Sunday, 03 November 2013

OBAMACARE TRANSPARENCY: WE FINALLY FOUND IT

Ken Berwitz

Who said ObamaCare didn't provide transparency?

Read this excerpt from Kelsey Harris and Rob Bluey's article at heritage.org:

Justin Hadley logged on to HealthCare.gov to evaluate his insurance options after his health plan was canceled. What he discovered was an apparent security flaw that disclosed eligibility letters addressed to individuals from another state.

"I was in complete shock," said Hadley, who contacted Heritage after becoming alarmed at the breach of privacy.

Hadley, a North Carolina father, buys his insurance on the individual market. His insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, directed him to HealthCare.gov in a cancellation letter he received in September.

After multiple attempts to access the problem-plagued website, Hadley finally made it past the registration page Thursday. That's when he was greeted with downloadable letters about eligibility - for two people in South Carolina.

 "The plans they offered were grossly expensive and didn't provide the level of care I have now," he said.

After learning of the privacy breach, Dougall spent Friday evening trying to contact representatives from HealthCare.gov to no avail; he spent an hour waiting on the telephone and an online chat session was unhelpful. He also wrote to Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tim Scott (R-SC), along with Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC).

"I want my personal information off of that website," Dougall said.

You can click on the link I've provided to see redacted versions of the documents Mr. Hadley should never have seen.

So what do we have here?  A cancelled policy, a ridiculously overpriced alternative, confidential information on other people which should never have been made available, an hour's wait on the telephone to do something about it, and a chat session which didn't resolve the problem.

In other words, government-run health care at its finest.

Every time I think this monstrosity could not get worse, it does. 

And these are the same people who will now be in charge of whether you do or don't get treatment.  Whether you live or die.

Sleep well tonight....


DID TED CRUZ WIN?

Ken Berwitz

If you believe mainstream media, Ted Cruz's 21 hour "filibuster" (technically it wasn't a filibuster, but everyone else is calling it that so I will too) was a huge mistake.  It made him look like a lunatic-fringe right winger, diminished the Republican argument against ObamaCare, made Republicans battle among themselves, and detracted from the catastrophic rollout of the ObamaCare web site.

That so?

American Thinker's Johnathon Moseley disagrees.  And he has written a fascinating explanation of why. 

Here are a few key excerpts.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his Republican colleagues won the shutdown drama in October.  However, the effects are still gradually rippling through the electorate.  And the full results will depend upon Republicans understanding the strategy (they don't) and continuing to implement conservatives' obvious plan consistently for maximum impact (unlikely).

Skeptics ask: What was achieved by Ted Cruz with his 21-hour filibuster against ObamaCare on the floor of the U.S. Senate?  What did Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives accomplish by trying to delay or defund ObamaCare?

To start with, Obama's nice-guy mask slipped, letting average voters see Obama's snarl.  

Second, Ted Cruz made it very clear that the ObamaCare disaster is the Democrats' baby.  

Third, the strategy of conservative Republicans always incorporated a "Second Act" that must follow whenever ObamaCare inevitably fell apart.  Cruz anticipated that the American people would realize eventually: "Holy Cow!  Those Republicans were right!"...The ObamaCare website fiasco was part of Ted Cruz's strategy all along.  

Fourth, conservatives understand Ronald Reagan's techniques: winning the policy debate in the public square (eventually) drives elections.  Appealing to the public on issues (eventually) changes the votes in Congress. 

Fifth, Cruz's critics argue that the shutdown interfered with the public relations failure of the October 1 roll-out of ObamaCare.  They claim that conservatives bumped embarrassing news for Obama off the front pages of the news.  Nonsense.

It was always obvious that the ObamaCare flop would be a long-running, slow-motion train wreck stretching over weeks or months.  The Republican battle actually intensified the ObamaCare mess in news coverage by focusing attention on the topic.

Sixth, consider further the importance of sharply distancing the Republican Party from ObamaCare.  

Personally, I don't agree with everything Mr. Moseley says - or everything Ted Cruz says.  But I agree with a lot of it...enough so that I thought it was more than worthwhile put up this blog.

Does Senator Cruz come out of this singing those terrific lyrics Paul Anka wrote for Frank Sinatra:  "To think, I did all that, and let me say in not a shy way, oh no, oh no not me, I did it my way"?

You decide.  But please, please, do it based on what you think rather than what mainstream media relentlessly tell you to think.


THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

Today's quote comes to us from the tirelessly left wing Rob Reiner.  It is encased within the transcript below, from bill maher's "Real Time" show on HBO, which I pulled from Noel Sheppard's blog at newsbusters.org.

The winning quote- which, as you will see, has some pretty stiff competition - relates to Reiner's contention that Barack Obama is no different than Ronald Reagan. 

