There Are No More Moderate Conservatives, Same As It Ever Was

One of those political analysis by a pundit that hits enough of the right notes to sound true, but misses by a few degrees, There’s a New Political Story Line—and it’s Good for Republicans. Better to be two warring tribes than a single reviled one.

Now, let us stipulate that the government shutdown, however long-lived its repercussions turn out to be, was a Republican political failure on a truly grand scale. Moreover, the agents provocateurs were indeed the Tea Party darlings of the House and Senate, all of whom were happy to let the government close shop in their tilt against the Obamacare windmill, and some of whom may well have been willing to risk sovereign default to get their way (but most of whom would certainly have known that the political process was likely to spare them any consequences for their posturing to that effect).

Nevertheless, the new line among Democrats and progressives is actually a net positive for the GOP and the best thing (in fact, the only good thing) that has happened to the party over the past couple weeks. Because the Republican Party truly is divided now—between a majority that is as staunchly conservative as ever and a minority that is not merely staunchly conservative but manifestly radical in its aims and tactics. It does not hurt, but rather has the potential to help Republicans, for their opponents to acknowledge the division within the party and the status of the Tea Party faction as a very vocal minority.

The Tea Party faction is telling its own version of the same story, namely, that it fought the good fight and lost. But that’s another way of saying that the Tea Party does not have the political power within the GOP to prevail.

We fought the good fight is indeed the fable that conservatives are telling themselves. Tod Lindberg is correct, up to a point that there is a divide and the non-tea baggers won. Though what happened was more about who is in charge of the GOP. The shut-down was bad for business. Since forever or since Saint Ronnie you could draw a pie chart with conservatives who could mostly be in the culture war slice and conservatives who mostly fit in the far Right libertarian business slice. The latter is what has and still does have the last say on the conservative agenda. The business slice saw that the shut-down was costing them money. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is nothing more than a corrupt puppy of the coal industry stepped in and said enough is enough. The business wing of conservatism has always been willing to pander to the culture conservatives because legislation that gives government more control over women does not have much effect on wealthy conservative women, who will get whatever health care they want regardless of what Paul Ryan (R-WI) wants. There is no division between conservatives and the tea baggers that has not always been there. If you think their rhetoric is especially hateful or radical then you need to look back at the Clinton years ( the Hillary and Vince Foster murder conspiracy theory, the Bill Clinton Arkansas mafia that knocked off political enemies conspiracy theory, Bill Clinton was behind the Oklahoma bombing conspiracy theory). Or the George W. Bush years where everyone who disagreed with the invasion of Iraq was a terrorist sympathizers. The tea bags are the same nutbars who have always been in the circle jerk of conservative crazy. The only thing that might have changed is that a few more of them got elected and much of their wackness has become part and parcel of mainstream conservatism. If you’re not out there comparing Obamcare to slavery or Hitler you’re just not a real Republican. Does it benefit the Mitch McConnells and John Boehners (R-OH) to be able to lay off blame to some supposed division in the GOP, to make it seem like there is a somewhat moderate wing of conservatism that will appeal to independent voters in 2014. That is where Lindberg might be on to something. After all conservatives convinced themselves they did not blow up the economy in 2007 and invading Iraq was a great idea.

I have a question for Sarah Palin and other Obamacare haters. It is a rhetorical question, because being in touch with reality and not blinded by the worse kind of venal partisanship, I know the answer. When you use a private insurance web site or talk to customer service over the phone has your experience always been perfect. I know that it has not because i have worked with every kind of insurance company and their data bases and customer service. They have a good sized turn over ate in customer service personnel because of the burn out dealing with frustrated customers. This site has a possible five star rating for health insurance companies – look how many get one star. Palin: Obamacare website glitches are a feature, not a bug, and will push U.S. into socialism. You mean that Congress will pass legislation making Marxist Medicare available to everyone? Oh my, that would be awful. That would be the Medicare that her and Todd will be filing for in a few years. The Palin family collected every public benefit they could get in Alaska, why isn’t it socialism when conservatives do it. That is one of the disturbing things about how tea bagger conservatives see values; giving millions of Americas more access to health care is some how immoral. The Palin families’ corruption is the new patriotism. Weird.

