Sunday, June 30, 2013

Why We Will Not Fix Gun Violence Anytime Soon...

I do not wish to write another stock column on the issue of gun violence. Click here to read several of my previous columns relating to gun violence and gun reform legislation.

After reading this horrific story about how two brothers, who live about ninety minutes from me here in Ohio, were together sometime this past Tuesday. Ages 9 and 12, the older boy somehow got a hold of his father's .44 caliber handgun. I don't know if it was was already loaded with ammunition or if one of the boys loaded it himself. The older boy wound up shooting his little brother in the head, killing him almost instantly. Then, the older boy put the gun under his own chin and pulled the trigger, resulting in the second fatality due to guns in that house in a matter of seconds.

I posted this story last night to my facebook page and the comments began to flow. One person, (h/t SF) commented that Ohio (and many other States) are woefully lax in terms of gun owner liability for negligent storage, liability for children having access to this often deadly combination of guns and ammo, as well as no laws regulating the provision (intentional or otherwise) of firearms to children. The Children's Defense Fund has a great write-up on this issue within the State of Ohio. Read it here...

I am tired of hearing the pushback from the NRA and too many gun owners saying that these type instances, while tragic, don't provide sufficient reason for we as a Country to establish any meaningful regulations and laws that would universally, from coast to coast, address this sort of gun violence. We're having a lot of trouble beefing up adult firearm ownership regulations, as witnessed by the recent debacle in the House where a pretty tame and reasonable proposal was rejected.

We're seeing stories similar to the one I referenced above all too often. Think about it. How often do you hear about an accidental shooting? Way too often. It can be greatly reduced, but it would take legislation. Gun Legislation has a very low likelihood of getting passed in today's Congress.

We've done a pretty good job fighting other epidemics in this Country. Smallpox is mostly a thing of the past because we identified a health risk, put experts on it and followed their recommendations. Polio is another example. Working together does good things, especially in matters of public policy and public health.

I can't imagine the grief of the parents that lost those two young boys. As parents, we need to find common ground at least on this issue. Tighter ownership and liability laws will mean fewer deaths like these, not less liberty or freedom. Why can't we seem to do anything meaningful on this issue with out being extreme about it? Our kids, the future of this country are paying a high price for our inflexibility and foolishness on this issue. And for that, we will pay a high price as well.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Does Marco Rubio Have The Guts Mitt Romney Didn't?

Two weeks ago I wrote that Florida Senator Marco Rubio was taking some heat from many on his right over his immigration stance. His involvement in the "Gang of 8", a bi-partisan group of elected officials who have come up with a pretty reasonable plan for immigration reform, has brought out a dangerous and counter-productive element of today's Conservative movement. Right wing pundits have been especially critical of the Gang of 8's proposal, including popular RW talkers Mark Levin, who said, "“It amazes me how few Republicans in elected office actually talk about the Constitution. They have no more respect for it, no more concern about its boundaries and limits than the left. That’s why I say they’re neo-statist.”  Later, name-checked Rubio during the same tirade:  “You got that, Marco? You got that Paul and Karl Rove, as you lie  through your teeth, you got it, pal?”

Laura Ingraham said, “To all the Republicans who supported this, well know that you’re writing your own political obituary. I hope you know that you just participated in the political equivalent of a one-night stand. Once the Democrat leadership has had their way with you, they’re not going to love you in the morning,” And, "In all my years of warning about the GOP moderates, I’m certain that this Senate immigration deal is the worst thing they’ve ever done,” 

Michelle Malkin offered, "Marco Rubio has made some extremely bad choices . . . Unfortunately Marco Rubio has been completely self-diluted . .. I think he’s trying to save face.”

Ann Coulter said, The patriotic House member’s position has got to be until the Senate is in  Republican hands, preferably Rubio-free, sorry, we’re not even going to pass a  bill that mentions immigration. A week earlier she dubbed him, “the Jack Kevorkian of the Republican Party.”

