February 16, 2013

"'Rate shock' is the new 'death panels.'"

"They’ve chosen these words very carefully to scare people. It’s the ideal term for what is, at its core, a fear-based campaign."


EMD said...

partly because federal subsidies will cushion the blow.

Where do the subsidies come from?

betamax3000 said...

Re: "Where do the subsidies come from?"

From increased taxes on Lesbian Hot Dog Stands.

gutless said...

Typical, lesbians hit hardest.

gutless said...

Typical, lesbians hit hardest.

Oso Negro said...

The power of government to fuck things up is apparently without limit.

Chip S. said...

Lib idiocy on full display in the first comment @ WaPo:

If Medicare is a good idea for seniors, why isn't it a good idea from everyone else?

Yes. By all means, let's expand the one expenditure item that's on a completely unsustainable path as it is.

Bruce Hayden said...

Where do the subsidies come from?

You mean because, with the $2/3 trillion Medicare infusion, the legislation was designed to appear budget neutral, so it could pass under Senate rules?

Another thing that is going to really screw up the budgeting is that a number of states are declining to set up their own exchanges, or whatever, for those who cannot find insurance because of preexisting conditions, and, thus, are using the federal exchange. The result, so far, is massively subsidized health care, primarily, I would expect, paid for by the taxpayers. Or, more realistically borrowed from our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One person I know went from nearing $1k a month, because of her chronic conditions, before she was forced out, to about $350 a month under the federal program, with comparable coverages.

Paddy O said...

I've had rate shock a few times over the last 6 months. Not a scare term, it's a reality for many of us who lack employer insurance, so have to find other routes for coverage.

I had student insurance, but rate shock priced us out of keeping that for my whole family.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Because understanding economics, supply and demand and the actuarial functions of insurance is HARD......let's just call it a fear campaign instead.

rehajm said...

WaPo is concerned with the perception of rate increases because of the negative impact on the acceptance of the program.

Actual rate increases aren't a concern to them. The impact of those can be mitigated by deception and spin.

MikeDC said...

A justifiable fear based campaign!

BarrySanders20 said...

But this cannot be. It's called the AFFORDABLE CARE Act. How can the price rise to "shocking" levels when the name of the act says the opposite? I'm so confused.

Especially when they say so many things are free. Free contraceptives. Free check ups. Free this-n-that. Who says it really isn't free? Those nasty insurance companies, that's who. They are just scaring people with their rhetoric.

Or, maybe guaranteee-issue, community-rating, chock-full-o-nuts coverage while prohibiting proper actuarial determination of premuims to account for the individual risk assumed means the young and healthy subsidize the sick and old. Maybe it means group health plans will subsidize the individual coverage which cannot self-sustain under these restrictions. Maybe it means taxpayers will subsidize the exchanges and also pay for Medicare and Medicaid. But I wouldn't want to be accused of scaring people with my rhetoric.

bagoh20 said...

Meanwhile "Catastrophic Climate Change" is being honest.

Joe Schmoe said...

I love a numbers-free article about something that's all about numbers. How much are we really talking in monthly or annual costs?

Give me real numbers, then I'll decide whether I'm scared or not. I'm sick of Obamanauts castigating everyone that doesn't toe the party line.

DADvocate said...

I participate in a group health insurance program through me employer. We have three levels and costs in which we can participate and HMO, the cheapest, and two PPOs. Carrying insurance for myself and my children, I participate in the HMO and have never had a problem with coverage or reimbursement.

We received notice that next year the HMO may not be available because - you know why. Stepping up to the cheaper of the PPOs will cost me approximately an entire 2 week paycheck. That's rate shock that affects everyone covered under a group policy regardless of age.

My company employees 200-250 full-time and about the same number of part-time employees. I don't know if that makes up small or medium, but the WP can double talk all they want. Most people don't work for large employers. So, everyone just needs to grab the Vasoline, bend over and take it.

Roadkill said...

Obamacare is a legal, social, and financial train wreck, and no amount of partisan spin and media narration is going to change that. But those spindoctors will keep trying to do just that - by conjuring boogeymen, ascribing malevolent motives, and laying the blame everywhere except where it really belongs.

Original Mike said...

"Many young, healthy Americans could soon see a jump in their health insurance costs"

You voted for him, suckers.

EDH said...

The cost of your "free" birth control, bitches (as Titus would say).

"Here Child, Finish Your Nothing"

Dieter: Welcome to Sprockets. I am your host, Dieter.

