Friday Reads: The Word for Today is “Surreality”

girl reading2

Good Morning!!

I’ve been browsing around the internet this morning, and all I can find is really surreal news. The Obamacare “fumble” or “botch” or “mess” or whatever else the pundits decide to call it is still the top story today; and it looks like President Obama could be in for an even worse day than yesterday. He must be glad it’s Friday. All the usual suspects are weighing in on the “problem” and of course Republicans are gloating.

Reuters summarizes Obama’s very bad Thursday: An apologetic Obama unveils fix on health law.

President Barack Obama on Thursday tried to ease the biggest crisis of his presidency, acknowledging missteps with his signature healthcare law and announcing a plan to help those seeing their current health plans canceled because of it.

Obama, trying to limit the political damage to his presidency and fellow Democrats, said health insurers could extend by at least one year policies due to be canceled because they do not comply with new minimum requirements under the law.

With insurers complaining the fix could create new problems and lead to higher premiums, it was not clear whether Obama’s plan would actually work, or soothe his party’s concerns that the botched rollout has undercut Democrats facing tough re-election fights in 2014.

A chastened Obama said he had “fumbled” the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, his biggest domestic policy achievement, and said he would have to work to regain his credibility and the public’s trust.

Also from Reuters: Obama to meet with insurers Friday on Obamacare fix.

The meeting comes a day after the president, under fire for the botched rollout of his top domestic policy achievement, announced he would allow individuals to keep insurance policies that were being canceled under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare….

Insurers and state regulators say that Obama’s fix for policies canceled under the law will create new problems for the industry and could lead to an increase in premiums.

The change, which Obama announced under growing pressure from lawmakers from his Democratic Party, would allow policies that do not meet Obamacare’s standards to be renewed anyway.


From WaPo’s The Fix: ‘Keep Your Health Plan Act’ spells trouble for dozens of Democrats.

Intense focus on the early troubles of the Affordable Care Act already makes this a no good, very bad week for congressional Democrats, who are torn between supporting the signature domestic achievement of the Obama administration, but eager to be seen doing something to address significant concerns with the law….

At issue is the “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” a proposal by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) that supporters believe would fulfill President Obama’s now-broken promise to let people keep their current health insurance plan if they like it.

Under the Upton proposal, anyone opting to keep their current plan wouldn’t face financial penalties established by the law. And the measure would allow insurers to sell their minimal plans to new customers. The bill is expected to pass easily in the GOP-controlled House.

Most Democrats believe that the Upton bill would fundamentally gut the ACA by allowing plans not compliant with the new law to continue. They believe that the administrative fixes announced by Obama Thursday will work, or are supporting a proposal by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) that would let people keep their current health-care plans for the next year and require insurers to provide information on new plans that meet the law’s stricter requirements.

Chris Cillizza, also at The Fix, doesn’t think any of this is going to help Republicans much in 2014; Todd Purdum at Politico spanks Obama unmercifully, but at the end of his lengthy piece admits:

It is true that public support for many of the law’s crucial components — a ban on lifetime limits on health coverage; an end to discrimination based on pre-existing conditions; extended coverage for dependent children; improvements to Medicare — have always exceeded support for the law itself. White House officials take pains to note that those provisions are now beginning to take effect — on time, as planned.

Most state-run insurance exchanges are working far better than the federal website — which the administration was forced to make as big as it is only because some three dozen states with recalcitrant Republican governors declined to create their own exchanges as envisioned. And lest anyone forget, the old health insurance system was not so hot.


Of course Chuck Todd is thrilled, and he went on Morning Joe this morning to dance on Obama’s grave. From Mediaite:

NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd told the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday that the problematic roll-out of the Affordable Care Act represents an all-time political low for President Barack Obama. He said that the president’s press conference on Thursday was aimed more at Democrats in an attempt to keep them from abandoning him or his signature achievement.

“It seemed like he was trying to offer his party – the Democratic Party – and, basically, all the panicked Democrats on Capitol Hill a pound of flesh so that they don’t vote for these other bills,” Todd said of the bills circulating in the House and Senate that would allow those who have lost their health plans to keep them indefinitely….

“I talked to one of the old guard in Obama-land who said they’ve never seen that in private from him,” Todd added. “This is a moment that he hasn’t experienced in national politics before, is the impression that I was being given.”

“This clearly is the low of his presidency politically right now,” the NBC News reporter continues. “We obviously see it in the polls, but just the way he feels, his ability to lead the party, or, frankly, hope that the party doesn’t abandon him right now in this moment.”

