It’s April: Got
Inevitable news story:
As uninsured people tried desperately to meet the March 31 deadline,
the Obamacare system crashed again. I’d tell you how many people
actually got enrolled and paid their premium, but you can’t believe
any numbers — or much of anything else — coming out of the Obama
administration, and all you’ll hear from Massachusetts Gov. Deval
Patrick is that it’s not his fault, whatever it is.
Today, a congressional
committee is demanding answers from his administration about the
state’s broken Health Connector website and its security
protections: Apparently the lax protocols have put people at risk of
identity theft. Health Connector Executive Director Jean Yang is
expected to testify about problems with the state’s exchange before
the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, sent a letter last
week about his concerns to Patrick, who cheerfully whistled past the
graveyard in his usual denial mode. “I don’t think we have a reason
to be concerned,” Patrick said. Good to know.
In my office, the
remaining staffer not yet on Medicare does seem to be insured with a
new plan, as our broker worked out something to get Chip’s
unnecessary pediatric dental care covered. His deductible doubled,
But, but ... our
congressman, John Tierney, told us, “If you like the plan you have,
you keep it.”
Here’s something new.
During a recent visit to his doctor, Chip was handed a notice about
“a new and innovative concept in patient care: shared medical
appointments,” including shared annual physicals. You may pause to
inject your own image-joke here; so far, everyone we’ve told came up
with something about an assembly-line prostate exam.
Can’t blame the
doctors, after the stories we’re hearing about the time they are
going to spend now filling out the Obamacare code books, in which
they must give detailed descriptions of roughly 68,000 various
procedures like “Code W61.01XA: bitten by a parrot, initial
encounter” and “Code V97.33XD, sucked into a jet engine, subsequent
encounter” (from March 25 Globe story by Steven Syre). I think the
reference is to the second encounter between doctor and patient, not
between patient and jet engine, but it’s not clear.
My pharmacist told me
about Gov. Patrick’s new initiative on dealing with opiate
addiction: Druggists presented with an opiate prescription must
check it with a database to make sure the patient isn’t filling
various prescriptions from various doctors (Code XXX: patient I’ve
never met before begging for addictive drugs). So, if you stop in on
your way from surgery with a prescription, you’d better hope the
computer system isn’t down for three days. My pharmacist has known
me for 40 years and knows I think twice before taking one Aleve, but
the government wants me to prove it before allowing me my valid
I feel bad for those
with real pain who inadvertently get addicted, but let’s not pretend
that young people who take drugs “for fun” or because of “peer
pressure” couldn’t help themselves. We need to tell them: Hey kids,
it’s stupid, just say no, the first time, every time.
Someone suggested that
the government should take addicts under the government wing while
helping them fight their addiction. I might think that was a decent
plan — better than letting them walk the streets committing crimes
to feed their pathetic need — if it wasn’t for the Justina Pelletier
case in which the government got its claws into a 15-year-old girl
it is now holding prisoner as she wastes away. In a treatment
dispute between Children’s Hospital and Tufts, Judge Joseph Johnston
took the girl from her parents and awarded permanent custody to the
dysfunctional state Department of Children and Families. Two state
legislators, Reps. Marc Lombardo, R-Billerica, and Jim Lyons,
R-Andover, are trying to get the Legislature to step in; just last
weekend, the famous defense attorney Alan Dershowitz offered to
help, arguing that this is a terrible violation of parental rights.
Gov. Patrick, of course, has no opinion.
Here’s a health
insurance story I wouldn’t want anyone to miss. It seems that Matt
Drudge, of “The Drudge Report,” tweeted “Just paid the Obamacare
penalty for not ‘getting covered’... I’M CALLING IT A LIBERTY TAX.”
The White House media charged him with lying, because everyone knows
the individual mandate has been delayed until 2015! Hah! Gotcha!
Well, umm, yes, if you
are an individual taxpayer. If you are a small business like
Drudge’s, you started to pay your quarterly taxes for 2015 last
month. It would be startling to learn that the Obama administration
has no clue about national tax policy that relates to businesses, if
we didn’t already know that it has no clue about actually running a
business. Remember Obama’s amazement as Obamacare started to fall
apart: “What we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated
It’s also complicated
to run an insurance company and keep your clients covered when the
president unilaterally — and unconstitutionally — keeps impulsively
changing the law that was passed by Congress.
It seems clear that the
real goal of Obamacare is to eventually have a single-payer
government healthcare system, with no competition and no control by
the insured. But while some argue that to this end, Obamacare was
always meant to fail, driving frustrated consumers into asking the
government to take over, I can’t believe that the president really
wanted to look this incompetent; nobody would.