Friday, December 20, 2013
A libertarian case for immigration control
(Most libertarians advocate open borders)
I know a nice libertarian-socialist fellow named Mophery Rurbt. He has a household, let us imagine, consisting of three wives (well, he is a Mormon, and the Supreme Court has legalized polygamy), and four children.
One day at his door he finds a small Bangladeshi child, looking hungry, and saying he is come all the way across the world from Bangladesh, and has no place to stay. Mophery's family all consult together, and decide they can take him in. The little Bangladeshi child is overjoyed and becomes part of the Rurbt household.
One thing he does after joining that household is Facebook message all his friends back in Bangladesh, and tell them about this generous American who will take people in. Well, they Facebook message their friends, and so on, and about a week later...
Mophery wakes up in the morning to find Bangladeshis on his lawn. And beyond his lawn. In fact, as far as the eye can see (and this is pretty far, since Mophery lives on a tall hill) darn Bangladeshis struggling to advance towards his home. He learns that every single one of them expects him to take them in.
He locks his door, and shouts out the window that he will call the police if the horde tries to force its way in.
All, but now his fellow libertarian socialists hate him. "You're telling these people where they can go at the point of a gun."
The problem is that they don't see private property as legitimate, and thus don't see Mophery's efforts to stop his home from being overwhelmed and destroyed as a useful dwelling as legitimate. But Mophery has had a sudden awakening, and realizes that his household, to be a functioning unit, has to be able to control who may or may not join. If those who are not invited to join try to force their way in anyhow, the initial quote aggression" is on their part, not on his household's.
Nation-states, too, are functioning social units. If they are to remain functioning social units, they have to be able to regulate the influx of new members. It takes an ideology to occlude this rather obvious point, and make it look as though a group declining to invite someone in is somehow threatening them "at gunpoint."
How to Get Real and Affordable Health Insurance Without Obamacare
What if we told you there are ways you can buy real health insurance, and more importantly, more affordable health insurance, than you can get from either the federal government's or your state government's health insurance "marketplaces"?
By now, you are likely very well informed about how President Obama's lies andmultiple broken promises have produced an even more broken system for buying individual health insurance coverage. Coverage that has become bothmore costly and of lower quality than what you may have had before because of all the useless bloat that has been added to it by President Obama and his bureaucrats who have put their politics ahead of people.
Sean Parnell, who helped us with the development of our "Obamacare: Should You Pay the Premium or the Tax?" tool, has been working on how to get effective and affordable health insurance coverage without dealing with Obamacare. At all. And best of all, in describing how to opt out of Obamacare, he explains you can get the kind of unbloated coverage that might make the most sense for you:
1. "Join a health care sharing ministry. These are voluntary, charitable membership organizations that agree to share medical bills among the membership. They function similar to insurance, and are probably the best alternative to conventional health insurance. There are four of them, at least that I know of. Three are open only to practicing Christians (Samaritan Ministries, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Christian Care Ministry***) while a fourth, Liberty HealthShare, is open to anyone who agrees with their ethical commitment to religious liberty. They operate entirely outside of Obamacare’s regulations, and typically offer benefits for about half the cost of similar health insurance. Members are also exempt from having to pay the tax for being uninsured.
2. Buy a short-term health insurance policy. These policies usually last between 1 and 11 months (6 months seem to be standard) and are not regulated under Obamacare, and therefore don’t offer the same high level of benefits that can drive up costs. Deductibles are available that are higher than what is allowed with Obamacare-compliant health insurance, leading to further savings. They can typically be renewed at the end of the policy, although it is a new policy that won’t cover any conditions that occurred under the previous short-term policy. Another limitation is that they often can’t be renewed over and over again, it looks like 3 years of coverage is about the maximum. But they are much less expensive than conventional health insurance, and can be a good option for covering major medical expenses.