You can just imagine how happy Karl Rove and The Wall Street Journal are about the Obamacare troubles.

I’ll spare you excerpts from those columns and refer you to Jonthan Chait: Conservatives Confident America Rejecting Obamacare, Ready for Every-Man-for-Himself Care.

The keep-your-plan fiasco, in addition to flummoxing Democrats, has not only held out to Republicans the tantalizing prospect that they can discredit and defeat Obamacare, but also drawn into sympathetic focus their own alternative vision.

Here is the basic ideological division. Obama wants the health-care system to do more to pool risk — which is to say, to shift the burden of covering the sick onto the healthy. Republicans want it to do less to pool risk, so that healthy people can be free of the burden of subsidizing the costs of those less medically fortunate.

The small portion of the populace that lies outside of either employer-based or direct government coverage provides the closest existing model for the health-care system conservatives favor. The minority within this market who have insurance, and are losing their plans as a result of regulations preventing insurers from excluding the sick, have dominated public attention and formed what conservatives imagine will be a constituency for their own brand of counter-reform: a deregulated market where healthy people can buy cheap, bare-bones plans, and sicker people have to pay large out-of-pocket costs. Obamacare’s torturous birth pangs have convinced giddy conservatives that they are on the cusp of a great ideological victory.

Read the rest at the New York Magazine link above.


I’ll wrap up this section of my post with the most surreal Obamacare story I could find: Michele Bachmann: I lost my insurance:

Rep. Michele Bachmann says she is one of the people who lost their health insurance because of Obamacare and she won’t go shopping on a health exchange until it’s fixed.

“Are you kidding? I’m not going to waste an hour on that thing,” the Minnesota Republican said when Wolf Blitzer asked her on CNN on Thursday if she’d signed up on the exchange website. “I lost my health insurance under Obamacare. And so now I’m forced to go into the D.C. health exchange. I’m waiting until they fix this thing. I’m not going to sit there and frustrate myself for hours and hours.”

Don’t members of House have their own insurance plan? Did the rest of the House get their plans cancelled too?

Bachmann did not explain what about Obamacare caused her to lose her health insurance. The health law technically requires congressional staff go on the D.C. exchange, but it’s up to the individual congressional office to determine who qualifies as “official office” staff, so many Republicans have placed their aides on the exchange while Democrats have been split.

At the Daily Banter, Bob Cesca explains to Bachmann how to sign up for health insurance at the DC exchange, which is running quite smoothly, thank you very much.

I’ve run on way too long about the Obamacare story, but I haven’t been paying close attention to it and I needed to bring myself up to speed. I hope I didn’t bore the rest of you!


Now let’s look at someone who really has a health care problem. Gawker reports on a woman with stage 4 breast cancer and the vile treatment she has been getting from her daughter’s school because of it (emphasis added).

An Albuquerque mother says her daughter’s elementary school principal banned her from school grounds for the way she smells. Kerri Mascareno was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in August, and while she’s undergoing chemotherapy to shrink her tumor, she’s also struggling with the administration at Tierra Antigua Elementary.

According to Mascareno, the school’s principal, Robert Abney, told her last week that she could no longer visit the school:

“He just said he knows this is going to hurt my feelings and he understands where I’m coming from because his mother had breast cancer and she had the same exact smell and I can no longer be in the school and that with me being in the school that I made his employees ill,” she said.

She claims that when she moved outside, the principal went to his window and told her to move farther away. “He just said that he would have to ask me to sit in my car because he could smell me through the window,” Mascareno said.

Calling Dr. Freud! Robert Abney needs psychological treatment STAT! Men with Oedipal complexes should not be in charge of running schools. I hope Kerri Mascareno sues and gets a million-dollar payday so she can leave the money to her children.

Yesterday I wrote about two Secret Service agents who have been removed from President Obama’s security detail. Today the WaPo reports that there have been complaints about misconduct by Secret Service agents in 17 countries!

Secret Service agents and managers have engaged in sexual misconduct and other improprieties across a span of 17 countries in recent years, according to accounts given by whistleblowers to the Senate committee that oversees the department.

Sen. Ronald H. Johnson (Wis.), ranking Republican on a Homeland Security subcommittee, said Thursday that the accounts directly contradict repeated assertions by Secret Service leaders that the elite agency does not foster or tolerate sexually improper behavior.

