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Posts For: June 26, 2010

OK, So It’s Not True

Over the last year or so, Obama has repeated dozens — perhaps hundreds — of times that his health-care “reform” would allow you to keep your existing insurance plan. It’s quite apparent now that this was false. Time magazine is the latest to report:

Now that regulations about existing employer-sponsored plans have been issued, it’s becoming clear that many of the 160 million Americans with job-based coverage will not, in fact, be able to keep what they currently have.

Republican critics of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act point to the Obama Administration’s own estimates that by 2013, 39% to 69% of employer plans will be subject to new regulations and not grandfathered in, or exempted from the new rules. House minority leader John Boehner issued a press release about the new regulations with the headline “New ObamaCare Tagline Should Be ‘If You Like Your Health Care Plan, Too Bad.’ “

While the reporter feels compelled to call GOP rhetoric “overheated,” she readily concedes that conservative critics have the facts on their side:

The truth is that employer-based plans, which many assumed would easily be categorized as grandfathered, will be subject to the full regulatory thrust of the new law if they are altered in ways that are standard practice in the industry. Plans that increase the percentage of costs patients must pay out of pocket — known as co-insurance — lose their grandfathered status. The same is true for plans that significantly decrease the percentage that employers contribute to premiums or those that significantly increase deductibles or co-payments. An employer that switches health-insurance providers also loses its grandfathered status. These kinds of changes are common year to year in the current marketplace, since employers are constantly looking for ways to limit their expenses in the face of rising costs.

The “keep your plan” hooey was as deceptive as the claim that ObamaCare would reduce the deficit. In short, ObamaCare was sold under false pretenses. In contract law, such a deal would be rescinded. In politics, the solution is for lawmakers to explain that the bill doesn’t do what it promised and repeal it so that they can start over. And what if Obama decides to veto the repeal of his handiwork? Well, there will be an election in 2012 and a campaign to debate just how misleading were Obama’s assurances.

Over the last year or so, Obama has repeated dozens — perhaps hundreds — of times that his health-care “reform” would allow you to keep your existing insurance plan. It’s quite apparent now that this was false. Time magazine is the latest to report:

Now that regulations about existing employer-sponsored plans have been issued, it’s becoming clear that many of the 160 million Americans with job-based coverage will not, in fact, be able to keep what they currently have.

Republican critics of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act point to the Obama Administration’s own estimates that by 2013, 39% to 69% of employer plans will be subject to new regulations and not grandfathered in, or exempted from the new rules. House minority leader John Boehner issued a press release about the new regulations with the headline “New ObamaCare Tagline Should Be ‘If You Like Your Health Care Plan, Too Bad.’ “

While the reporter feels compelled to call GOP rhetoric “overheated,” she readily concedes that conservative critics have the facts on their side:

The truth is that employer-based plans, which many assumed would easily be categorized as grandfathered, will be subject to the full regulatory thrust of the new law if they are altered in ways that are standard practice in the industry. Plans that increase the percentage of costs patients must pay out of pocket — known as co-insurance — lose their grandfathered status. The same is true for plans that significantly decrease the percentage that employers contribute to premiums or those that significantly increase deductibles or co-payments. An employer that switches health-insurance providers also loses its grandfathered status. These kinds of changes are common year to year in the current marketplace, since employers are constantly looking for ways to limit their expenses in the face of rising costs.

The “keep your plan” hooey was as deceptive as the claim that ObamaCare would reduce the deficit. In short, ObamaCare was sold under false pretenses. In contract law, such a deal would be rescinded. In politics, the solution is for lawmakers to explain that the bill doesn’t do what it promised and repeal it so that they can start over. And what if Obama decides to veto the repeal of his handiwork? Well, there will be an election in 2012 and a campaign to debate just how misleading were Obama’s assurances.