A good unbiased look at the ACA/Obamacare web site glitches, The Truth About the Obamacare Rollout The feds botched the website. But the states are doing much better.

How The Capital Created By American Families is Redistributed to Plutocratic Corporations

Add It Up: The Average American Family Pays $6,000 a Year in Subsidies to Big Business

That’s over and above our payments to the big companies for energy and food and housing and health care and all our tech devices. It’s $6,000 that no family would have to pay if we truly lived in a competitive but well-regulated free-market economy.

The $6,000 figure is an average, which means that low-income families are paying less. But it also means that families (households) making over $72,000 are paying more than $6,000 to the corporations.

1. $870 for Direct Subsidies and Grants to Companies

The Cato Institute estimates that the U.S. federal government spends $100 billion a year on corporate welfare. That’s an average of $870 for each one of America’s 115 million families. Cato notes that this includes “cash payments to farmers and research funds to high-tech companies, as well as indirect subsidies, such as funding for overseas promotion of specific U.S. products and industries…It does not include tax preferences or trade restrictions.”

It does include payments to 374 individuals on the plush Upper East Side of New York City, and others who own farms, including Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Ted Turner. Wealthy heir Mark Rockefeller received $342,000 to NOT farm, to allow his Idaho land to return to its natural state.

It also includes fossil fuel subsidies, which could be anywhere from $10 billion to $41 billion per year for research and development. Yet this may be substantially underestimated. The IMF reports U.S. fossil fuel subsidies of $502 billion, which would be almost $4,400 per U.S. family by taking into account “the effects of energy consumption on global warming [and] on public health through the adverse effects on local pollution.” According to Grist, even this is an underestimate.

2. $696 for Business Incentives at the State, County, and City Levels

The subsidies mentioned above are federal subsidies. A New York Times investigation found that states, counties and cities give up over $80 billion each year to companies, with beneficiaries coming from “virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.”

$80 billion a year is $696 for every U.S. family. But the Times notes that “The cost of the awards is certainly far higher.”

3. $722 for Interest Rate Subsidies for Banks

According to the Huffington Post, the “U.S. Government Essentially Gives The Banks 3 Cents Of Every Tax Dollar.” They cite research that calculates a nearly 1 percent benefit to banks when they borrow, through bonds and customer deposits and other liabilities. This amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of $83 billion, or about $722 from every American family.

The wealthiest five banks — JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Goldman Sachs — account for three-quarters of the total subsidy. The Huffington Post article notes that without the taxpayer subsidy, those banks would not make a profit. In other words, “the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.”

4. $350 for Retirement Fund Bank Fees

This was a tough one to calculate. Demos reports that over a lifetime, bank fees can “cost a median-income two-earner family nearly $155,000 and consume nearly one-third of their investment returns.” Fees are well over one percent a year.

However, the Economic Policy Institute notes that the average middle-quintile retirement account is $34,981. A conservative one percent annual management fee translates to about $350 per family. This, again, is an average; many families have no retirement account. But many families pay much more than 1% in annual fees.

5. $1,268 for Overpriced Medications

According to Dean Baker, “government granted patent monopolies raise the price of prescription drugs by close to $270 billion a year compared to the free market price.” This represents an astonishing annual cost of over $2,000 to an average American family.

OECD figures on pharmaceutical expenditures reveal that Americans spend almost twice the OECD average on drugs, an additional $460 per capita. This translates to $1,268 per household.

6. $870 for Corporate Tax Subsidies

We’ve heard a lot about tax avoidance and tax breaks for the super-rich. With regard to corporations alone, the Tax Foundation has concluded that their “special tax provisions” cost taxpayers over $100 billion per year, or $870 per family. Corporate benefits include items such as Graduated Corporate Income, Inventory Property Sales, Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, Accelerated Depreciation, and Deferred taxes.

Once again, it may be even worse. Citizens for Tax Justice cite a Government Accountability Office report that calculated a loss to the Treasury of $181 billion from corporate tax expenditures. That would be almost $1,600 per family.