And get this:

Johnson said that one of those disciplined supervisors, Ignacio Zamora Jr., had helped lead the internal investigation into the April 2012 incident in Cartagena, where more than a dozen agents engaged in a night of heavy drinking and carousing with prostitutes ahead of a presidential visit.

One person involved in security in Cartagena said Zamora was chosen for the review because he served as the “second supervisor” on the trip, and was among the managers responsible for the security effort in advance of Obama’s arrival for an international summit.

Zamora is the agent who was disciplined for trying to break into a woman’s hotel room to retrieve a bullet he had left there.

Finally, once again I want to call your attention to a McClatchy article that RalphB linked to yesterday: Questions about ‘60 Minutes’ Benghazi story go beyond Dylan Davies interview; CBS conducting ‘journalistic review’. It’s long, but it is a must read. The writer, Nancy A. Youseff, goes through Lara Logan’s “60 Minutes” report line by line and finds numerous outright lies and distortions. Logan and anyone else involved with the story should be fired immediately and Logan should apply for a job at Fox News.

So . . . what are you reading and blogging about today? Please share your links on any topic in the comment thread.

61 Comments on “Friday Reads: The Word for Today is “Surreality””

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Do any of these people actually know what they are angry about?

    The GOP is “angry” the system does not work yet they have been braying the loudest about getting rid of it. Hypocrites.

    The public is “angry” they are being forced off their current policies which has shown their insurers in some cases are taking 50% out of their premiums and those policies cover very little should you be forced to use them. Stupid.

    The president is “angry” because no one prepared him for the fact that the online system was not up to speed before the roll out even though they had several years to build and test it.

    The 20 Somethings are “angry” because they are being forced to buy insurance because they feel confident they don’t “need” it. Oh the youth of today!

    Michele Bachman is “angry” because she was thrown off her policy yet I always understood that congress and their families was fully covered unlike the rest of us. Liar, liar, pants on fire.

    Everyone is “angry” but this same ACA is being enacted here in MA and it works! Almost 99% of MA citizens are covered which has indeed lowered, or at least held off the high rising costs of healthcare in this state. Romneycare = Obamacare = ACA.

    We should be enjoying UHC but instead the tug of war between a reluctant congress, special interests, and powerful lobbyists have hobbled the one thing the nation cries out for.

    I’m equally “angry” that it does not.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m angry that someone–anyone–in the power structure won’t speak up for the millions of Americans who need health care.

      • RalphB says:

        And a lot of them are getting it, for the first time, with Obamacare!

        • Pat Johnson says:

          But how about those states with Repub governors who refused to take the federal monies?

          These people are heartless and without conscience.

          The glitches will be sorted out in due time but some of those in these states will not even benefit from this act while these fools are in charge.

          Obama had no idea of what he was up against on the day he was sworn in. He was just not up to what this job required in dealing with these crazies.

          Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, John Boehnert, etc., can all go to hell as far as I am concerned. The nation deserves better leadership than this.

          Denying healthcare access to people is sinful and bordering on a criminal act.

          • RalphB says:

            Poor people in states like mine need to vote out their Republican governments. That’s all there is to it. If they were to vote, they can’t be beaten.

          • bostonboomer says:


          • Beata says:

            A lot of poor people I know watch Fox News and believe what they hear there. They are not getting accurate information to make decisions about voting in their best interests. So they vote for someone like Mike Pence! They and their loved ones suffer as a result. I am not going to call such voters “stupid”; what they are is misinformed, not stupid. The Democratic Party needs to communicate better to voters to counteract the Fox News lying machine.

          • dakinikat says:

            Our governor is the poster boy for that and his approval ratings our lower than Obama’s and in the mid 30s. He couldn’t be elected for dog catcher here. One of the most interesting congressional runs here is between a candidate for republican nomination backed by Jindal and one backed by the Duck Dynasty guys. (Commercials and all) The funny thing is the big difference is “obamacare”. The Duck Dynasty guy wants to take the medicaid expansion. And this is Monroe which is the KKK side of the state close to Jackson MS. We’re talking Southern redneck territory extraordinaire


            It’s a good bellweather race for how dumb can they get redneck republicans who vote against their economic interest just because …

        • Beata says:

          That is what I want to hear, Ralph. I have health insurance now ( I got it before the ACA ), but for most of my life I was uninsured, even after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Being sick and uninsured is a hell I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I never want anyone to go through what I did when I was uninsured.

          • RalphB says:

            Amen to that! Glad you’re insured now.