Read Less

Obama Can’t Decide Whether to Stand with Israel

Josh Rogin reports: “The Obama administration is still not saying what it will do if and when the U.N. calls for another international investigation into the Gaza flotilla incident.” You see, Obama is supportive of the Israeli investigation; he just won’t say whether he’ll defend Israel’s right to conduct its own investigation and rebuff UN attempts to set up an international kangaroo court. Rogin tells us:

The uncertainty is whether the Obama administration is willing to actively oppose a new investigation. This uncertainty is compounded by the mixed messages coming from senior officials like Jones, as well as the Obama team’s apparent unwillingness to brush Secretary-General Ban off the plate.

This lack of resolve and maddening squishiness should no longer shock us. While other American presidents would leave no “uncertainty” and would make clear that the U.S. would not countenance such an action from the UN, this president is different (to use Michal Oren’s description). His attitude toward the U.S.-Israel relationship is unlike his predecessor’s. For Obama, the highest foreign-policy priorities are getting along with the “international community,” accommodating our foes (i.e., “engagement”), and reorienting the U.S. toward the “Muslim World.” If those aims come in conflict with Israel’s security needs (which they inevitably do) and its efforts to hold back the assaults on the Jewish state’s legitimacy, Israel may well have to fend for itself.

Unfortunately, the uncertainty in and of itself is harmful both to Israel’s security and America’s international standing. Most immediately, the hemming and hawing demonstrates less than “rock-solid” (Hillary’s description) support for the Jewish state, serving as another sign of  daylight between this administration and the Israeli government. This will only encourage more attacks on Israel (diplomatic or otherwise). As for our own standing, once again, we display what a fickle and unreliable ally we are. Uncertainty is not what allies expect – or what keeps foes at bay.

Perhaps if American Jewry demonstrated the same “uncertainty” about its support for Obama, the administration might feel compelled to straddle less and defend our ally more. Jewish leaders of mainstream groups should be concerned. If Obama has this much difficulty deciding whether to fend off an UN investigation, what will he do when there is another terrorist propaganda stunt? Or when Israel is compelled to attack Iran? It’s not enough for Obama to drop his outward hostity toward Israel. What is required is what Jewish groups expect of every American president — that he stand with Israel unambiguously against efforts to weaken and defame the Jewish state.

Commending him for straddling sends precisely the wrong message to this president. And while we’re talking about straddlers, it’s time for Jewish groups, whose membership is overwhelmingly Democratic, to decide whether at this point in history it is more important to run interference for Obama or to challenge him to live up to his pro-Israel campaign rhetoric.

Josh Rogin reports: “The Obama administration is still not saying what it will do if and when the U.N. calls for another international investigation into the Gaza flotilla incident.” You see, Obama is supportive of the Israeli investigation; he just won’t say whether he’ll defend Israel’s right to conduct its own investigation and rebuff UN attempts to set up an international kangaroo court. Rogin tells us:

The uncertainty is whether the Obama administration is willing to actively oppose a new investigation. This uncertainty is compounded by the mixed messages coming from senior officials like Jones, as well as the Obama team’s apparent unwillingness to brush Secretary-General Ban off the plate.

This lack of resolve and maddening squishiness should no longer shock us. While other American presidents would leave no “uncertainty” and would make clear that the U.S. would not countenance such an action from the UN, this president is different (to use Michal Oren’s description). His attitude toward the U.S.-Israel relationship is unlike his predecessor’s. For Obama, the highest foreign-policy priorities are getting along with the “international community,” accommodating our foes (i.e., “engagement”), and reorienting the U.S. toward the “Muslim World.” If those aims come in conflict with Israel’s security needs (which they inevitably do) and its efforts to hold back the assaults on the Jewish state’s legitimacy, Israel may well have to fend for itself.