Even Glen Beck is upsetLet me tell you something Marco Rubio, I haven’t trusted you for quite some time.  Rubio’s a dirtbag.  He is not on our side. Don’t trust Marco Rubio.”

Good grief. Glen Beck calling Marco Rubio a dirtbag? Really?

Mr. Rubio hasn't been afraid to take on his critics directly as he's made stops at most of the popular conservative media outlets like Fox news and various right wing radio talk shows. Generally speaking, Rubio is well liked and thought of as having great potential to lead the party back to the White House someday. Maybe that day will be in 2016. Maybe not.

A recent poll by the conservative leaning Rasmussen Reports shows Rubio taking a hard hit in his favorability ratings within the Republican Party. In February, Rubio was considered favorable by 73% of Republicans. That number fell to 68% in May and earlier this week had dropped even further to 58%. Overall, a severe drop in his favorability ratings of 21% in less than six months.

Senator Rubio took to the floor of the Senate Wednesday to defend the Gang of 8 immigration plan as well as his support of it. Its twelve minutes long, but Rubio does a nice job directly responding to his critics and making a strong case why it should be supported.

I do not agree with Marco Rubio on most issues. Should he be the GOP's nominee I would have a hard time voting for him. That said, it strikes me that here we have an attractive, young, dynamic and capable legislator showing a willingness to reach across the aisle and work toward a common good with Democrats. Which, generally speaking, is something that most independent voters find highly attractive. Rather than learn the lesson from the Mitt Romney disaster, the hard liners mentioned above and others like fellow Senator Ted Cruz-(R TX) are trashing Rubio's efforts. Cruz has, in fact, compared the proposed Bill to "human trafficking."

For those of you who have forgotten, Mitt Romney was a mostly moderate Republican Governor of a liberal state in Massachusetts, who's biggest success, "Romneycare" was rendered utterly useless by the Republican primary process. Romney was forced/chose to abandon his moderate strength and pronounce himself not just a conservative but a severe conservative, which was, of course, laughable. Its my opinion, the primary process forced Romney to move so far to his right to win the hearts and minds of the primary voters, that when it came time to move back towards the middle to attract the independent and undecided voters, he could'nt step to his left fast or far enough and he wound up getting clocked badly by an unpopular incumbent who's middle name is Hussein and is thought by many to be a Muslim, Socialist/Marxist, Kenyan who hates Christians and Christmas equally.

Again I'll caution those on the right against making the same mistake twice. Rubio is probably less moderate than Romney was, but if he's so easily attacked it makes me wonder if any lessons have been learned from the 2012 Presidential Election. To many in the middle, voices like those of Cruz and fellow Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) strike many of us as too extreme, too strident. Rubio doesn't have the extreme or nutty label yet and I applaud his efforts to stand his far.

Glen beck called Marco Rubio a dirtbag. That's precious...


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Guillotines Have Arrived In America!!! (AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!)

I suppose it was just a matter of time before our government actually and physically turned on us. This morning I saw a headline from "sharia " that asked the simple question, "Why did the U. S. Government Recently Purchase 30,000 guillotines?"

Guillotines is a powerful word that conjurs up images of major bloodletting and brutality. Not just your average, run of the mill bloodletting and brutality, but a very high caliber of bloodletting and brutality.

With the government already stocking up on ammo to shoot us, and building all the FEMA death camps to imprison us in when ever they decide its time, the notion that President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the rest of the "fundamental transformers" would try and take advantage of a bulk discount at the local guillotine store seems, on the surface, absolutely plausible.

Its hard for me to write a serious article about this story. The paranoia and delusion that would have to be present in large quantities is unknown to me. I'm on record as not being afraid of my government. I surely don't think they're perfect, heavens no. We're fed a constant feed of hard to swallow levels of stupidity, ego and professional hackery, on a daily basis. Its not hard to find. But no, I do not think my government is going to declare marshal law for the purpose of finally controlling we the people, take over all the media shut down all the roads and lead us by the thousands to these fictitious FEMA camps we we stand a high chance of being slaughtered, probably with guillotines.