7. $1,231 for Revenue Losses from Corporate Tax Havens

U.S. PIRG recently reported that the average 2012 taxpayer paid an extra $1,026 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost from offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. With 138 million taxpayers (1.2 per household), that comes to $1,231 per household.

Much More Than an Insult

Overall, American families are paying an annual $6,000 subsidy to corporations that have doubled their profits and cut their taxes in half in ten years while cutting 2.9 million jobs in the U.S. and adding almost as many jobs overseas.

This is more than an insult. It’s a devastating attack on the livelihoods of tens of millions of American families. And Congress just lets it happen.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License by
Paul Buchheit   

Paul is a bright guy and maybe this time they have some solid numbers, but i generally do not trust any statistics from CATO. They are a Right-leaning libertarian think tank.

Conservatives are going to play the coming fight over the debt ceiling a few ways. One is that it is Obama’s fault for not compromising – and we all know that conservatives define compromise as giving them everything they want or they’ll throw another temper tantrumn. One other angle is that they really do not want a shut0-down, but Democrats are giving them no choice, that would also be a lie since the conservative money machine wants a shut-down, The Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis

Good ammunition in those arguments with Obamascare cons who swear the world is about to end, Obamacare explained. With maps! The curve the ACA was designed to bend is already bending

A Post About Obamacare Costs and Conservative Religious Zealots

Marina at Twilight wallpaper

Marina at Twilight wallpaper

Jonathan Cohn has another good post on Obamacare and basically deals with what some people see in their crystal balls,  Six Reasons Hipsters Will Bite on Obamacare

You’re a 26-year-old single dude, holding down a pair of part-time jobs tending bar and painting houses, and making about $24,000 a year. Thanks to Obamacare, you can finally get decent health insurance, just like people with full-time jobs at large companies do. But when you go online to check out your options, you see that even the cheapest “bronze” plan, which has high deductibles and co-payments, will cost you about $100 a month. Obamacare’s penalty for carrying no insurance next year is less than one-tenth of that. Do you buy the insurance anyway?

Obamacare critics think it will be a “tough sell,” as Reason’s Peter Suderman puts it. And they make a credible case. To get coverage under Obamacare, many young people will have to pay more than they’d pay for insurance today. That’s because Obamacare prohibits insurers from offering ultra-cheap, bare-bones policies and restricts insurers’ to vary prices based on health status. It’s safe to assume that at least some young, healthy people will look at the numbers, figure Obamacare’s coverage just isn’t worth the price, and pay the penalty instead. A story by Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal last week profiled several young people from Oregon who were contemplating that very option.

The danger here isn’t just that these people will remain uninsured, leaving themselves exposed to crushing medical bills if they get sick or injured. If too many young, healthy people opt not to get insurance, then the insurers would be stuck with beneficiaries who are disproportionately older and sicker.

He notes that opting out the first year is certainly an option if you fall into that group that makes enough money they do not qualify for subsidies and see the premiums as cutting into their take-home pay. There are going to be bigger penalties down the road. he also points out that while those filled with the spirit of Obamacare hysteria think they young people do not need or want health insurance, two large surveys prove them wrong. I would throw in my personal experience. I’ve been to the emergency room a couple of times. Once I was in the hospital for just under 12 hours. The hospital bill, the radiologists bill and my personal doctor’s bill ( she came in once I was admitted) came to about $2 thousand dollars. When the penalty gets up to $625 a year, what are those young people going to choose. Two thousand or more ( I got out relatively cheap as far as emergency room admissions go) or are they going to pay the, say $90 a month ($1,100 to 1,250 a year. If it is employers supplied insurance with a group plan it could be less) for insurance . Look past the oh my goodness Obamacare is sooo expensive scare stories on the Right. Be afraid of the realities of living in the real world – of the ten most common reason for going to the emergency room, the cost ranged from a low of $10,403 to a high of $73,000. So even the $625 sounds like a bad deal when you could end up paying a half year’s pay for a simple back sprain. Cohn again concedes Obamacare and the insurance exchanges are not perfect – hopefully we’ll see some fine tuning like Congress did with medicare over the years, but it does look like most people will be better off.