          • dakinikat says:

            I am the posterchild case right now for this issue. I lost my health insurance because it didn’t comply with ObamaCare and it’s rotten rotten insurance, believe me. Now, i just got told we’ll be subsidized for a compliant policy if we want it rather than go to the exchanges. Took them a few months to decide to do the right thing, but they are doing it and I’ll will probably now qualify for the subsidies. I’m adjunct and no longer full time. I’m sure I’ll be better off. Just have to go through the irritation of shopping for new health care.

      • Fannie says:

        I am angry too………..where is our voices? I am listening to Dems in the hearing today, and they are sticking up for Obamacare, but I want “we the people” who voted for this plan, and gave the green light to on. It wasn’t what I wanted from the beginning, before Obama was elected, but it was a go for those who need coverage. You know my health problems, my husband has end stage renal disease, and we just lost our home to Wells Fargo. We are a stage in our lives, where we are hanging on by threads, and I want to see young families succeed and have a better life, and access to health care, and that includes my family.

        • Beata says:

          Exactly, Fannie. Thank you for writing about your own situation. I know it’s not easy for you. I write about my situation not because I enjoy discussing it ( I don’t; it’s very painful to put into words ) but because voices like ours are not being heard. I’m not going to get well but I want people who do have a chance for a good life to have access to health care! That is so important to me.

    • RalphB says:

      Too many people don’t seem to understand the concept of risk pooling which is insurance. The media has caused most of this panic by only playing up stories like that silly Gottlieb woman in the NYT and ignoring the 100,000s of people getting coverage.

      There will never be a shortage of greedy, ignorant people to complain but giving every one you can find a journalistic megaphone, without fact checking them, is malpractice. I despise the media!

    • joanelle says:

      For heavens sake, anyone who’s ever worked in an organization that deals with computers (systems) knows there is never a seamless (trouble free) roll out. Why didn’t they do a large scale pilot first? Did they never hear of system ‘ bugs’?
      There are so many possibilities ( not even including ‘industrial sabotage’) -good grief!

  2. Beata says:

    Thanks for the great post, BB. I am totally confused about what is going on with the ACA. Aren’t a lot of people already being helped by it? Aren’t most of the problems ones that can be fixed without a massive overhaul of the program? Please explain it clearly, somebody. I have brain fog problems ( some days worse than others ).

    The story about the woman who is being treated for breast cancer and is being denied access to her daughter’s school is horrific. I’d like to say I’m surprised by how she’s being treated by the school but I’m not. Lack of empathy for sick people in this country is widespread. To be seriously sick and also treated like shit is commonplace.

    Michele Bachmann’s story makes no sense. So what’s new? LOL.

    • RalphB says:

      I hope I’m right about this but what’s wrong with Obamacare largely seems to be a balky website, which is being fixed and is better than before now according to commenters at balloon-juice who have been using it. In some states with Republican governments, some extra roadblocks are being used against people helping others to sign up etc.

      Seems to me that what is required is some patience on the part of the people and it would work out fine. If the politicians in DC don’t panic and tear it to pieces first?

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Romney Care got a slow start here in MA as well. But it eventually became a success.

        Having worked for years in a hospital I knew all too well how the Emergency Room was used as a doctor’s visit which drove up annual costs for treatment.

      • Beata says:

        Yes, lack of patience seems to be a major problem. Are these people “make it happen for me now” types? WTF is wrong with them? When I was first diagnosed with a brain tumor by a GP, I didn’t have health insurance ( because I had quit my job to take take of my mother 24/7 ) and I had to wait six weeks to see a neurosurgeon as a “charity case”. The GP couldn’t tell me much except that my MRI showed a brain tumor. I was terrified waiting all that time not knowing what my prognosis was ( inoperable as it turned out ) but I waited patiently, nevertheless. I know Medicaid patients who wait months to see a specialist if they can even find one who will take Medicaid. And these Gottlieb types throw public hissy fits about their situations? Cry me a river.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s completely confusing. I really don’t get why Democrats haven’t been informing their constituents about the real facts on the health care law instead of letting Republicans control the entire narrative.

      • RalphB says:

        They’re either totally lazy, scared to refute the Republicans, or don’t understand it themselves. I think a lot of them are ignorant of facts on both sides of the aisle, Republicans do memorize talking points though and Democrats don’t, for some reason,

  3. RalphB says:

    Here’s a view on Obamacare’s future that’s worth reading.

    tpm: Skocpol on the White House ‘Fix’

    TPM Reader T(heda) S(kocpol) on the President’s ‘fix’ and the big picture on the bumpy roll out

  4. RalphB says:

    We should be able to gauge the size of the House Chickenshit Caucus this afternoon.