There's even this nifty video to help make the point that we should all be VERY afraid:

If you're the type the does think all of these things are about to happen, then I have some advice for you. You should gather up your guns and ammo and gold and "special" seeds for planting the first crops of our new world and go hang out somewhere far away with other people who feel the same way. Yes, to be clear, instead of playing with your self, you should go play with others of the same mindset. Preferably far, far away. Got that? Stop playing with yourself and find some other playmates.

The question, "Why did the U. S. Government Recently Purchase 30,000 guillotines?" has been answered. In short, its an old internet meme that's been around since the 1990's. For more on the hoax....

Snopes has it here....

Urban Legends has it here...

Metabunk has it here....


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Does the Immigration Bill Hand Out Free Cars to the Poor? has a story posted about taxpayer subsidized "Obamacars" being a part of the new Immigration Bill. Supported most eagerly by Senator Bernie Sanders  (I-VT) this program is described in this way: (Boldface mine)...

A provision under that new stimulus program title allows for the use of spending the taxpayer money on the program to provide transportation for youth to and from their jobs.
 (1) IN GENERAL.—The funds made available under this section shall be used—
 (A) to provide summer employment opportunities for low-income youth, with direct linkages to academic and occupational learning, and may be used to provide supportive services, such as transportation or child care, that is necessary to enable the participation of such youth in the opportunities;”
Well, that sounds a bit vague, doesn't it?  Naturally, "transportation" doesn't mean public transportation like buses or streetcars/trolleys. It MUST mean brand new, flashy cars for these poor bastards to drive around town in on OUR hard earned dimes. I'm sure the Democrats have figured out this is a slick way to improve sales on those green cars we've been hearing about. 
I suspect the handouts aren't limited to cars. I predict a slight uptick in the sales and leases of private commuter planes and helicopters. Why not? Also, those in areas served by railway can also expect to see a mandate coming down from White House that will permit a certain number of passengers to hop a car and ride into the city...again at our expense. 
It won't stop there. I hear rumblings that "forced car-poolings" are in the works sometime in the next 24 months. The Federal Government will, using its vast database and research capabilities, be able to see who lives near one of these poor souls who have no transportation to work. The Government will notify any registered motorist of their assigned "duty" to help their fellow man and be responsible for transporting the individual to AND from work. 
What's next? The Space Shuttle to work program? 
(The wording of this section is vague and invites (hopefully) erroneous interpretations of what "transportation" really means. I strongly suspect these monies are to be used for buses and other forms of public transportation, not the purchase of new cars. Like I said, the wording could've been clearer, but is anyone surprised that media outlets like the Washington Examiner and spun this in the way they did?) 

Monday, June 24, 2013

99 Things That Need to Happen Before Obamacare Rolls Out...

October 1, 2013 is the "go live" date for the State based exchanges and there's much work to be done, as expected, before then. Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post has a great write up on the list of 99 (yes, 99) things that MUST happen before October 1st...

Click here to read her full column...well worth the time...


More Favorable Data on Health Insurance Premiums Coming In....

A new analysis done by Avalere Health suggests that consumer's costs for health insurance may indeed be dropping via the new exchanges. Looking at data available from nine states, (CA, CO, CT, OH, OR, RI, VT and WA)  where the average cost for Silver Plans was (in some cases) running 20-25% lower than the CBO expected. This is big news on two fronts. First, its a smaller than expected cost out of pocket for many consumers, secondly, the Federal Government will use the second lowest premium to set its subsidy rates, which will effect thousands of people.

Nothing reverses the trend and expectation that younger healthy people will likely pay more for their health insurance going forward. If its any solace to this market, they'll be purchasing far better and comprehensive coverage than what their money bought them before. Subsidies still apply to this group based on income, so it may be a bit of a wash in the end.

The state insurance exchanges are expected to go live sometime in October, 2013....


Fear & Loathing Climate Change Version...