3. Buy alternative insurance products like fixed-benefit, critical illness, or accident insurance. These policies pay cash in the event you are diagnosed with cancer, spend a night in the hospital, or need some other medical treatment. They cost a fraction of what health insurance costs under Obamacare, and by giving you cash directly you aren’t locked in to any particular provider network. Another thing to do is to max out your medical and uninsured/underinsured driver coverage amounts under your auto insurance policy, which can pay medical bills if you are hurt in a car accident.
***UPDATE #2: I listed four health care sharing ministries above, including Christian Care Ministry. What I forgot to mention is that they operate under the name Medi-Share, which many of you may be more familiar with."
He also goes on to describe how to get lower cost health care (not just lower cost health care insurance), so you can get more bang for the bucks you do spend on health care, at least as compared to what someone who signs up for an Obamacare policy will get.
The short-term policies are more like traditional health insurance coverage, which makes them ideal for only paying for the kind of unbloated coverage you need. A good portion of your premiums for an Obamacare policy is actually going to pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses that President Obama's political supporters would like to not have to pay for themselves, which is one reason why their premiums are so much higher than what typical premiums were before the law's implementation.
One downside to the short-term policies is that they don't automatically cover pre-existing conditions, so if you develop a condition that requires extended treatment during the term of one of these policies, you may not be able to renew that coverage. A good way to get around that limitation though is to time the coverage period of your short-term policies during the year so that they go through December, where you could have the option to then get Affordable Care Act coverage during its next enrollment period if you do develop a condition that requires extended treatment. You could then drop the expensive Obamacare policy after you no longer need it in favor of the less costly short term policies again, as would be your right as an honest tax-paying American citizen.
If that describes your situation, when you do "opt-in" to Obamacare, it will be to your advantage to select a "Gold" or "Platinum" level plan, where instead of a high deductible that can require you to pay thousands of dollars out of your own pocket before you even get any meaningful benefit for having health insurance coverage, as is the case for both "Bronze" and "Silver"-level plans under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. We have previously found that people with expensive chronic or short-term, but costly health conditions will almost always pay less for their health care by selecting an Obamacare plan with minimal deductibles.
In fact, we could tell if Obamacare has developed an adverse selection problem simply by looking at the percentage of each kind of "metal" plan that its enrollees have selected, which is perhaps a very big reason why the Obama administration has refused to provide that information to date.
The fixed-benefit and accident insurance coverage would be beneficial as gap filling coverage, which is a means of covering thecost gap if you choose a policy that has a high deductible.
Of course, these kinds of policies would also make sense for people who can only afford Bronze or Silver-level health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but the difference is that those people will also be paying higher premiums, and are therefore less likely to have the money to pay for the kind of insurance that might actually reduce their out-of-pocket costs for health care.
The CoveredCA.com Collapse: How Many California Democrats Does It Take With It?
Peter Lee is going to need a copy of The Happiest Life, and very soon, because his 2014 looks like it will be miserable, though not as miserable as he will have made the start of the new year for hundreds of thousands of Californians whom Lee has failed.
Lee is the number one guy at what may prove to be the biggest failure of many big failures in the state Obamacare exchanges. He is the executive director of CoveredCA.com, Obamacare's poster-child for state exchanges which is slowly but surely being exposed as an enormous and costly flop. A year ago, Lee was the Sacramento Business Journal's "executive to watch" in 2013. Now he's hiding from the press and his agency is hunkered down amid a growing storm of bad news, broken promises, and unmet goals.
Exchanges in Oregon, Minnesota and Maryland are getting most of the bad press --with Jim Geraghty noting today that Maryland is getting close to folding its tent and giving up-- but for sheer size of failure given ambitions-not-met and budget-spent, Lee's CoveredCA.com has got to be number one.
When enrollment opened, CoveredCA.com came up with a magic number of 487,000 subsidy-eligible enrollees by 4/1/14 as a bare minimum success number. That could only have been a very low bar arbitrarily set to guarantee "success" given that the national goal is 7 million enrollees. Even that low bar is proving too high, though, and sooner or later the real reporters are going to start digging into this epic failure and the man atop it.