    Dems Scramble To Minimize Defections On GOP’s Obamacare Bill

  5. RalphB says:

    We’re talking large companies scamming here and Obanacare’s rollout issues have nothing to do with it. More uninsured people who think they have coverage.

    Companies Use Obamacare Confusion To Sell ‘Junk Insurance’

    Georgene Mortimer, who runs a winery and lives in Hilton Head, S.C., was recently having trouble accessing the online health insurance exchange. So she decided to check in with the local insurance agent who in 2010 had sold her an individual health insurance policy from a company named USHealth Group. It didn’t take long for Mortimer to realize something was off.

    “She started to basically tell me how bad the exchanges are, and that the exchanges are only for the very sick people,” Mortimer told TPM in an interview last week. “And she said, ‘Have you had cancer, heart attack, you or your husband?’ And I said no. And she said, ‘Good, because if you said yes, I would have had to recommend the exchanges.'”

    The agent then proceeded to offer Mortimer a product that she touted as not meeting the minimum coverage requirements set by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The agent strongly recommended that Mortimer sign up before Jan. 1, and said that she could lock her premiums in for three years.

  6. Fannie says:

    I’m angry because shithead, Thomas Roberts calls this Obama’s “Monica Lewinsky Moment”………….wtf.

    • dakinikat says:

      One pundit compared it to how Bush was during Katrina. yeah. like looking at a few thousand dead people and a human disaster from a helicopter is like trying to get millions of people cheap adequate healthcare

      • RalphB says:

        I’ve been noting the similarities between these two events. Just outside my window, the bodies of people who haven’t been able to access a website are stacking up in the streets. The lucky who have survived are huddled together in their own filth in hot, overcrowded stinking shelters, waiting to log in.

        And well I remember how Democrats worked for years to gut FEMA. Every Democratic governor pushed all disaster preparedness up to the federal government to make FEMA’s job as hard as it could possibly be, and the forty separate votes by the Democratic Congress to defund FEMA are still etched in my mind.

        • dakinikat says:

          yup … and don’t forget Snowflake Snookie sez “Slavery!!!” and then there’s the one’s that compare it to Hitler and the Holocaust!! What is wrong with this people?

          • RalphB says:

            Obama’s Katrina is old hat, Here’s an example…

            “It’s getting baked in a little bit in the media that BP was President Obama’s Katrina.” [NBC News, Brian Williams, 8/29/10]

    • Beata says:

      When I read or watch the news, only once in a very blue moon do I see a journalist who is actually in touch with the real world. The rest seem to be Friends-of-Lori-Gottlieb types. Pampered, privileged, whining morons born to money who need to go back to the Hamptons or L.A. ( North of Montana Ave. only please ) and just STFU. I am so tired of them.

  7. RalphB says:

    Charles P Pierce: Abandoning Self-Government

    It has become remarkable how the people of this country, an ostensibly self-governing republic, fail to get what an overwhelming percentage of them say they want from their government, over and over again. You can argue, and I have, about the power of money, increased by an order of magnitude through the egregious Citizens United decision. You can argue, and I have, about the unforgivable vandalism practiced by the Republican party and the modern conservative movement that has been the prion disease in the party’s higher functions that has driven it mad. But the fact remains that, dammit, there has to be a political price to pay for actively opposing something 66 percent — or, in the case of the background checks, 91 percent — of the people say they want. And the electorate is the only body of citizens empowered to exact these penalties, and it has been shamefully lax in doing so. Parts of the country have contented themselves with electing morons and crazy people. (How in the name of god does a buffoon like Louie Gohmert ever run unopposed?) Great portions of the country can be duped, or frightened, into voting against their own economic interests. And the great undifferentiated apathy that attends most of our elections is a deadweight on the democratic process that grows heavier by the year. If our politicians are not responsive to our needs, then it’s time for new politicians, and we’re the only ones who can bring that about. And yet, it’s easier to complain about an inconvenient website, or a scary letter from an insurance company, or bullshit anecdotes that fall apart under the barest scrutiny. The country is ungovernable because we, The People, have decided not to govern it any more. That, to borrow a phrase from the president, is on us.

    America, Fk yeah!