Maybe I’m going Godwin here or maybe this is one of those cases where current events and rhetoric mirror history – You can’t be a Christian and a Democrat at the same time, Virginia’s GOP candidate for lieutenant governor E.W. Jackson says,

In a local radio interview this morning, Virginia Republican lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson said the Democratic Party is “anti-God” and that Christians should leave it.

…He continued: “I said it because I believe that the Democrat Party has become an anti-God party, I think it’s an anti-life party, I think it’s an anti-family party. And these are all things I think Christians hold to very dearly.”

Religious zealot who think they are the last word on who is or is not a good Christian is an unfortunate American tradition going back to Cotton Mather and the Salem Witch trials to Jefferson Davis who claimed that God approved of slavery  – [Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.” – Jefferson Davis. And there is this,

“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.

-Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

Jackson seems to be substituting Democrat where Hitler used the Jews. These are the hallmarks of dangerous zealots. They control the ideological gates of who meets the purity  test of a set of beliefs that exists largely inside their minds. I see and hear conservative Christians and wonder how they so conveniently jettison the Sermon on the Mount. I don’t know that it disqualifies them from being Christians, but it does make one wonder about how they so conveniently ignore one of the most important lessons of the Bible. I’ve listened to Pat Robertson for enough years to know that the Christian Right can rationalize just about anything that serves their agenda. Jackson seems to be kool-aid drinking member of the club.

Debunking The Myths of Obamacare Rate Shock

Foggy River Bend wallpaper

Foggy River Bend wallpaper

Jonathan Cohn dives into the “rate shock” and Obamacare debate once again, Un-rigging the Rate-Shock Debate, The truth about what those healthy 25-year-olds will pay.

Still, I think many Obamacare critics and quite possibly some of its supporters don’t fully grasp the significance of one key factor: the subsidies.

To review: Obamacare reorganizes the market for people buying coverage on their own, so that they are no longer at the mercy of insurers who pick and choose the healthiest customers. This “non-group” market is pretty small, in relative terms: The vast majority of Americans will continue to get insurance from employers, Medicare, or Medicaid. But for insurers who sell non-group coverages, the rules for conducting business are changing dramaticaly. Under Obamacare, these insurers must provide all beneficiaries with a core set of benefits, for example, and they can’t deny coverage to people who have pre-existing conditions. Insurers are reacting to this by raising premiums. They really don’t have a choice, since they can no longer skimp on benefits or avoid taking on sick people.

If you want to make Obamacare look really bad, you stop telling the story right there. You imagine a young, healthy person who can get cheap coverage today, compare what he’d pay under Obamacare, and, then, declare that Obamacare has “doubled premiums.” But the real story doesn’t end there. And one big reason is that Obamacare also provides people with financial assistance. This assistance, which comes in the form of tax credits, has the opposite effect of the regulations. It makes insurance less expensive.

Conservatives and libertarians who just hate the Affordable Care Act have not been restrained by ethics in how they talk about Obamacare. They have made statements and illogical arguments that range from wacky exaggeration (Look to Communism to Explain Obamacare – Newsmax.com (Dec. 12, 2009) to stories that dig into new depths of depraved lying. While they have succeeded in convincing much of their base, that was to be expected. The unfortunate effect of the propaganda has to confuse many people who are not especially political and have a combination of personal financial worries and concerns about their health care, and how they’re going to pay for it. Before preparing for this post I read a few of what seemed like sincere concerns expressed in comment sections. With some people wanting to get what they heard was affordable insurance, but they’re afaird – see conservative disinformation – they they’ll be penalized for not having insurance, it will change their tax rate for the worse or they will not get the coverage they need. None of those things should concern anyone – with the possible exception of certain young adults who – when buying insurance on their own, may see slightly higher premiums. Though see bold above, much of that costs in around 85% of cases, will be offset by subsidies.

Not everybody can get these subsidies: They are based on income, so that people who earn more money get less help, and people with incomes of more than four times the poverty line get no assistance at all. (That’s roughly $46,000 a year for an individual and $94,000 a year for a family of four.) But the subsidies are a lot bigger and benefit way more people than many people realize. Most of the commentary I’ve seen doesn’t really convey that.

