Wednesday, 09 October 2013


Ken Berwitz

This is an easy blog

Nothing to do but just cut and paste the following excerpts of Andrea Mitchell's contentious, partisan interview with Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)  You can click here for the full video:

MITCHELL: But the larger point, Congressman Duffy, is these mini-CRs, mini-continuing resolutions, that's the whole question of taking little pieces of the government. The issue is not that this is a small matter, it's a very big matter, but so is the matter of the kids in Head Start. So is the problem of the single moms who aren't getting food stamps and aren't getting their help. So down the road are the survivors' benefits. And that fund is going to run out in weeks if not months. So you can't take this piecemeal, congressman. Isn't the issue that someone has to sit down and figure out what to do about the stalemate that has led to this disgrace?

DUFFY: You hit the nail on the head. The president has said, "I won't sit at the table." Harry Reid said, "I won't negotiate."

MITCHELL: No. He said to the speaker today on the phone, according to the White House --

DUFFY: I won't negotiate.

MITCHELL: He said that he will negotiate and negotiate a lot of things that you all want -- tax reform, entitlements -- that he will negotiate once the threat of the government shutdown and of the debt default is not hanging over their heads. That's what he said.

DUFFY: Andrea, that's ridiculous. I think you said you've been through 18 shutdowns. I don't know if you've seen a president that has come and said, "I'm not going to negotiate." This is historic that a president says, "I'm not going to sit at the table." As a guy that's the 10th of 11 kids, families work through problems by talking and communicating, so to does the government. And you're well aware that all we've asked for is that the president and the administration join us in Obamacare -- the American people and Congress -- and that individuals and families be treated just like big business. That's what they are holding out for.

MITCHELL: Congressman, you're asking him -- that's a non-negotiable demand. Why not sit down and negotiate over entitlement reform, which is something that you all have been demanding and that he has offered in his initial budget. You're putting on the table a non-negotiable demand.

DUFFY: Listen, is it non-negotiable that he's not going to enter Obamacare, and he's going to say, "I get my gold-plated health care plan, but I want members of Congress and rest of America to be in Obamacare." That's non-negotiable? Come on. That's not reasonable. One issue that we have is the media won't even ask the question about why are you treating families different than big businesses. You need Jon Stewart on Comedy Central to ask Secretary Sebelius, "Hey, why won't you treat these two equally," and she can't answer it. That's how pathetic I think news reporting has become when we won't ask tough questions to the administration.

MITCHELL: Well, we've asked questions to both sides. That's not fair.

DUFFY: Do you ask that question, Andrea?

MITCHELL: We have asked the question. The basic point is that --

DUFFY: Why do you want your own health care, and you won't join us in Obamacare? That question I haven't seen anybody ask on MSNBC. Please ask it because they don't have a good answer for it. With regard to actually --

MITCHELL: The response that Kathleen Sebelius gave to Jon Stewart was, "If we had gotten what we wanted, which was a single-payer plan, this wouldn't be the problem."

DUFFY: You say, "I think this is what they would say," but you don't know what they would say because you haven't asked. And that's one of the problems we have here. But I think in regard to negotiating issues, Andrea, I think we can sit at the table and go, "OK, well if these ones are off the table, what is on the table, Mr. President," as we move towards the debt limit negotiation. And he would say, "Well, let's talk." Maybe it's going to be entitlement reform, maybe it's tax reform. We'll have all those conversations, but when he says, "You have to give me what I want, I'm not going to talk to you," I think America looks at that and goes, "I understand there's divided government, people are hard on both sides, but I expect them to talk to each other and work through their differences and make it work." And that's not happening now, Andrea.

MITCHELL: With all due respect, this is about military death benefits to kids, to 19-year-old kids who have died in Afghanistan, and who are not returning home. This is about what their families are entitled to by law and what they are not getting. This is not about what you want on Obamacare, and it's not what the president wants on the debt ceiling.