Tomorrow (Tuesday) President Barack Obama will deliver a major speech on his plan for the United States to address Climate Change. I know that in some circles, there is great doubt as to the  existence of climate change and global warming. There's also plenty of skeptics who dispute the alleged cause and impact of both as well. I'm not even going to try and convince anyone who doesn't believe in the science to change their minds. Full disclosure, I haven't followed it that closely but the arguments and articles supporting its existence impress me more than the arguments and articles that doubt it.

The Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH) is out with comments in advance of the President's speech“I think this is absolutely crazy,” Boehner said at his weekly press conference. “Why would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when American people are asking, 'Where are the jobs?" I am stunned that Mr. Boehner isn't supporting Mr. Obama's plans to address this issue. 


 I'll let the President explain in his own words:

I suspect when I turn on the Conservative channel on Sirius XM today and especially tomorrow, I will hear nothing but fear and loathing for whatever it is that President Obama says on Tuesday at Georgetown University. We can't afford it. The science is "shaky". Its all a hoax. Etc, etc., etc.  Its laughable to think that the House will approve ANY proposals sent over by the White House regarding climate change. Its only slightly less laughable to think the Senate would be able to pass anything either. So, how will President Obama get anything done? Executive order. The Atlantic has a nice write up on what's expected to be announced.

Obama will please many on the Left who have felt he's dragged his feet and not provided the global leadership he should have from his position of power. I think given the issues he assigned more importance to during his first term (health care reform, the economy) there just wasn't the political capital to be spent on environmental issues. Nothing happens by accident in this administration. Remember how President Obama finally got around to endorsing gay marriage as we approached the last election? Coincidence, you say? C'mon, lol...

Keep in mind over the next few days there are big limits on what Obama can really do via executive actions. he can not command Congress to sign any news laws into effect. He can't compel them to spend a single dime on any of this. And, what can be created and enforced by executive orders can be un-created and unenforced by the same office in the future. If you're looking for the BFD that health care reform brought, this ain't it.

There is a debt ceiling fight coming up later this year and its possible that the President wants to potentially use climate change as a chip in that poker game. Hard to say, I think the first thing on the list would be to work with him a teeny bit more on the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. As in perhaps releasing some funding to train and educate people on the new insurance exchanges that are supposed to open in October.

I doubt he'll see any cooperation from the right on that front either.


Friday, June 21, 2013

An Oldie but Goodie Worth Reading Again

Uwe Rheinhart is one of the preeminent experts on health care policy in the world today. He is usually at the top of the list when people ask who knows about our healthcare system, our problems and ways to improve them.

Below, click through to read a great article from a few years ago. It explains about the requirement of insurance and how it was so integral to previous Republican plans for reforming health care in our country.

A great read...

Nudging People to Buy Health Insurance -

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Medical costs are down - and it may be a trend

There was some good news involving medical costs yesterday:

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that, for the first time in almost 40 years, health care costs reflected in the Labor Departments's price index for medical care actually decreased. Ok, so the adjusted amount was a drop of 0.1%, but a decrease is a decrease. 
  • The Associated Press tells us that a report issued by accounting/consulting giant Price Waterhouse Coopers says that the recent slowdown in medical costs may be a trend and not a statistical blip (as reported in the Washington Guardian). 
Of course, as you dig into the details things do get a bit murkier.

According to the WSJ report, the recent decrease is fueled by "the onset of new policies" i.e. the Affordable Care Act, which is "probably going to be a temporary factor" according to Goldman Sachs economist Alec Phillips. However this same article cites contrary opinion from Randall Ellis, a professor of health-care economics at Boston University, who expects that the decrease is a longer term trend.

Prof. Ellis' point of view is echoed in the PwC report. An excerpt:

"Four big factors were seen as pushing costs down next year:
  • Patients seeking more affordable routine services in settings like clinics springing up in retail stores, as opposed to a doctor's office or the emergency room.
  • Major employers contracting directly with hospital systems that have a proven record for complicated procedures such as heart surgery and certain back operations.
  • The government ramping up penalties on hospitals that have too many patients coming back with problems soon after being discharged.
  • Employers' ongoing effort to shift more costs to workers through higher annual deductibles, the amount people must pay each year before insurance picks up.