Unfortunately, the uncertainty in and of itself is harmful both to Israel’s security and America’s international standing. Most immediately, the hemming and hawing demonstrates less than “rock-solid” (Hillary’s description) support for the Jewish state, serving as another sign of  daylight between this administration and the Israeli government. This will only encourage more attacks on Israel (diplomatic or otherwise). As for our own standing, once again, we display what a fickle and unreliable ally we are. Uncertainty is not what allies expect – or what keeps foes at bay.

Perhaps if American Jewry demonstrated the same “uncertainty” about its support for Obama, the administration might feel compelled to straddle less and defend our ally more. Jewish leaders of mainstream groups should be concerned. If Obama has this much difficulty deciding whether to fend off an UN investigation, what will he do when there is another terrorist propaganda stunt? Or when Israel is compelled to attack Iran? It’s not enough for Obama to drop his outward hostity toward Israel. What is required is what Jewish groups expect of every American president — that he stand with Israel unambiguously against efforts to weaken and defame the Jewish state.

Commending him for straddling sends precisely the wrong message to this president. And while we’re talking about straddlers, it’s time for Jewish groups, whose membership is overwhelmingly Democratic, to decide whether at this point in history it is more important to run interference for Obama or to challenge him to live up to his pro-Israel campaign rhetoric.

Read Less

Flotsam and Jetsam

Do you think the British public will figure out what rubbish is the latest pronouncement by their “health experts” that “fetuses before the age of 24 weeks do not feel pain, and thus may be rubbed out without even the tiniest bit of conscience-pricking for Mum or abortionist”? It would require them, after all, to ignore the “daily new discoveries in the science of the womb.”

The Washington Post could never figure out that its “conservative” blogger has nothing but contempt for conservatives. But he quit, so we wait with baited breath for the next “conservative.”

Anyone who cares to figure out what J Street is up to, can: “J Street clearly does not share a viewpoint with Kadima. If anything it shares a viewpoint with Meretz, Israel’s hippy-dippy left-wing eco-party that boasts all of three seats in the Knesset. The views J Street espouses have been overwhelmingly rejected in Israel. They’ve been overwhelmingly rejected in Congress.Unfortunately, this White House is exactly where J Street is on the peace process, on the blockade, on settlements, and you have to worry they’re in the same place on Iran, too, despite the occasional half-hearted insistence to the contrary.”

It’s not hard to figure out why the world is getting more dangerous: “The United States and its allies have all the tools at their disposal to defeat our shared enemies. Success will depend on three basic commitments: American leadership, a stronger Europe, and a common transatlantic vision. Unfortunately, we have recently been witnessing the opposite: an internationally reluctant American president, a Europe which is mired in its own problems, and an eroded Atlantic bond. … Today, the growing perception among European elites is that the U.S. president is not interested in Europe at all. Many of those elites instead believe that, as president, Obama is mainly concerned with improving America’s image in the Muslim world.” It took Obama to make European elites seem sane.

It’s not taking very long to figure out what’s wrong in Afghanistan: “A military source close to Gen. David Petraeus told Fox News that one of the first things the general will do when he takes over in Afghanistan is to modify the rules of engagement to make it easier for U.S. troops to engage in combat with the enemy, though a Petraeus spokesman pushed back on the claim. Troops on the ground and some military commanders have said the strict rules — aimed at preventing civilian casualties — have effectively forced the troops to fight with one hand tied behind their backs.” Now all we need to do is can the incompetent civilian officials. Then we might win this.

Jeremy Warner can figure out what Obama is up to in demanding Europe to follow his lead on spending: “Like much of what Mr Obama says and does these days, the US position is cynically political. With mid-term elections looming and the Democrats down in the polls, the administration hasn’t yet even begun to think about deficit reduction. … In berating others to carry on spending, Mr Obama is being neither politically wise nor economically sound. He should instead be attending to his own back yard by mapping out some sort of credible, long-term plan for returning the U.S. to balanced budgets.” Cynical or economically illiterate? Both, maybe.