The "progress" towards that minimum number of 487,000 subsidized enrollees cannot be known since the exchange's refusal to publish timely updates on enrollment data is pronounced. But we do know that the wizards at CoveredCA.com have sent out 114,000 error-filled notices to potential enrollees.
This latest snafu comes weeks after the Los Angeles Times reported that "California's health exchange has given insurance agents the names and contact information for tens of thousands of people who went online to check out coverage but didn't ask to be contacted."
Lee's supporters keep hoping the woefully unqualified nice guy somehow manages to turn things around, but this is the easiest part of the process. When small businesses get their coverage cancelled next year and are then thrown on to CoveredCA.com, the California nightmare will hit stage two,three and beyond --right in the middle of Jerry Brown's re-election campaign, and those of every other state wide official and all of the state's Assembly, half of its State Senate, and more than a few wobbly Democratic Congressional incumbents.
California's insurance commissioner Dave Jones estimated last month that more than a million Californians had had their health insurance cancelled because of Obamacare. Hard to imagine many Democrat votes from among those folks and their family members.
Nor is CoveredCA.com helping to fill the gap that the Obama-Reid-Pelosi troika created and which Jerry Brown and Peter Lee manage. In October and November, 777,000 applications were begun on the website, according to CoveredCA.com, but less than 110,000 people actually "enrolled." (And who knows how many will make a payment, even if today's bungled letter-to-enrollees melt down is corrected quickly.) It is a long way from 110,000 to the bare minimum of success at 487,000, and time has all but run-out, which explains the panicky Tweet that issued from CoveredCA,com today urging people to pay attention to the lateness of the hour.
Director of Minnesota's Troubled Obamacare Exchange Resigns Following Tropical Vacation
A follow-up to a story we mentioned yesterday. Like her failed Obamacare colleague in Maryland, Minnesota's embattled exchange director has stepped down. April Todd-Malmlov decided it would be a good idea to take a lengthy holiday in Costa Rica as the state's new healthcare system -- for which she was responsible -- was still failing many Minnesotans. Until recently, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton defended Todd-Malmlov's "right" to take this sunny two-week getaway, but public outrage hasn't subsided. She's out:
"MNsure executive director April Todd-Malmlov left her $136,000-a-year post during a closed-door meeting with the program’s executive committee...Todd-Malmlov’s abrupt departure comes as thousands of Minnesotans scramble to enroll in the state’s online insurance marketplace by Jan. 1. The implementation of Minnesota’s program has gone more smoothly than in other states, but it still has been marked by countless technical glitches, delays and frustrated consumers...The outrage over Todd-Malmlov intensified following revelations that she and state Medicaid director James Golden took a nearly two-week tropical vacation late last month, even as the program was swamped with problems. According to Star Tribune records, the two live together and have worked closely on the implementation of the new exchange. Todd-Malmlov did not respond to repeated requests for comment."
These two incompetent lovebirds flitted off to paradise, leaving behind thousands of ordinary people to grapple with the consequences of their failures. That's what being a public servant is all about, dontcha know? The governor's stance, incidentally, has shifted from asserting Todd-Malmlov's "right" to a wildly ill-timed and undeserved vacation, to declaring the whole situation "unacceptable." Smooth work, gov. Here's a nifty companion piece to Todd-Malmlov's departure:
"Minnesota’s health-care exchange is asking about 1,000 applicants to reapply so they can receive insurance premium subsidies. MNsure had issues computing those subsidies earlier; the problem only applies to those who applied for insurance but didn’t enroll and don’t have a family member on a government health program such as Medicaid. The exchange is calling this group to inform them that they must reapply. Meanwhile, the exchange’s website, which recently eliminated a security vulnerability, was down Monday for people applying for new coverage."
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Posted by JR at 1:47 AM