An avalanche of bad news 156

The essential messiness of socialist thinking is demonstrated by the Health Care Act. Obamacare was a mess in its conception, in its drafting, in its passing through Congress; and now it’s making a mess in the real world as its implementation becomes a desperate exercise in warding off disaster.

Wreckage of Obamacare is the title of an article by Grace-Marie Turner at Critical Condition, the National Review Online’s health-care blog:

The Obama administration is refusing to accept the disastrous dynamics it has set into play with its monstrous health-overhaul law.

Instead of recognizing the economic reality of what they’ve done, officials are railing at the companies and industries that are responding in perfectly rational ways to the incentive structures they have set up.

But the result is an avalanche of bad news for consumers who surely will not “be able to keep the coverage” they have:

840,000 Midwesterners to lose policies. The Principal Group announced its plans to drop health insurance from its roster of products, which the New York Times calls “another sign of upheaval emerging among insurers as the new federal health law starts to take effect.”

The Iowa-based company provides coverage to about 840,000 people who receive their insurance through an employer.

Principal is just the latest in a long list of insurers to announce plans to drop coverage. It may have done so anyway, but Obamacare undoubtedly accelerated the decision.

30,000 retail workers at risk of losing coverage — and likely millions more. The Wall Street Journal broke the story about 30,000 hourly workers of McDonald’s who are likely losing their insurance “as the law ripples through the real world.”

McDonald’s  have since been granted a one-year waiver. So have dozens of other companies, as the New York Times reports here, explaining –

“The waivers have been issued in the last several weeks as part of a broader strategic effort to stave off threats by some health insurers to abandon markets, drop out of the business altogether or refuse to sell certain policies.”

Commenting on which, Peter Wehner has a good piece here. He says, in part:

This action highlights one of the great dangers of ObamaCare, which is that every health-care decision now has to run through the federal government. Private companies have to bow before its throne, asking for waivers and massively complicating their own lives. The federal government is now in a much stronger position to pick winners and losers and rig the game. This is the kind of expansion of federal power that many people feared and warned about – and it’s happening within weeks of the law taking effect.

The waivers are also the Obama administration’s attempt to minimize the negative impact of ObamaCare less than a month before the midterm election. It’s now clear that the new health-care law was very poorly constructed and is having enormous implementation problems. To issue waivers to undo the damaging effects of a new law is a very bad sign.

The avalanche is building. Grace-Marie Turner  continues –

Millions more policies are at risk for employees of Home Depot, Disney, CVS, Staples, Blockbuster, etc., the Journal reports.

22,000 New England seniors can’t keep the coverage they have. Harvard Pilgrim announced this week that it is getting out of the market for Medicare Advantage in response to the massive cuts coming to this popular program. …

Child-only policies vanishing: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is angry with a number of insurers for announcing they plan to stop offering child-only insurance policies. But does she really not get it? If you tell companies they must sell to anyone who applies, even if the children are already sick, then it simply is not a sustainable insurance or business model.

And when one company in an area announces its plans to stop offering the policies, that creates instant adverse selection for other companies that remain in the market, setting off a cascade of dropped policies.

The cascade began just a few days after Obamacare was signed into law when AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere, Verizon and several other large employers said the law would take a bite out of their future earnings. They were about to be hauled before the House of Representatives to explain their disloyalty until it became clear that they were likely to testify that they also are considering dropping employee coverage.

After that, we learned that retiree medical coverage was in jeopardy. Next, there was another casualty of Obamacare — the fledgling insurance company in Virginia, nHealth, that shut down after investors concluded it wasn’t possible to navigate the maze of new regulations and succeed.

And then Sebelius railed at insurance companies for explaining that the Sept. 23 mandates will indeed increase the cost of premiums for customers. …

Do they not understand that the wreckage is the result of Obamacare? This is only the beginning as thousands and thousands more pages of regulation will further disrupt virtually every aspect of our health sector.

One good effect of all this is that the failure of Obama’s attempt at socializing health care is now starkly obvious.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act must be repealed.

Oh really, O’Reilly? 201

We find it hard to believe that Charles Krauthammer or Brit Hume would obey instructions as to what they may say or not say on Fox News.

Yet it does seem that Fox has sold its soul to the devil.

This is from Family Security Matters:

Former prominent guests on Fox News, including Walid Shoebat, contend that the News Corporation has surrendered its “fair and balanced” coverage of Islam and events in the Middle East for a fistful of Saudi cash.

Their contention is based on a series of recent developments within the media giant.

The first development was the news that Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, invested $70 million in the Rotana Group, an enterprise owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah. The Rotana Group operates a host of TV channels throughout the Middle East and is a leading producer of Arabic movies.

Next came Mr. Murdoch’s decision to make Abu Dhabi, the headquarters of the News Corporation’s global media operations in the Middle East.

On Monday, the Fox Business Network announced that it will dispatch a full-time correspondent to the Middle East in order to inform Americans of the unique business opportunities in such places as Syria, a country that provides shelter for Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah and support the insurgents in Iraq.

In the wake of this announcement, Fox news commentators – including Glenn Beck, Charles Krauthammer, A.B. Stoddard and Bill Kristol – condemned Geert Wilders, a well-respected Dutch dignitary and critic of radical Islam, as a “fascist” and a “demagogue.” …

In the past, the former member of the Dutch National Parliament was a frequent guest on Fox News. Last February, Bill O’Reilly welcomed Mr. Wilders to America, while condemning a scared Britain for banning him entrance to the country.

Other news about the parent company of Fox News began to surface, including reports that Kingdom Holding owns at least 7 percent of the News Corporation and has become the second largest shareholder in the Murdoch conglomerate. Some speculate that the actual shares controlled by Kingdom Holding through a hedge fund may exceed 25 percent.

Kingdom Holding is owned by Prince Talal …

Listed by Forbes as the world’s 22nd richest person, Prince Talal also owns substantial shares of Time Warner, Apple, eBay, Disney, and Citibank.

As for charity, he gives millions to Hamas and other pro-Palestinian organizations.

Critics say that Prince Talal’s sizeable investment in the News Corporation accounts for Fox News programs critical of Israel, including a series of special reports in which Carl Cameron and Brit Hume [even he? – JB] alleged that Israel gathered information about the attacks of 9/11 and failed to warn the American people.

Walid Shoebat, a former member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, who converted to Christianity, charges that Fox News now prohibits critics of Islam and Islamic terror from appearing on its broadcasts.

“He himself (Prince bin Talal) said, ‘I just had to make a phone call to [tell them to] stop using the word Muslim’ regarding the rioting in France,” Mr. Shoebat notes. “Bill O’Reilly says to Ibrahim Hooper, the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), that he is an upstanding citizen. Since when was the head of CAIR an upstanding citizen?”

Mr. Shoebat adds that viewers will no longer be seeing any so-called “Islamophobes” on Fox.

“Today, I’m not invited at Fox News. Neither is Robert Spencer or Brigitte Gabriel,” he laments. “But Ibrahim Hooper is invited to speak at Fox News. It used to be that experts on terrorism who are critical of the Islamic views [were] able to get a voice on Fox News. Those days are gone.”

Mr. Shoebat says that instead of airing those critical views of Islam, Fox News now legitimizes Hooper, the spokesman for CAIR, a group which he maintains is a front for Islamic terrorists.