Let’s go back to former Romney adviser Avik Roy’s 25 year old nonsmoking male buying insurance on his own. If he is making poverty wages, say $15k a year ($7.50 hr, 40 hr week), his insurance will be free. I’m going to try to make the rest of this post as brief as possible, but I do recommend going over to the links to read the entire column and in one case, their full report. Claim About Obamacare Reform “Rate Shock” Is “Unfounded,” Urban Analysis Finds

But, as the Urban Institute paper points out, the large majority of young people affected by this will also become eligible for premium subsidies to help buy coverage in the new exchanges that health reform will create, or for Medicaid (if they live in a state that adopts health reform’s Medicaid expansion).  As a result, the age-rating change “would have very little impact on out-of-pocket rates paid by the youngest nongroup purchasers.”

Specifically, the study found:

92 percent of people ages 21 to 27 projected to buy an individual plan in an exchange in 2017 are expected to have incomes less than 300 percent of the poverty line, so they would be eligible either for Medicaid (if their state expands it) or for substantial subsidies to help pay premiums in the exchange.

Similarly, 88 percent of 18- to 20-year-olds projected to buy a plan in the exchange are expected to be eligible for premium subsidies or Medicaid.

The study also notes that among the estimated 951,000 young adults ages 21 to 27 who now buy coverage in the individual market and have incomes too high to qualify for premium subsidies or Medicaid, two-thirds are age 26 or younger and in families with access to employer coverage.

This is also an important point that Avik and others at Forbes and elsewhere are failing to note. Everyone who is under 27 can stay on their parent’s plan. Those plans are almost always lower cost group plans. Plus they will have the slightly expanded guaranteed benefits specified by the ACA. About that Urban Institute Study,

ACA will not cause rate shock

ACA will not cause rate shock

Quick-Take-on-Young-Adults-with-Current-Nongroup-Insurance-or-Uninsured

This chart shows that the people Forbes claims to care so much about will get some kind of tax break/subsidy. In the category of people who buy insurance on their own – non-group insured – maybe 11% may pay more. Though they too will get better benefits and cannot be denied coverage for preexisting conditions. Again, not perfect, but not the “disaster” or “rate shock” being predicted by partisans with an agenda that trumps the facts.

• Given the age-rating gradient HHS has adopted in regulations, premiums for people age 28 to 56 would be very similar regardless of the age rating limits chosen; premium variation across the rating scenarios is concentrated in the age groups of 21–27 and 57 and above.
• Although the average premiums insurers will charge for 21–27 year-olds are lower under 5:1 than under 3:1 rating, subsidies these purchasers receive will leave average out-of-pocket premiums almost identical under the two methods. Over 90 percent of young adults age 21–27 purchasing single nongroup coverage in the exchanges receive significant subsidies that limit their costs as a share of their income.

The ratio seems like wonky stuff, but it is just the limit the ACA places on premiums for the same benefits between young insured and older insured. This is so younger insured are not forced into paying for the higher health care costs of older insured. The full report is available at the link.

Does Rush Limbaugh listen to his own words, “Yes Virginia, There Are Death Panels”: Limbaugh Exploits Child Transplant Patient To Revive Obamacare Myth.

Rush Limbaugh rehashed the widely debunked myth that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will result in death panels to smear Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, claiming that “Obamacare establishes death panels and right now Sebelius is it.”

Limbaugh used the case of Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old girl awaiting a lung transplant, as evidence that “The government’s making the decision who lives and dies. That’s what Obamacare is.” Later, Limbaugh responded to a caller, saying, “Yes Virginia, there are death panels.”

So Limbaugh wants the gov’mint to intervene in the personal medical care of a patient. That would be something like a death panel would do. The ACA or Obamacare does not give the gov’mint authority to intervene in the diagnostic or medical procedures for individual patients. It could only do so if the government had the authority Limbaugh lies about. And good for Politico (I’m a little shocked that Politico is being so rational) for explaining how the government should not get involved in the case of this one girl because it would likely just mean the death of one or two other girls, Kathleen Sebelius at center of storm over child’s lung transplant

“I can’t imagine anything worse than one individual getting to pick who lives and who dies,” she said. Sebelius said putting Sarah next in line would disadvantage other young people who have also been waiting for transplants — including three in the same area. Helping one child could possibly hurt another.