It has been a very busy week here in Berlin. Jourgen von Keitel's exhibit "Scabs On Canvas" opened at the Schussel Calle, the Gertrude Bromf troupe previewed their performance in wax at the Theater of Unhappiness, and the Berlin wall was dismantled. For the masses the wall's collapse represents freedom and opportunity. But for me, it is a chance to meet the most brilliant countercultural filmmaker in the East, Gregor Voss....

Seen here on East German television last year, Voss, the suppressed visionary whose films include "The Dead Coat", "Irritant Number 4", and "Here Child, Finish Your Nothing"

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

BarrySanders20 beat me to it. For a lot of people the name of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" is beginning to look more than a little ludicrous. Or tragic.

(Sorry, channeling the definition of "camp" in a great Simpsons episode there. "The tragically ludicrous? The ludicrously tragic?")

Anyone else remember the pledge that if you like your current insurance, you can keep it? Sure you can -- at treble the price, and larded up with a variety of new coverage for stuff you didn't want in the first place and/or would happily pay for out of pocket if you needed them.

I liked the canny WaPo writer splitting the difference on "Is it a tax? Is it a penalty?" by calling it a "tax penalty."

Sam Hall said...

The basic problem that we aren't talking about insurance, but prepaid medical.
A policy that only paid for an unexpected event, after a $1,000 deducible, then you could get a low cost insurance policy.

bagoh20 said...

Has there been a single reporter anywhere who asked a Democrat that if the ACA is such a good thing, why is there a need to give so many people waivers. Why isn't a single Congressperson subject to it?

Original Mike said...

Of course, there's an out. Just drop your insurance and pay the penalty.

traditionalguy said...

The free market adjusts to the real demands and rates the risk that exists. It is a slow change that gives time for new ideas to come on line and do a cheaper job.

But the job of an Obamanite is to arrange a sudden catastrophe. Then a community organizer is summoned to settle an aledged and needless clash between the old and the young. That Obama guy becomes the hero without which the catastrophe that he arranged to happen cannot be restored to a peaceful order.

And than there is Global Warming Thefts.

edutcher said...

A nice little item off Insta - key Democrats turn on Obamacare, with this quote,

The fate of the Democratic party in America over the next decade is tied to Obama’s healthcare reform. If it is seen to be a success, America could trend Democratic for the foreseeable future. If it fails, liberalism as we’ve known it will take a massive hit.

They had to pass it so we could see what was in it.

Add that to 24% real unemployment, 10% real inflation, and gas prices up $.50 in the last month and all those Barry&Joe stickers that have been on cars since 11/7 are gonna start coming off real fast.

campy said...

Give it up. Obamacare is a disaster, but it's still not going to deliver the Gone Obsolete Party from oblivion.

The more control the government has over your life, the more important is is to be in good with The Party running the government.

SteveR said...

Come on people its all good, it was designed to fail and they did a good job. Give them credit. Now you may not like what it will lead to but get busy on that and stop complaining.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

If the point of Prof. Althouse's post is to highlight the use of emotionally charged words, I am only partially bothered by it.

In decades of recent memory Liberals (read Progressives, Socialists, Communists) have used emotionally charged words in fallacious arguments to sway a credulous electorate. In this they have been supported by the Main Stream Media

In the same period, Conservatives have generally attempted to counter with logical arguments expressed in emotion-neutral words. They have been excoriated in the MSM.

And our Country has been directed toward a likely disastrous financial future.

Yeah, logical arguments and neutral words are preferable; but as long as the electorate contains a large fraction of folks with no skin in the taxes game, I see nothing wrong with a "level playing field". Go ahead, Conservatives. Yell, scream, exaggerate and lie. Seems to work for the Liberals.

Jim in St Louis said...

about the profile pic. Aw-ooooga!

Jane said...

So the new message from Obamacare supporters is that young adults who are facing higher premiums (due to the requirement that they subsidize their elders and the sick) are a bunch of crybabies?

Pogo said...

An honored and longstanding hospice is closing.

"SAN DIEGO -- Hobbled by a federal investigation into its practice of treating patients who had more than six months left to live, one of the biggest hospices in the country has filed for bankruptcy as it tries to continue operating."

Hospices, under government direction, slowly expanded from care in the last few weeks of life to covering a year or more, for conditions like Alzheimer's and heart failure.

Medicare liked it because it kept costs down, by reducing tests and procedures in those who were terminal.

But now Medicare has changed it's mind and is calling what they once condoned 'fraud'.

This will be devastating to hospices everywhere, and drive up costs massively.