By using such shifting, PwC estimates that employers may be able to drive their share of next year's cost increase even lower than 6.5 percent.
On the other hand, two big factors will push costs upward:
  • The high price of new "specialty" drugs to treat serious chronic illnesses such as autoimmune diseases and some types of cancer.
  • Industry consolidation, with big hospitals buying up smaller ones, as well as medical practices and rehab centers. The downside of the demand for greater efficiency by employers and government is that it may be fostering new health care monopolies."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sean Hannity: World Class Hypocrite...

Media Matters has put together a mashup of Sean Hannity commenting on NSA surveillance methods from during the Bush years and then now. The hypocrisy is blatant, shameless and lame. Mr. Hannity had no problem defending such measures when it was President Bush and Vice President Cheney running the show. Now, for some reason, these same programs will apparently lead to some dark place where, "tyranny and anarchy will follow."

Watch the seems pretty straight-forward...

Great work, Mr. Hannity...

President Eisenhower looking correct with his warning...

The Daily Beast's John Avlon has a great article up about how former President Dwight Eisenhower's warnings about the "Military-Industrial Complex" have been proven to be spot on.

An excerpt:

But the military-industrial complex has a trump card to play with members of Congress and the public: nobody wants to argue with national security, especially when the very real threat of terrorism exists. This ain’t no phantom menace: more than 45 jihadist terror plots had been stopped before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. But the combination of real threat and opaque multibillion-dollar budgets leads inevitably to a lack of transparency and accountability. That’s where the risk of not just information-dragnet overreach but also the risk of leakers like Ed Snowden comes in. With this level of complexity in the system, security is ironically almost impossible to maintain.

Read the whole


Silliness in 3-2-1...

Apparently some on the right, the far right, and prepared to send Sen. Marco Rubio and his possible Presidential ambitions to the gallows. Sen. Rubio seems to be supporting a version of immigration reform that doesn't cut it for some Conservatives.

I can't say what Mr. Rubio's chances are to reach the White House one day might be, let alone in 2016. That  said, it speaks to the extremeness of today's GOP/Tea Party thinking if Rubio's stance, which seems firmly lodged in the realm of reason, obliterates his higher political ambitions.

Good grief...

Click here to read the story:


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Edward Snowden: Hero? Not Hardly....

By now, most of us know who Edward Snowden is and what he's done. Some say he's a traitor who violated his non disclosure agreement and put the United States at a higher security risk by giving away top secret, classified documents. Others say he's a brave whistle blower, who deserves our admiration and respect.

For those who don't know Mr. Snowden, he's an employee of the private firm Booz Allen Hamilton, whom the Federal Government employs to provide intelligence services. Snowden, 30, armed with not much more than his GED, and some brief experience in the United States Army (cut short due to breaking both of his legs in a training accident), security work for the NSA at a secret facility at the University of Maryland which led to his being hired by the CIA to work on IT security. After being stationed in Switzerland for a while, Snowden then left the CIA and worked for a private contractor at a NSA facility on a US military base in Japan.

Snowden worked as a system administrator for Booz Allen Hamilton less than three months when he took his big step. Stationed in the Hawaii area for the NSA, he earned a salary of roughly two hundred thousand dollars a year. By almost any reasonable measure, Mr. Snowden had done pretty well for himself considering his lack of formal education.

Edward Snowden went to the Washington Post with classified information about the surveillance programs the National Security Agency. They wouldn't handle his information to his liking so Snowden then offered it to the Guardian newspaper in London. He told them, "I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded." 

The media has gone nuts. Talk shows are having a field day. Politicians are saying everything you can imagine. The situation has created a somewhat nice diversion for President Obama, while Mr. Snowden has created the strangest of bedfellows. Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul on roughly the same side of this as are Rush Limbaugh and Micheal Moore. Weird times, indeed. 

