Upton and more policy incoherence in the AHCA

The Upton Amendment is out. It is $8 billion dollars to pay for the late enrollment penalty of people in states who elect to waive non-underwritten guarantee issue so that these people don’t get dropped into the high cost risk pool.

The AHCA has a 30% penalty for up to one year if a person applies for coverage on the individual market after having a 63 day gap in qualified coverage. The theory is that this aligns the individual market with the employer sponsored market and it will act as a pool participation mechanism. The CBO disagreed as it projected the penalty would enhance the value of staying out of the market for the healthy far more than it would keep low cost people in the market.

This amendment makes the CBO position a highly probable underestimate. It does not change the incentive for the healthy to avoid the market until they have to get in. However, it weakens the incentive for the modestly sick to stay in if they have reason to believe that they are going to have a low cost year, they can drop coverage and then get back in at the next open enrollment.

The AHCA has thrown other key elements of conservative health policy goals overboard. The HSA life cycle model of savings in youth and health to self-fund expenses in age and infirmity was thrown overboard early in the process.

In the original version of the AHCA, the subsidies were set up so that they could be split. If a person found a policy that cost less than the subsidy, the remaining portion of the subsidy would be deposited into an HSA. This makes a decent amount of mechanical sense. The young and healthy people would buy dirt cheap policies and deposit a significant amount of the subsidy into an HSA. Over time, the HSA would grow until the cohort of people who were once young, healthy and cheap to cover are no longer young, no longer healthy and no longer cheap to cover. At that point, the savings they had accumulated in their HSA would be available to pay for either care or premiums…..

The Monday Manager’s amendment took away the ability of a subsidy to be split between a premium and the HSA…. The second is that it completely destroys the mechanical theory of change for an HSA system. People can’t use [the subsidy] to pay part of their first dollar expenses in the current year. And more importantly, the young can not partially prefund their health care expenses when they become old as they can’t rollover a partial subsidy into their HSA.

Upton makes a complete hash of any personal responsibility and anti-free rider logic ever advanced in the bill. This is a mess.








Make Sure to Save the Date!

Oy vey…

 



Putin’s Puppet and NFLG Harry Reid

Senator Harry Reid has just released a letter to FBI Director Comey that is utterly (and IMHO appropriately) brutal.

It contains two key elements.  The first is a direct assertion that Comey has engaged in partisan political action, and may (by implication, has) broken the law by violating the Hatch Act.

The second is this:

In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government – a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity. The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it. And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.

neuville_alphonse_de_-_the_spy_-_1880

Hillary Clinton’s aide’s husband sent dick picks from a computer that may or may not contain emails that may or may not add to our nation’s stock of risotto recipes.

Donald Trump, apparantly, has consequential entanglement with the former KGB thug-led Russian government and its klepto-thug circle of supporters.

We know hair-raising innuendo about the former.

About the latter, from the same institution?  Crickets.

Sauce for the goose damn well ought to be sauce for the gander.  And Comey’s a hack who needs to go at the earliest politick opportunity. (And yeah, that’s not a typo.  I like that old spelling.)

No BS here: if the FBI has pertinent information on Trump’s potential for conflict of interest due to his Russian encounters, we need to know this now.

Here is Reid’s letter in full:

Dear Director Comey:

Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another. I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election. Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.

The double standard established by your actions is clear.

In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government – a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity. The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it. And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.

By contrast, as soon as you came into possession of the slightest innuendo related to Secretary Clinton, you rushed to publicize it in the most negative light possible.

Moreover, in tarring Secretary Clinton with thin innuendo, you overruled longstanding tradition and the explicit guidance of your own Department. You rushed to take this step eleven days before a presidential election, despite the fact that for all you know, the information you possess could be entirely duplicative of the information you already examined which exonerated Secretary Clinton.

As you know, a memo authored by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates on March 10, 2016, makes clear that all Justice Department employees, including you, are subject to the Hatch Act. The memo defines the political activity prohibited under the Hatch Act as “activity directed towards the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”

The clear double-standard established by your actions strongly suggests that your highly selective approach to publicizing information, along with your timing, was intended for the success or failure of a partisan candidate or political group.