Medicare is nuts, or someone forgot to donate to the right Dem. expect more findings of 'fraud', and fewer people wanting to get involved with health care.

viator said...

"The price of a policy for a young, healthy man in, for instance, Milwaukee, could triple from $58 per month to $175, according to a survey of insurers"

Or from $595 to $2,100.

Meanwhile, sales at Walmart are already cratering due to new taxes imposed at the beginning of 2013.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...


But life expectancy is notoriously uncertain. Let's all remember the Lockerbie bomber, whose expect "three months to live" ended up being nearly three years once he was released and allowed to return to Libya.

Bender said...

When a young and healthy person goes from spending nothing per year on healthcare costs to spending $2000 per year - and getting nothing in return because they are healthy and have no need for medical treatment - then, yes, that is quite a big shock.

More shock is added in the unlikelihood that they do require some treatment, when they are then required to pay an additional several thousand more out-of-pocket as a deductible before their "insurance" kicks in.

All told, young people until now have made the eminently wise decision to not waste their money on "insurance," and using their money for more useful and pressing things, like food and housing costs.

Matt said...

Technically speaking, states that don't create their own exchanges should result in their population's not receiving ANY affordability subsidies.

This isn't intentional, but is a drafting error in the law. Each type of exchange is categorized by the law in the section that pertains to exchanges. In the later section of the law covering subsidies, only subsidies for the specific category of exchanges spelled out as state created are explicitly authorized.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

As to the premise of the person An is quoting, I don't see how "rate shock" is anything like "death panels." The latter is obviously polemical language, but the former is language that's been the stuff of dry news broadcasts as long as I've been alive. When newscasters talk about "price shocks" from natural disasters, turmoil in the Middle East, strikes, food contamination, unseasonable weather that kills off a bunch of the orange crop, &c., is it because they're all a bunch of fear-mongerers who want to keep us terrified? Or is the language of "shocks," utterly ordinary when applied to most economic dislocations, suddenly different when applied to the PPACA?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Matt, that's right. Except that I believe the IRS proposes to ignore the actual text and substitute the rule that it thinks should have been enacted.

"Drafting errors" are apt to be common when a bill is 2000 pages long (and not a straightforward 2000 pages, either, but largely comprising alterations of existing law, all of which you would also have to read in order to comprehend the text), and when quite a number of people who voted on the legislation profess not to have read it. Hell, NY State managed a little while back to disarm its entire police force accidentally, and that was a very terse bill as they go.

Titus said...

For those who work in the private sector insurance premiums have been going up pretty drastically over the past 10 years.

I will be curious how much more they will go up after Obamacare is implemented.

betamax3000 said...

I lay all of this at the feet of whomever first proclaimed that "there are jobs no American will do."

Once that was considered accepted wisdom despite the existence of unemployment...

BarrySanders20 said...


It was intentional. Congress wanted to provide incentives for states to create their own exchanges. Congress thought voters would pressure their own state legislatures to take free shit from the feds if the state took the repsonsibility of designing to Rube Goldberg exchange. The feds did not want the job, so they wrote the law to entice states to do it.

They had to pass it to find out it didn't work they way they thought.

Sam L. said...

"Scare" tactics...because they are true.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I will be curious how much more they will go up after Obamacare is implemented.

No one knows for sure, but the estimates I get from my former colleagues is 25 to 40%

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

@DBQ et al.: We've seen 40% already, on a $10,000-deductible on account of all the extra coverage now required under Obamacare (e.g. both in-patient and out-patient mental health coverage).

Just wait until they force us into "comprehensive coverage" under which the highest allowable deductible will be $1,000, with no health savings accounts allowed. My agent estimates our rates will increase by 300 to 400 percent on account of the deductible.

We can't have health people protecting themselves only against catastrophic events, can we. Might make it too expensive for the waddling walruses in the 'hood and elsewhere who refuse to take even basic care of themselves. Not "fair".

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...


It was intentional. Congress wanted to provide incentives for states to create their own exchanges. Congress thought voters would pressure their own state legislatures to take free shit from the feds if the state took the repsonsibility of designing to Rube Goldberg exchange. The feds did not want the job, so they wrote the law to entice states to do it.

I doubt it. The snag in the argument is that voters can't pressure their states to do something when no one has informed them about it. And no one did try to inform them about it. The subject was raised by a few lawbloggers who looked at the IRS ruling and said basically, "Whoa, wait a minute, can the IRS just decide all by itself that enacted legislation doesn't 'really' mean what its text clearly says? What are their other secret super powers? Can they see through walls, or what?"