Snowden is flat out wrong to have done what he's done. 

The United States of America has a systematic government. We vote freely in Presidential, Congressional and Senate elections and the winners of these govern and make decisions on our behalf. We've "hired them" to represent us and our interests. The "spying" programs Snowden decided on his own weren't appropriate are known to many of our elected representatives. The Congress provides oversight on the Executive Branch. Federal judges are also involved when the NSA determines that some information needs a closer look or listen. Its not one guy making this up. Career professionals do this sort of work every day and bottom line, their goals are to keep the United States safe. The programs and methods aren't entirely new, either, having been around since the Bush Administration. Its ironic that this degree of outrage was no where to be seen until just a few days ago. 

I've been wondering what exactly a "healthy distrust of the Government" really means. Not a total distrust, but a "healthy mistrust." The people we've duly elected and entrusted to lead our country are the ones who bear the burden of some of these tough decisions. Everything I've heard/read lately on this story tells me there's limits to what the NSA can do. Only targets that meet certain criteria can receive more intense scrutiny, etc. They're not listening to me and my brother discuss the animals in his back yard nor are they the least bit interested in what you think about Mad Men. They don't have the resources in either people or financial terms to waste chasing after things that don't matter. 

They pursue people who would do us harm. Can you imagine if it came out in the days after 9/11, that we'd possessed the technology to have identified and ultimately prevented what happened that day but didn't use it? People would be outraged in high numbers. We know these programs are to some degree effective and have prevented one terrorist, Najibullah Zazi, from blowing up a New York City subway in 2009. 

Some will say that the programs are not properly managed, the potential for abuse is too high, its against what our country stands for, etc. If I hear the Ben Franklin quote about "those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" one more time, I'm going to scream. Those words, which are over two hundred years old, can't be plucked out of the ages and cut and pasted seamlessly into today's world. The world is different now. Everyone knows it. Its a different ball game, pal.

Do we, as American citizens, have the right to know everything our Government is doing on our behalf? Good question. I don't think we have a right to know every little thing. The systems of checks and balances is designed, along with our oversight committees, to keep any branch of Government from running amuk. Our system, that the forefathers developed and passed on to us is, at some level, based on trust. That's not to say that politicians are never corrupt, because we know of countless instances where they've behaved badly, sometimes illegally and clearly not in the best interests of we, the people. And in most of those cases, they are punished. 

As maddening as our government can be, as frustrating as our elected officials can be, no single citizen has the right to release classified documents, essentially to the world, to make a point. No business would put up with it, and no government can either. Snowden had options. Talk to his superiors, leave the position, file a report with the Inspector General for him to follow through, seek out his elected representative, etc. All, far better choices that going to the media, creating some level of hysteria and further alienating the people's government from the people. 

We've gone overboard with this "anti-government" stuff. Yes, yes, yes seek out and punish wrong doers. Absolutely. But we've lost our sense of balance with regard to how we view our leaders. If it comes down to choosing the Edward Snowden's of the world versus the duly elected officials and appointed military and intelligence professionals, I chose the latter. Every time. I don't think the United States and her interests are any safer today because of what Mr. Snowden did. In fact, I suspect that we are less safe, due to his actions. Like Bradley Manning, when you sign onto to certain jobs, you agree to abide by the rules and terms of your employment. Both men, while perhaps virtuous on some level, executed their plans in a selfish and reckless manner. 

Generally speaking, I am against anything that endangers American lives. Both Snowden and Manning deserve their day in court, and whatever justice the court feels is merited.

Neither is a hero. Not even close...


Monday, June 10, 2013

Ponnuru: GOP should focus on the real problem at the IRS

Ramesh Ponnuru's recent column about the  IRS' targeting of conservative groups provides a refreshingly practical point of view. An extract:

"The earlier IRS scandals produced useful reforms partly because the Republicans who did the most to publicize them weren't focused on pinning the blame on President Bill Clinton. They instead wanted to demonstrate the dangers of letting the federal government have too much power, and in finding ways to reduce these dangers.