  8. dakinikat says:

    Robert Reich
    “Walmart just reported shrinking sales for a third straight quarter. The reason is simple: Most of its customers are still in the Great Recession, grappling with stagnant or declining pay. And who are its customers? Many are lower-wage workers who work at places like … Walmart, which, not incidentally, refuses to raise its average wage (including its army of part-timers) of $8.80 an hour. Because Walmart is the largest employer in America, it’s the trendsetter for millions of other employers of low-wage workers. If Walmart raised its wages, others would, too. And that would help boost the entire economy, including Walmart’s own sales (as would a substantial hike in the minimum wage).

    Walmart could learn a thing or two from Henry Ford, who almost exactly a century ago decided to pay his workers three times the typical factory wage at the time. The Wall Street Journal called Ford a traitor to his class but he proved to be a cunning businessman. His decision helped boost factory wages across the board — enabling so many working people to buy Model Ts that Ford’s revenues soared far ahead of his increased payrolls, and he made a fortune. So why can’t Walmart learn from Ford? Because Walmart’s business model is static, depending on cheap labor rather than increased sales, and it doesn’t account for Walmart’s impact on the rest of the economy. You can help teach Walmart how much power its consumers have: Stand with its workers who deserve a raise, and boycott Walmart on the most important sales day of the year, November 29.”

  9. bostonboomer says:

    The House bill to gut Obamacare and let people have their crappy policies has passed the House.

    The House voted 261-157 on Friday to pass a bill aimed squarely at President Barack Obama’s promise that Americans can keep their health insurance plans under Obamacare.

    The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), will allow insurance companies to keep selling health care plans that were active as of January 2013 into next year, even if they don’t comply with new guidelines under Obamacare.

    The White House has threatened a veto.

    For more information…

    • RalphB says:

      The Dem Chickenshit Caucus was pretty big. Asshats!

    • RalphB says:

      Those brave Dems voted to allow people to get kicked off their health plans for pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps for kids with cancer. 39 of them, quite a few from blue districts in blue states like NY and CA, WTF is up with that? Chickenshits!

  10. RalphB says:

    An Obamacare “Loser” Speaks Out … About Not Being an Entitled Douche

    Now we hear from ACA “loser” TPM Reader BW …

    Since it’s been estimated that about 3% of the US population will end up “losers” under Obamacare, I thought I’d write in and give you my perspective as a 3-percenter. However, I suspect that I belong to a smaller subset of the 3%, that being people who find it appallingly self-indulgent and shamefully self-pitying to think of ourselves as losers.

    Having insurance, even crappy insurance, in the individual market means we are almost by definition, healthy and relatively young. If we were not, we wouldn’t be able to get coverage of any kind in the non-group market. If our ACA-compliant replacement policy costs us more, it’s likely because we’re too affluent to qualify for subsidies.

    It takes a remarkable degree of self-absorption and sense of self-entitlement to be healthy, young(ish) and affluent—and yet consider oneself a “loser.”

    It just gets better from there. Now this is a person worthy of respect and not a little admiration.

  11. NW Luna says:

    My state’s Insurance Commish does the right thing:

    Mike Kreidler, Washington state’s insurance commissioner, is a good Democrat. He’s supported President Obama and the president’s signature federal health-care law, the Affordable Care Act, every step of the way. But the two Democrats parted company Thursday. The day began with a surprise announcement by Obama, under increasing political pressure from both Republicans and Democrats, that he was changing the law’s rules to allow insurers to keep discontinued insurance plans.

    As local insurers scrambled to react, Kreidler whipsawed them once again with a counter-announcement that Washington — this Washington, the one where the law’s rollout was going quite smoothly, thank you — would not go along.

    “In the interest of keeping the consumer protections we have enacted and ensuring that we keep health insurance costs down for all consumers, we are staying the course,” Kreidler said. “We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies.”

    Obama’s proposal, he said, is not a good deal for the state of Washington.

    His aim, Kreidler elaborated in an interview later in the day, was to come out “early and strong and make it real clear” what Washington would do, to calm confusion and even panic on the part of insurers or residents.

    Too bad Obama couldn’t have stayed strong and on message.

  12. RalphB says:

    This is interesting and could be helpful to a lot of people.

    The Health Sherpa

    I want to be clear not to endorse this. And it’s definitely not a replacement for But a few guys out in San Francisco have put together something called, which really quickly tells you what policies are available in your area, what subsidies you are entitled to based on your income and who to call or what site to go to buy the actual coverage. From what I can tell it seems to be the work not of a commercial entity or even an organization, but just some very public-spirited programmers.

  13. List of X says:

    I really hope Michele Bachmann isn’t lying about losing health insurance. It might do her good to experience what millions of people have to deal with.