If Congress meant this exclusion to get citizens to put pressure on states to create exchanges, the exclusion would have been publicized. It was the reverse of publicized. It was kept quiet as death, because it was just a plain screwup. Not the last we are going to see with this thing, I think.

n.n said...

Actually, it's death panels from conception to grave. The Left earns their power from promises of redistributive and retributive change. They consider the creation of new human life to be a burden to be avoided and slaughtered when inconvenient. They feigns concern for civil and human rights, other to ensure that men, women, and children are available for sex, taxation, and exploited for democratic leverage.

As for Obamacare, the principal problem is three-fold. First, it does not address the causes of progressive, artificial inflation. Second, other than increasing the pot, it does not prepare to provide service for more people, which will necessarily mean marginal care. Third, it conflates contributory and non-contributory (or net-negative) entitlements, which will sponsor corruption of individuals and institutions.

Anyway, the "Death Panels" are real. They were normalized by Planned Parenthood and other sacrificial cults, and funded through a parasitic government, where civil servants are elected in service to themselves and unproductive, greedy bastards everywhere.

n.n said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson:

Obamacare is a simple revenue generation scheme. They cannot sustain trillion dollar account deficits, since the consequences of devaluing capital and labor are readily observable, both in America and around the world.

They had no choice but to increase the government's revenue. There is no easier way to manipulate people into consensus than appealing to their fears of death and illness. These are greedy people, but they are not stupid. They manufacture leverage for a reason and with a purpose.

sydney said...

But this cannot be. It's called the AFFORDABLE CARE Act. How can the price rise to "shocking" levels when the name of the act says the opposite? I'm so confused.

Kind of like the "Paperwork Reduction Act" which is quoted on every 10 page document of paperwork I have to fill out.

Chuck said...

The quote is from Wendell Potter. Potter used to work in the insurance industry, for Cigna. Now, his business is supplying supposed "whistleblower" support for left/progressive defense of Obama health care. He writes columns, does speeches and promotes himself on left-leaning outlets like Huffington Post and the Bill Moyers PBS show.

He's a professional "Ex." Like Colin Powell is (or should be) a professional Ex-Republican. The Left loves those types. Makes them feel good. Quote machines.

There's good money to be made as an "Ex."

Chuck said...



Deirdre Mundy said...

Yeah-- we priced individual insurance in December due to job changes and whatnot...

24,000 a year for a policy with a 20K deductible, if we wanted maternity coverage.

12,000 a year for a 10,000 deductible HSA with no maternity.

Rate shock is already here. What we could use is some way for the self-employed to form larger groups. As it is, the 'insurance' really is just 'prepayment for expenses you might incur some day, if you have a bunch of bad years in a row.' At that point, 'post pay' seems more rational. I mean, I wouldn't pay 10K a year for auto insurance on the off chance that I might total my minivan every year!@

Deirdre Mundy said...

So we dropped insurance. After all, the 'penalty' is a TAX, and Obama says paying taxes is GOOD and we should all want to chip in more!

Deirdre Mundy said...

I think we're close to a tipping point. In the past, everyone had insurance b/c that was what adults did. Now that more small businesses and self-employed people are dropping it, we see sensible, responsible people without it, and dropping becomes a socially acceptable option.....

The Godfather said...

The "shock" is a feature, not a bug.

Obamacare was not designed to "work"; it was designed to fail. The objective is to force us all into "single payer", that is, nationalized medicine. "Everything runs right on time, years of practice and design." With Obama in the White House with a veto, it will be 2017 at the earliest before a disgusted citizenry can begin to try to stop the process. The signs say that it will be too late.

Joe said...

The Godfather is correct. Congress didn't give a shit what was in the law since it didn't matter.

kentuckyliz said...

Interesting quirk in the law: the "tax/penalty" is only applied to persons (individuals!) and businesses in states that have exchanges.

No exchange = no penalty to pay.

I think the governors/states that refused to take the bait were really looking after their citizens' interests.

I bet the IRS is twitching. Different rules apply to exchange states and non-exchange states.

The IRS worksheet will make it obvious.

Does your state have an exchange?
Checkbox No.
Enter $0 on the penalty line.

Chip Ahoy said...

It's a very clever form of ad hominem, isn't it? Where the critic says, I used to do that for a living, create advantageous terms for the insurance industry in my capacity as communications expert, so we can dismiss what these guys say and the terms they use to describe things to wiggle out of their share of responsibility. I know these creeps. I was one of their experts. Win! Okay, what did you win? People don't or won't have sticker shock?

