I’m being oppressed and made better off

Conservatives are having fun with stories like the following:

Ian Hodge, 62, is one of nearly 13,000 central and eastern Pennsylvanians who will soon need to shop for health insurance because Highmark Inc. is discontinuing their coverage at the end of the year.

Highmark has announced it is withdrawing five of its insurance plans that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act, key parts of which take effect Jan. 1.

The hash-tag #TCOT is flinging poop under the quip “Obama lied, my health plan died”.
Let’s look at the details as to why Highmark is cancelling these plans:

The new regulations, for instance, prohibit insurers from denying coverage to applicants who have pre-existing health problems….

Highmark’s Classic Blue is a guaranteed-issue plan, meaning the Hodges and other customers were not required to inform Highmark of their health status to get coverage. But applicants couldn’t count on coverage for any pre-existing condition for their first 12 months under the plan….

Under the Affordable Care Act, beginning Jan. 1, all insurers must issue policies regardless of an applicant’s health history.

The guaranteed issue policies were Pennsylvania’s “solution” to some people with pre-exisiting conditions who fell through the cracks.  The individual insurance market in Pennsylvania is segregated (until Jan. 1, 2014) into two broad groups.  The first is medically underwritten individual insurance.  The risk pool for medically underwritten insurance is younger and healthier than typical.  The second group is the guaranteed issue group which has older and sicker individuals in it.  Jan. 1, 2014 changes this paradigm as all health insurance written on or after that date will be community rated so this distinction no longer serves any purpose.
Mr. Hodge from the article was paying $1041.85 per month for him and his wife for Highmark Classic Comprehensive Blue.
I only could easily find the 2012 product sheet for this plan.  It looks like the 2012 version at that rate for a married couple would have an in-network deductible of $3,000 with co-insurance above that at 80% on the next $30,000 for total family potential out of pocket of $9,000.  After $30,000 in medical expenses, the plan covers everything after that.  Pre-exisiting conditions are not covered for the first year.
That coverage is not too good.  It is inadequate and unaffordable coverage under Obamacare regulations.  Under Obamacare, the policy above is Catastrophic at best.
Looking back to yesterday’s data dump from HHS, the lowest Gold plan in Pennsylvania for a 27 year old is $205 per month.  Given that rates can not vary by age by more than a factor of 3, that Gold plan for Mr. and Mrs. Hodges can not be more than $615 per month per person.  Buying as a family will probably reduce that rate to be equal to what they are paying now.  This calculation does not include any tax subsidy.  Gold would be a massive improvement in coverage over what they have now.
Using the Kaiser Family Foundation Zip code specific calculator, Silver plans are available to a family of 2 in a random Lancaster County zip code for $5,070 under the typical case scenario,  total costs for the family of two without tax credits would be no more than $10040 before subsidy.  That is significantly less than the $13,000 in premiums the Hodges are currently paying.  Throw in the fact that the value of coverage has increased dramatically, the Hodges will be significantly better off.
Stop the oppression by improving the material condition of people….

 (updated a math error)

Open Thread: Twitchy Woman

Sparked by the crowdsourced fear-mongering over the Marathon bombers, SEK at Lawyers, Guns & Money shines a light on Michelle Malkin’s twitter-site, which yes is really named “Twitchy”:

Despite all Malkin’s proud declarations about the importance of citizen journalists, in the end she’d rather hide, like the coward she is, beyond an anonymous byline because she knows “mistakes were and will be made.” How does she know? Because that’s the point of the entire site. She’s free to publish anything she’d like without having to worry about annoying things like “consequences,” because not only is she not directly responsible for what she’s published, she’s merely aggregating what other people have written on Twitter. It’s a perpetual bullshit machine powered by anonymity. She can take credit for its “findings” when some infernal occlusion causes it to belch out something accurate, but for the most part she denies via “UPDATE” the endless stream of bullshit it was designed to produce.

This is a more sophisticated version of the long-standing tradition among conservative bloggers of denying-without-denouncing the sexism and racism and homophobia and xenophobia of their readers. The bloggers are merely exercising their right to speak freely about their conservative values and extending their readers the same opportunity. When those readers inevitably reveal themselves to be within earshot of the whistle, these same bloggers claim to have no idea where all these dogs came from. The problem with this approach is that eventually the stench of urine sticks to bloggers who quietly encourage their readers to lift their leg on the America dream. So Malkin created a forum where figuring out where that smell’s coming from is as difficult as distinguishing one yellow stain from another — we certainly can’t blame her for the mess or the miasma.

But I think we can. I think we should force Malkin to take responsibility for the state of her house. She wants to shift the blame to her roommates or their friends but her name is on the deed

Wingnuts’ Failed Attempt to Blame Obama Administration for the Waldo Canyon Fires in Colorado

The wingnuts are trying their damnedest to blame President Obama for the fires in Colorado when, in the reality-based world, their own small government free market Ayn Randian policies are to blame.

In other words, shut up, Michelle Malkin.


“Sí Se Puede” On POTUS’s DREAM Deferral

So yes, it turns out that President Obama can do something about deportation, the DREAM act, and undocumented students.

President Obama will announce a new immigration policy this morning that will allow some undocumented students to avoid deportation and receive work authorization.

Under the president’s “deferred action” executive order, students in the U.S. who are already in deportation proceedings or those who qualify for the DREAM Act and have yet to come forward to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials, will not be deported and will be allowed to work in the United States.

An estimated 1 million young people could benefit from the deferral. To be eligible, applicants have to be between 15 and 30 years old, live in the U.S. for five years, and maintain continuous U.S. residency. People who have one felony, one serious misdemeanor, or three minor misdemeanors will be ineligible to apply. “Deferred action” will last for two years and can be renewed.

Obama is expected to speak about this new policy later today.

The Associated Press is already using terms like “immunity” and “amnesty”.  Republicans are expected to explode in 5…4…3…

[UPDATE Yep, Malkin and Co. throwing a fit according to Memeorandum.  And yes, the downside of executive branch action?  This program dies screaming the instant Mitt Romney should take office.  Might want to keep this in mind.

[UPDATE 2]  More on the announcement from MSNBC:

The Department of Homeland Security said that, effective immediately, the government would no longer seek the deportation of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, and would allow them to apply for work permits if they meet certain criteria.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a statement Friday.

A senior administration official said in a conference call with reporters that as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants stand to benefit from this change. Napolitano said that the shift represented neither immunity nor amnesty — buzzwords for conservatives who oppose illegal immigration — but instead represented an instance of “prosecutorial discretion” in which the government had re-evaluated its priorities in enforcing the law.

Echoing the comments of several in this thread, “Your move, Mittens”.

Bilal Hussein, Graeme Frost, Rachel Ray, Michael Schiavo and Hundreds of Others Called

And they said to stfu:


The nerve of these people.

BTW- our only comment on the whole story was from DougJ: “I would still caution against assuming that this was anti-government right-wing violence unless and until more details emerge.”

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize


So not kidding.



This seems like a good time to add a new tag but an old phrase for the blog: malkinfreude. Also added to the lexicon. Killed the lexicon; see above.