Please keep in mind that I have been a supporter of yours in the past. When Republicans filibustered your nomination and delayed your confirmation longer than any previous nominee to your position, I led the fight to get you confirmed because I believed you to be a principled public servant.

With the deepest regret, I now see that I was wrong.

Sincerely,

Senator Harry Reid

Image: Alphonse de Neuville, The Spy1880.



The taco trucks are coming! Open Thread

Journalism is being committed by Joy Reid over on MSNBC.

Joy Reid: Forgetting your friends, aside, it seems that over all Hispanics are rejecting Donald Trump in huge numbers. Can you refute that?

Marco Gutierrez (Latinos for Trump): Yes, because the polls are done in two blocs. You have the born citizens here, and then you have me, like I was born and raised in Mexico; my section it’s more against Donald Trump because of the relationship that they have with the unlawful immigrant, illegal or undocumented, however you want to call it. And, but you have the natural borns that are more in the 40 something percent.

Reid: That … actually, you have no, I mean you have to present some sort of name of a poll, because there’s actually no numbers or research to support what you just said – You just gave us a number out of whole cloth.

Reid: Are you not at all concerned that Donald Trump is so alienating people with his tone last night, that yelling into the prompter speech, and just his tone towards undocumented migrants, toward immigrants in this country that you are now facing a Barry Goldwater moment for your party?

Gutierrez: Yes, but you know Donald Trump is a genius at delivering a message and, yes it was a tough message to deliver, but he did it in a way that’s showing us we have a problem, and the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and different times different problems. Yes indeed there is a lot of people… my colleague [NY State Senator Adriano D. Espaillat] here wouldn’t be here, but we need to understand that this is a different time and we are having problems here.

Reid: What problems? What problems are you taking about?

Gutierrez: My culture is a very dominant culture and its imposing and its causing problems. If you don’t do something about it you are going to have taco trucks on every corner.

Reid: Wait a minute, wait a minute, I’m sorry, hold on for a second, I’m going to have to let Adriano in here, I don’t even know what that means and I’m almost afraid to ask.

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Trump Spokesmen Address Fake “Alter Ego” Controversy

New York, N.Y. — May 13, 2016 — A Washington Post story ignited a firestorm Thursday by alleging that presumptive GOP nominee Donald J. Trump impersonated Trump Enterprises public relations officials under false names to paint glowing portraits of himself for reporters. The Post story says that Trump himself called writers from various publications, including People magazine, to extol his own virtues while posing as at least two fictitious Trump Enterprises employees: John Barron and John Miller.

However, emails received by media outlets Friday from Barron and Miller establish that they are in fact actual persons and suggest that the Post story constitutes libel against Trump.

“Donald Trump is a tremendous guy who built a terrific company that employs thousands and thousands of people,” wrote John Barron, who said he is the PR specialist who spoke to the People reporter. “He’s a smart guy who is very rich and went to the very best schools, okay? He will win bigly in November, and then America will win so much you’ll get tired of winning.”

The email from John Barron was sent from a newly created Gmail account registered under the username “bighands1946,” which checks out as legitimate. Seconds after the Barron email was received, media outlets received an email from John Miller, the other publicity specialist mentioned in the Post story.

“Only a low-energy loser would say Donald Trump pretended to be someone else,” Miller said. “Trump is a tremendous person, a self-made man who took a small $1 million loan from his father and built it into a yooodge company. All three of his wives are beauty-full, so forget about it. And his daughter is so hot maybe he’d be banging her if he wasn’t her father, okay?”

The email from Miller emanated from a new Yahoo account registered to user “1946longfingers,” which appears to be a legitimate account.

The communications from Barron and Miller obviously put an end to the controversy The Washington Post article provoked, so responsible news organizations are advised to focus instead on Hillary Clinton’s impending indictment by the FBI and the Obama administration’s ongoing persecution of white people.