Incorrect. After the Sept. 11 attacks, Sayet decided to step from behind the camera and speak out in his own voice that of one of the nations top political satirists. At Heritage, his entertaining yet quite serious lecture will examine the modern liberal mindset and how it can lead to siding with evil over good and behaviors that produce failure rather than success.

This lecture is pretty strongly worded, so I would not recommend it to moderates. It’s very direct.