Two days ago two ladies were talking about a nearby store and I interjected that I knew it would be expensive but still experienced sticker shock there at checkout and the two ladies laughed and I do not know why. It was not funny. Was it because sticker shock goes with cars and not cheese? I thought sticker shock was common term.

It's not a fear-based campaign either, it's a fact-based campaign, if a campaign at all, but it IS fear-based in that the insurers are fearful they will be blamed, and they will be blamed. So that fear of being blamed for inevitable sticker shock, or cost shock, premium shock, or tax-penalty fee shock or whatever, is not irrational.

I was getting really mad at Mark Zuckerberg or being such a political Sac d'Oucherville. Until yesterday when I saw Drudge headlines that he's getting a multibillion dollar tax break. And I go, Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes, that's the way to do capitalism in the age of economic tyrants and straight up cronyism. Way to go! I have a completely different view of Zuckerberg now. He's simply rational and not d'ouchey at all. It's how straight guys know who and how hard and how long to blow and do that openly and publicly and BLAM $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


dreams said...

Liberals are totally unscrupulous, they will say and do anything to achieve their goal.

Michael K said...

2/16/13, 1:29 PM
Blogger Sam Hall said...

The basic problem that we aren't talking about insurance, but prepaid medical.
A policy that only paid for an unexpected event, after a $1,000 deducible, then you could get a low cost insurance policy."

Yes, but that would be too simple. We wouldn't be able to promise free care.

Maybe these guys know something.

Wyden pressed Cohen to help find ways to resolve a glitch in the law which may result in the denial of federal assistance to millions of Americans of modest means who could be priced out of family health coverage at work….

“We’ve got millions of people—working-class, middle-class people—who are going to be pushed into a regulatory health coverage no man’s land,” Wyden said. “They are unable to afford the family coverage through their employer and ineligible for the subsidy that could be used by dependents on the exchange.”

Levi Starks said...

I mostly remember 2 things from the campaign for the affordable care act.

1) Obama: We have to bend the cost curve down for medical care.
2) Nancy P. : Artists will no longer have to worry about working in order to have health insurance.

Trust me, It's win-win

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Chip Ahoy,

Sac d'Oucherville.

Oh, man, do I wish I'd invented that.

And I don't know why I forgot "sticker shock." Sort of the plebeian version of the economists' "price shock." Neither is particularly different from "rate shock," is it? All of them mean basically the same thing, which is something you want or need (or, here, are being legally prodded to buy) is suddenly a lot more expensive.

Jay said...

If Medicare is a good idea for seniors, why isn't it a good idea from everyone else?

Uh, it isn't a good idea for Seniors or anyone else.

Medicare providers are quickly on their way to refusing to see patients that have Medicare.

These people are ignorant beyond belief.

Jay said...

I will be curious how much more they will go up after Obamacare is implemented

They are expected to go up 50%, next year.

Amartel said...

"Fear based campaign" = words chosen very carefully to scare people.

Penny said...

I have no problem with that, Amartel.

When people get scared, they start to pay attention. I also suspect that the vast majority of people prefer long lead times when the changes that are coming are as massive as Obamacare.

Democrats AND Republicans should be turning up the volume on this campaign.

Amartel said...

I don't have a problem with a "fear based campaign" either. People should be scared of Obamacare. They would be if they were paying attention, so get their attention. My point is that the left is already in a perpetual fear campaign. And a hate frenzy. And a rage fantasy. And basically, everything other flaming bag of poop they lay on the doorstep of Republicans and conservatives. Just pointing out the projection in the state media.

Peter said...

"But this cannot be. It's called the AFFORDABLE CARE Act."

The word "affordable" has been redefined to mean "subsidized." As in, "afforbable housing."

"Affordable housing" used to refer to housing that had aged until it was somewhat run-down and perhaps had some functional obsolescence (or at least lacked the features found in new housing).

But today "affordable housing" is often brand-new housing that was built (with government subsidies) for the purpose, or perhaps other brand-new housing that's "affordable" due to some government mandate (e.g., the developer is required to offer some portion of the housing below cost in order to obtain government permission to build at all).

Often the actual per-unit cost of "affordable" housing is surprisingly high. It's "affordable" because the out-of-pocket rent is low, not because it's actually inexpensive.

And so, too, with "affordable care." It is not "affordable" because it is inexpensive, it is "affordable" because someone else is forced to pay for it (or sometimes because providers are forced to provide medical services at below-cost prices).

Once you learn to translate "affordable" into "subsidized," the usage begins to make sense again.