Stop rubbing your eyes in disbelief.  Yes, he actually said that.  Obama = Reagan (and Bob Dole too, which means Ronald Reagan was no different than Dole:  another eye-rubber).

But you don't get the full import of Mr. Reiner's quote unless you also catch how Maher, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (uh huh, Dim Bulb Debbie was there too) goad him on, and then agree with this brainstorm. 

Behold:

BILL MAHER: I'm just saying the Democrats have moved to the middle.

DEBBIE WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ (D-FLORIDA): We have.

MAHER: Unfortunately, the other people have moved way over there. So now the middle isn't the middle anymore.

ROB REINER: Obama right now, where Obama is is right around where Reagan was, right around where Nixon was. There, he's no more left than those, those, those Republicans.

MAHER: Hardly a socialist. He's barely, barely a liberal.

REINER: No, as Bob Dole said, he could not get...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Right.

MAHER: Right.

REINER: ...anywhere in this Republican Party. And so Obama's right around where Bob Dole is. They're very similar, you know? There's not much of a difference there.

MAHER: Whenever they say, "Oh, he's the most radical president ever,"

REINER: No, no, no, no.

MAHER: ...right, because they're such experts on history.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  In the summer of 2011...

MAHER:...what they mean is, "He's black."That's what's the most radical thing about him.

Ronald Reagan equivalent to Barack Obama?  Ain't no way that doesn't win Quote Of The Day honors.

But I will give a (dis)honorable mention to maher, for fitting in the "it's just because he's Black" routine.

Congratulations to you both, guys....and to DWS for chiming in her encouragement along the way.

You never disappoint. 


THE BEST GELATO IN MANHATTAN?

Ken Berwitz

My wife and I have not patronized every gelato place in Manhattan, so I can't say for 100% certain what I think the best one is.

But, of the places we have patronized, A B Biagi, at 225 Elizabeth Street (between Houston and Prince in the Nolita section) is the current winner.

Our son, who is friendly with owner Antonio Barros Biagi - a very nice, very engaging young man who has just recently started out in this bnsiness - steered us there yesterday afternoon. 

He had the straciatella - which, like vanilla to ice cream, is something of a benchmark flavor for gelato - and it was absolutely excellent.  My wife had a pistachio and chocolate:  both superb.  I also had pistachio, but with strawberry sorbet - which is bursting with intense, authentic strawberry flavor. 

Cheap it ain't (expect to spend about $5 apiece).  But quality costs money, and superior quality costs the most.  Besides, what are we talking about here?  It's not like blowing $70,000 on a Porsche.  Look at it this way: only $5 less and it would be free.

Anyway, after tasting this extra-special treat, I told Antonio his product was so good that I would write about it today.  And I keep my promises (well, most of them).

If  you happen to be in, or near, Nolita, I recommend you try A B Biagi.  Take the word of a real gelato fan:  you won't be disappointed.

Zeke .... .... In SoHo: . .. .. MarieBelle ( 484 Broome St) . . . .. Incredible chocolate. .... Hot chocolate on a totally different plane - - one cup satisfies totally - - - charming Parisian theme to decor. . . . Perfect place to relax after a few hours of wandering about SoHo. . . . (11/04/13)


OBAMACARE & THE "MOST TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT IN HISTORY" CLAIM

Ken Berwitz

The Obama administration lies so frequently about so many things that it is hard to keep track.  But one of the most blatant of those lies is that it provides transparent government.

And nowhere is the lack of transparency more evident than with ObamaCare. 

We have been lied to about what it is, who it will affect, how many people it will affect, how much it will cost, who will pay the cost....and now, how many people have actually signed up for it.

Excerpted from Patrick Mortiere and Bob Cusack's article at the hill.com:

A slew of media organizations have petitioned the government to release ObamaCare data that the White House has refused to make public. 

CNN, ABC, MSNBC and others have filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking information on the beleaguered healthcare.gov website. They have also asked for government documents revealing how many people have enrolled in the new healthcare exchanges.  

It's unlikely that these FOIA requests will be granted any time soon. Government processing of FOIA requests can take weeks, months or years. However, HHS moves quicker than other government entities on FOIA. 

Other media organizations who have filed FOIA requests on ObamaCare include the Huffington Post, Reuters, Politico, National Journal and Time magazine.

Why are they hiding these data?  What right do they have to withhold such information? 

This is the most transparent government in history? 

The Obama administration has all the transparency of a cinder block.

Ironically, by doing so this bunch is telling us the information anyway:  i.e. is there any doubt whatsoever that the reason such information is being withheld is that it shows an embarrassingly low number of ObamaCare signups?  So few that even Obama supporters cannot pretend this is anything but a catastrophe?

ObamaCare is a disaster.  An unworkable monstrosity.  And, eventually, they'll have to admit it.

When Obama legislation is so bad that even MSNBC comes after them, you know the game is up. 


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