DUFFY: Don't spin that on me. I just told you at the top of our segment that we're going to pass a mini-CR to address those benefits. We're going to look out for our military, especially those families who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We are going to do that, and we're going to do it this week. You were asking me about the larger issue of why can't people resolve this government shutdown. And we have been incredibly reasonable, making a small ask.

MITCHELL: You consider it a small ask that he get rid of the central part of his health care plan that was upheld by the vote of a presidential election and the United States Supreme Court.

DUFFY: Andrea, hold on. that's your spin.

MITCHELL: It's not spin.

DUFFY: Listen, he gave a one-year exemption for businesses in regard to taxes and penalties in Obamacare. Everyone still can go into the exchange if they want but they're not penalizing big business if they don't go in. We've said, for the individuals, for the families, if they want to go into Obamacare they can, but if they don't, for one year don't tax them or penalize them just like the way you're treating big businesses. That is fair under the law. That's all we've asked for. He's won the debate, Andrea. The exchanges are up and kind of running. There's subsidies out there. This is a small ask on equity and equality under the law for individuals and families just like big business. And why won't he join us in Obamacare? Why wasn't Michelle Obama, on October 1st, at the computer with her family signing up for Obamacare? Or Jay Carney? They have their own gold-plated health care plan --

MITCHELL: So do you.

DUFFY: No I'm not, I'm in Obamacare. I'm in Obamacare, Andrea. All members of Congress are and my family. The president should join us in Obamacare and the rest of America. Is that pretty reasonable? We should all be treated equally under the law? Why should members of Congress be in Obamacare and not the president? Explain that one. Isn't that fair? Can you defend that? Can you defend why the president shouldn't be in Obamacare like members of Congress and their staffs?

MITCHELL: I can't defend why Congress and the White House cannot figure out a way to reopen the government so that our kids and their families can get the benefits that they have been --

DUFFY: I told you we're going to do that this week. But I want your viewers to know that this has been a reasonable approach on our part to go everyone equal under the law, the president and Congress in Obamacare. If it's good for America, it's good enough for the people who passed the law and individuals for one year being treated like big businesses who came to this hill with their lobbyists and got an exemption to the taxes and requirements of Obamacare. Give that same treatment to the families in America. And again, this has nothing to do with the exchanges being open or the subsidies in the exchanges. We're not having any impact on those. They get to stand up and run. We're just saying, treat individuals and families like big business, and have Obama go into Obamacare. That's it. No one's asked that question but Jon Stewart. I think the media should start doing its job.

MITCHELL: Thanks for your advice. Thank you, congressman.

If the Republican Party does not put this man out, EVERY DAY if at all possible, to explain the Republican position on ObamaCare, it is missing a golden opportunity.

Which, being Republicans, is probably why they don't do it.....


Ken Berwitz

The latest Associated Press/GfK poll came out today.  And, in it, President Obama's approval rating dropped to 37% - the lowest I have seen since he became President.

Let me start with the fact that the 37% is what researchers call an "outlier":  that is a result considerably different from just about every other poll.  This is not to say that "outlier" polls are always wrong; sometimes they are just the first to show a sudden change in public sentiment.  Usually, however, researchers discount them as aberrations.

But let's also remember that this is an Associated Press article about what the Associated Press found in its own poll - a poll which is being written about on the premise that it is accurate.

So how does the AP handle it?

-With a headline that says "Poll: GOP Gets The Blame In Shutdown" - no mention at all of President Obama's all-time low approval rating.

-Next, a writeup about how Republicans are taking a bigger hit for the shutdown than Democrats, but the situation is "fluid" (i.e. changeable) - which is no news at all, since we've been reading about this for weeks.

-After that, some commentary about the Tea Party being more influential than people realize.

-And then, finally, buried seven paragraphs down, the information that:

Most Americans disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job, the poll suggests, with 53 percent unhappy with his performance and 37 percent approving of it. Congress is scraping rock bottom, with a ghastly approval rating of 5 percent.