We could use a congressional investigation with the same spirit today."
Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

IRS Scandal: Were groups targeted due to politics or was it just an administrative screwup of epic proportions?

A huge hat tip to Barry Ritholz and his "Big Picture" blog for this infographic on the IRS story. (Click on this link to see a much friendlier viewable version on Barry's own site.)

This is good...Its worth the two clicks needed to see it fully. It really is...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yes, some will pay more for health care under ACA, but...

Good article from Ezra Klein's Wonkblog that address Avik Roy's critical column on the "affordability" of the  Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare." Roy focuses on the increased cost that a very specific and pretty small group (young and healthy individuals too old to stay on their parents plans, not accessing insurance from an employer, etc...) will pay under the exchanges. This is historically the cheapest group to insure. Especially with the utilization of "mini-meds" plans which is the sort of health insurance companies like fast food restaurants offer. Low premiums, high deductable and low coverage caps which means sky high out of pocket. They also typically don't cover very much either.

The ACA now requires all health insurance plans to meet minimum standards, so the bang for the buck is also considerably bigger as well as yes, in some cases, the price tag.

From Klein:

Roy got his 146 percent by heading to, running a search for insurance plans in California and comparing the cost of the cheapest plans to the cost of the plans being offered in the exchanges. That’s not just comparing apples to oranges. It’s comparing apples to oranges that the fruit guy may not even let you buy.
I ran the same search Roy did. I looked for insurance in Irvine, Calif. — my home town. The average monthly premiums of the five cheapest plans is $114. So I took the middle plan, HealthNet’s IFP PPO Value 4500. It’s got a $4,500 deductible, a $2,500 deductible for brand-name medications, huge co-pays and a little “bestseller” icon next to it. And it’s only $109 a month — if they’ll sell it to you for that price.
That’s the catch, and it’s a big one. Click to buy the plan and eventually you’ll have to answer pages and pages of questions about your health history. Ever had cancer? How about an ulcer? How about a headache? Do you feel sad when it rains? When it doesn’t rain? Is there a history of cardiovascular disease in your family? Have you ever known anyone who had the flu? The actual cost of the plan will depend on how you answer those questions.
Read both articles, and this post from Aarron Carroll at the Incidental Economist and come to your own conclusion. Roy engages in some pretzel logic to come to his. If he compares apples to apples I'll listen because all in all, he's a smart guy and one of the voices we should be considering, not mocking, from the right. He didn't have to compare the costs of pre ACA health care plans to make the case that yes, for some people (young, healthy, too old for parents plan, etc.) they WILL probably pay more than they have been.

From Dr. Carroll's piece:

So I’ll state this for the record: I think that some young, healthy people are getting the shaft right now. Not all, because some can still get on their parents’ plans. Some can still still buy catastrophic insurance if they want. Some will get Medicaid. Some will get subsidies. But if you’re a young, healthy 28 year old male who makes 400% of the poverty line, and you currently have really cheap insurance, it’s likely your rates are going up.
OK? I freely admit that my goal in health care reform was not to protect the status quo for young, healthy males. That’s wasn’t my goal for reform.
They will have to pay a bit more. The tradeoff is that if they don’t stay healthy, they’ll still be able to get insurance for the same price. If they get sick, there will no longer be any lifetime or annual limits. When they get older, they’ll still be able to get a plan, and it won’t cost nearly as much as it otherwise would have.
I think these tradeoffs are acceptable. You may not; that’s why we live in a democracy. But this was the plan. The law has not been rewritten. This blog, and many others, have been consistent in what they say about it. There is no “gotcha” here. The fact that young, healthy people are seeing a rise in premiums (without subsidies) as they transition from cheap, bare bones insurance to more comprehensive insurance is not a surprise. It’s not new, horrifying data about the failure of Obamacare. It’s an expected, and known, tradeoff to get a better healthcare system overall.