Voters can figure out that “stimulus” means “stimulate the growth of government”: “Since the beginning of the recession (roughly January 2008), some 7.9 million jobs were lost in the private sector while 590,000 jobs were gained in the public one.  And since the passage of the stimulus bill (February 2009), over 2.6 million private jobs were lost, but the government workforce grew by 400,000.”

If you figure out a topic on which Peter Beinart is credible, please send word. Regarding Afghanistan, he wrote on June 23: “[Obama] should use McChrystal’s transgression to install a general who will publicly and unambiguously declare that America’s days in Afghanistan are numbered.” Well, instead he appointed Gen. Petraeus and started to walk back the timeline.

Do you think the British public will figure out what rubbish is the latest pronouncement by their “health experts” that “fetuses before the age of 24 weeks do not feel pain, and thus may be rubbed out without even the tiniest bit of conscience-pricking for Mum or abortionist”? It would require them, after all, to ignore the “daily new discoveries in the science of the womb.”

The Washington Post could never figure out that its “conservative” blogger has nothing but contempt for conservatives. But he quit, so we wait with baited breath for the next “conservative.”

Anyone who cares to figure out what J Street is up to, can: “J Street clearly does not share a viewpoint with Kadima. If anything it shares a viewpoint with Meretz, Israel’s hippy-dippy left-wing eco-party that boasts all of three seats in the Knesset. The views J Street espouses have been overwhelmingly rejected in Israel. They’ve been overwhelmingly rejected in Congress.Unfortunately, this White House is exactly where J Street is on the peace process, on the blockade, on settlements, and you have to worry they’re in the same place on Iran, too, despite the occasional half-hearted insistence to the contrary.”

It’s not hard to figure out why the world is getting more dangerous: “The United States and its allies have all the tools at their disposal to defeat our shared enemies. Success will depend on three basic commitments: American leadership, a stronger Europe, and a common transatlantic vision. Unfortunately, we have recently been witnessing the opposite: an internationally reluctant American president, a Europe which is mired in its own problems, and an eroded Atlantic bond. … Today, the growing perception among European elites is that the U.S. president is not interested in Europe at all. Many of those elites instead believe that, as president, Obama is mainly concerned with improving America’s image in the Muslim world.” It took Obama to make European elites seem sane.

It’s not taking very long to figure out what’s wrong in Afghanistan: “A military source close to Gen. David Petraeus told Fox News that one of the first things the general will do when he takes over in Afghanistan is to modify the rules of engagement to make it easier for U.S. troops to engage in combat with the enemy, though a Petraeus spokesman pushed back on the claim. Troops on the ground and some military commanders have said the strict rules — aimed at preventing civilian casualties — have effectively forced the troops to fight with one hand tied behind their backs.” Now all we need to do is can the incompetent civilian officials. Then we might win this.

Jeremy Warner can figure out what Obama is up to in demanding Europe to follow his lead on spending: “Like much of what Mr Obama says and does these days, the US position is cynically political. With mid-term elections looming and the Democrats down in the polls, the administration hasn’t yet even begun to think about deficit reduction. … In berating others to carry on spending, Mr Obama is being neither politically wise nor economically sound. He should instead be attending to his own back yard by mapping out some sort of credible, long-term plan for returning the U.S. to balanced budgets.” Cynical or economically illiterate? Both, maybe.

Voters can figure out that “stimulus” means “stimulate the growth of government”: “Since the beginning of the recession (roughly January 2008), some 7.9 million jobs were lost in the private sector while 590,000 jobs were gained in the public one.  And since the passage of the stimulus bill (February 2009), over 2.6 million private jobs were lost, but the government workforce grew by 400,000.”

If you figure out a topic on which Peter Beinart is credible, please send word. Regarding Afghanistan, he wrote on June 23: “[Obama] should use McChrystal’s transgression to install a general who will publicly and unambiguously declare that America’s days in Afghanistan are numbered.” Well, instead he appointed Gen. Petraeus and started to walk back the timeline.

Read Less




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