Some experts agree that the lung allocation policy may need to be revisited; it has been for kidney and liver transplants. But they say no snap decisions should be made because of the media glare.

Should Sebelius step in and do something? No. She doesn’t have all the facts,” said NYU bioethicist Art Caplan. Acting under pressure from a media savvy family “or the noisiest person in line” is bad policy, he added.

[  ]…Caplan noted one reason that may give Sebelius pause: by moving someone up the list, someone else goes down. One child saved could mean another child dies. Sebelius, he noted, “doesn’t have all the information.”

So Limbaugh and other conservatives are the ones acting as Death Panels via media pressure to act on the politics of the moment, not the medical ethics which might save this one adorable little girl, but kill one or possibly three others. This is also a good post on the subject, Suddenly everyone is a backseat expert on medical ethics

Here’s the thing. There are many people waiting for lungs in Pennsylvania now, and few will get them. With so few lungs available, it’s important to come up with a fair, unbiased system that maximizes the potential to make good use of them while also not favoring anyone unfairly over anyone else. There is just no way that it ends well for everyone. When a lung becomes available, someone is going to get it, and others will not. That means one person gets a chance to live, and the rest likely die. It’s tragic, no matter how the decision is made.

Forbes and Former Romney Advisor Twist Costs of California Obamacare

Model Train wallpaper

Model Train wallpaper

First, who is Avik Roy, according to his little background biography box at Forbes:”The Apothecary, a blog about health care and entitlement reform, is edited by Avik Roy, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and a former health-care policy adviser to Mitt Romney. Avik also writes a weekly column on politics and policy for National Review.” Used to work for the guy who likely set a record for lies, distortions, half truths and egregious smears during a presidential election. He works for a radical conservative “think tank” that publishes bought and paid for research and writes for The National Review. The latter’s most recent triumph of truth and reason being the defense of a report claiming all Latinos have low IQs and saying the U.S. should fight on the side of murderous dictator Bashar al-Assad. Avik could still write the truth about something, but his background does speak to a less than stellar character. Rate Shock: In California, Obamacare to Increase Individual Health Insurance Premiums by 64-146%.

Here’s what happened. Last week, Covered California—the name for the state’s Obamacare-compatible insurance exchange—released the rates that Californians will have to pay to enroll in the exchange. “The rates submitted to Covered California for the 2014 individual market,” the state said in a press release, “ranged from two percent above to 29 percent below the 2013 average premium for small employer plans in California’s most populous regions.”

[  ]…The next cheapest plan, the “bronze” comprehensive plan, costs $205 a month. But in 2013, on eHealthInsurance.com (NASDAQ:EHTH), the average cost of the five cheapest plans was only $92. In other words, for the average 25-year-old male non-smoking Californian, Obamacare will drive premiums up by between 100 and 123 percent.

I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible. There are some number wonks who enjoy this sort of news, but arguing about numbers also bores many people. That last paragraph is Avik’s big gotcha. His, look what they’re not telling you that I discovered. There is a little problem with that:

1. I went over to the site where he got his numbers, used the 25 year old single male non-smoker ( which does leave out categories like married, over 25, insurance that is part of a group plan associated with one’s job – the kind of plan most people have). Right now that male can get a monthly plan for as low as $75 a month. One of the huge things he leaves out is what each plan offers in return for that premium. The lowest priced plans are generally awful – they have high deductibles, high out of pocket costs, a percent of any costs after the deductible and many have yearly cost ceilings – like they will not pay over $15k per year. They go as high as $230. Or think of it this way; if cars averaged $150, which would be the best car. The $75 car or the $230 car. One would think a uber conservative wonk like Avik would understand how the market works. That site is pretty easy to use if anyone would like to get an estimate on their insurance – just plug in your situation, single, married, family, age etc and you get quotes from at least ten companies. Obamacare has set a base standard for coverage. As those nefarious liberals said in the past, a few people may see their individual plans go up. Though there is no proof, none, and Avik offers none, that his 25 year old male buying individual insurance will positively  go up a hundred percent.