In other words, 'yeah, President Obama came out badly but since congress is even worse so, comparatively speaking, it isn't that bad after all'.  And no mention of it being a record-low approval rating - the worst of his entire presidency.

Tell me:  If this were President George Bush, and this same poll showed his approval rating at a record low, do you think it wouldn't be in the headline?  Do you think it wouldn't be at the beginning of the article?  Do you think it would be buried 7 paragraphs down, mentioned once without noting it is the lowest level of his presidency, and then promptly forgotten?

Media spin:  This is how they do it.

Zeke ..... ..... There was a two car race between an American Ford and a Trabant (East Germany's answer to the Yugo - but not as well built). . . . The pride of the DDR came in an hour after the Ford. . . . . .Reported in the Communist newspapers: "The glorious Trabant finished second in the race. . . The American car finished next to last" .. ... ... (10/09/13)

Zeke ..... ..... There was a two car race between an American Ford and a Trabant (East Germany's answer to the Yugo - but not as well built). . . . The pride of the DDR came in an hour after the Ford. . . . . .Reported in the Communist newspapers: "The glorious Trabant finished second in the race. . . The American car finished next to last" .. ... ... (10/09/13)

WisOldMan This Reuters piece ran last week: Analysis: Shutdown strategy has wide U.S. Republican support (10/09/13)


Ken Berwitz

A lot has been written over the past week about what a complete unadulterated disaster the ObamaCare web site is - a web site which the ObamaCare people had three years to put together and test.  Even media which support ObamaCare have been reporting on what a mess it is.

My question is: why would they be surprised?  Why would they think ObamaCare would run smoothly and efficiently?  When does government ever run smoothly and efficiently? 

But that is for another blog.  My purpose in writing this one is to talk about the people who have managed to traverse the site and find out what their options are.

Excerpted from a genuinely disturbing editorial in yesterday's Investors Business Daily:

While President Obama refuses to consider any delay of ObamaCare, his liberal base is waking up to the fact that "free" health care is awfully expensive. And that they're the ones getting stuck with the bill.

A story in the San Francisco Chronicle, "Health Insurance Shoppers Suffer Sticker Shock," notes how one resident, Shelly Ross, "was looking forward to" ObamaCare "because she was hoping to get a better deal."

Instead, Ross discovered that "every plan is going to cost more than what I pay now."

The story features another San Francisco resident who learned that Kaiser was canceling his existing policy because it doesn't comply with ObamaCare's myriad insurance mandates. Kaiser's replacement policy that does comply will cost him $3,672 more a year.

Then there's Michael Yount, a resident of Charlotte, N.C., who told the Christian Science Monitor about how he and his wife face a threefold increase in their premiums - more than $8,900 a year. That's for a policy with the same deductible.

So Yount is planning to drop coverage altogether next year, showing how ObamaCare could easily make the nation's uninsured problem worse, not better.

Surprised? Appalled?  Infuriated?  Good, you should be. 

ObamaCare is great - if you can get it for free:  i.e. if other people are paying for your coverage. 

But for millions and millions of other people, including a great many who are on the margin and can barely afford the health care they currently carry, it is going to cost more - often a great deal more.  And the big payoff is that government rather than private enterprise will be running things - which should send a cold shiver down your back no matter what your economic situation is.

These are just a few stories of people who, as the (usually very Obama-friendly) San Francisco Chronicle says, have gotten "sticker shock" over what this supposedly less expensive system will actually cost them. 

Count on there being more.  Many, many, many, many more.

Zeke .... ..... ...... With the aFORDable care act, will I get a new Ford ? . . . . . My premiums will go up 70% . . . and I suspect the coverage will go down. . . . . (10/09/13)

Dr. Alan Meyerberg I wanted to keep my present horizon blue insurance but they just sent me a letter saying in January it will no longer exist. When I get my new united health care plan my doctor may not accept it so I can't keep my dr. (10/10/13)

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