2. It seems odd that California would go up as much as 100% when Oregon rates and Massachusetts rates have gone down.

A Family Care Health Plans official on Thursday said the insurer will ask the state for even greater decrease in requested rates. CEO Jeff Heatherington says the company realized its analysts were too pessimistic after seeing online that its proposed premiums were the highest.

“That was my question when I saw the rates was, ‘Can we go in and refile these?'” he said. “We’re going to try to get these to a competitive range.”

( Avik also failed to take into account tax credits)…Another is higher premiums in the 2014 individual market, though for many people they’ll be offset by tax credits. The higher rates are because people with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage. Also, plans have to offer stronger benefits than they used to, leading to higher premiums.

The same is true for California in that category of insured – the single male getting their own insurance. For many people, though not all, those costs will be offset. We are arguing here with a person who makes a living pushing propaganda for the conservative movement, so of course he does not do subtle distinctions. I mentioned Massachusetts. Ezra Klein just reviewed the history of Romneycare in that state, which is basically the same thing as Obamacare, and he found that overall, insurance rates are down. Credit to Avik and Forbes for including some of the rebuttal he has received,

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic argues that I’m being unkind to California (1) by not describing the mandates that Obamacare imposes on insurers in the individual market, and (2) not explaining that low-income people will be eligible for subsidies that protect them from much of the rate shock.

3. Cohn also wrote on that California report,  California Will Be Spared the Obamacare Apocalypse No sticker shock here—just affordable insurance premiums

It’s hard to provide a precise figure on premiums in the new exchange, which is officially called Covered California, because so much depends on individual circumstances, plan selection, and region. But you can get a sense of the prices by looking at what a 40-year-old single person would pay, on average, for the second cheapest “silver” plan on the new market. Such a plan, which would cover about 70 percent of a typical person’s medical expenses, would go for about $300 a month or around $3,600 a year. That compares favorably with what insurance costs today. The typical employer plan, for example, presently costs about $5,500 a year. Employer plans are generally more generous than the silver plans would be, so you’d expect them to be more expensive—but not by such a large margin.

( and this is important for people making in the minimum wage to a few dollars more)…Somebody with an income at 250 percent of the poverty line, or around $29,000 a year, would on average pay just $2400 a year in premiums for that same silver plan. Somebody with an income of 150 percent of the poverty line, or about $17,000 a year, would pay just around $700 a year. This person could also get a “bronze” policy, which comes with higher out-of-pocket expenses, for essentially no premiums at all.

I encourage everyone to read Avik, the California report and Cohn. The report is not that difficult to read through. It seems like they anticipated that people find insurance jargon less than easy to read and tried to make it clear. Yet because insurance is so dependent on individual circumstances, and you’ll get to pick among more insurance companies because of increased competition ( yes it is a capitalist oriented plan that will mean more income for insurance companies) that one can get side tracked in details. In some markets – some states and some regions, only one or two insurance companies have all the business. Obamacare increases the amount of competition, How Obamacare May Help Make Health Care Cheaper By Forcing Insurance Giants To Compete

Setting up the insurance marketplaces is one of the last major Obamacare provisions to take effect — and as the administration works to prepare for that enrollment period to begin in 2014, critics on both sides of the aisle have decried their efforts to implement the health reform law as a “train wreck.” While overhauling the nation’s current health care system certainly hasn’t been without some bumps along the way, Obamacare has not exactly been disastrous so far. The health reform law has already provided better preventative care for millions of previously-insured Americans, forced some health insurers to lower their premiums, and begun to encourage a greater emphasis on primary care.

Obamacare is not my dream, I would have rather seen the ability for everyone to opt into Medicare – a single payer plan. If like Avik, someone was paying me big bucks to find some ragged edges to Obamcare, I could certainly muddy the waters. The net effects of Obamacare are the average insured will see their premiums go down a bit, and millions more Americans will have access to health care. That is not perfect, but it is better than the status quo.

The Atlantic takes down the newest non-scandal, The Fake Story About the IRS Commissioner and the White House. White House records show Douglas Shulman signed in for 11 visits, not 157, between 2009 and 2012. What does it say about conservative “values” that they have to hide behind so much mendacity.