Why pull the pin on a hand grenade when there’s a pile of dynamite, a fuse and some matches within reach?
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 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.
(updated a math error)
Sen. Ted Cruz has been speaking on the Senate floor for almost 19 hours, as of this post. The talk is not technically a filibuster — he can’t actually block the Senate from going about its business — but symbolically, it’s more or less the same thing. The point is to show one’s opposition to something through a demonstration of physical will.
Which is why you can forgive conservatives for being upset with the mainstream media’s coverage of the Cruz affair. When a Democrat like Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis filibusters against abortion restrictions, she is elevated to hero status, her tennis shoes become totems. When Cruz grandstands against Obamacare, he is a laughingstock in the eyes of many journalists on Twitter, an “embarrassment” in the eyes of The New York Times editorial board.
“Gee I wonder why NYT and WaPo and everyone else gave ecstatic coverage to Wendy Davis but not to Ted Cruz. I just can’t make sense of it!” John Podhoretz, the conservative columnist, tweeted on Wednesday morning.
The conservatives yell “BOO,” and the media flinches. No discussion of the differing circumstances. No discussion that Davis was trying to stop a law being passed under shady circumstances while Cruz is trying to backdoor invalidate a law passed by both houses, signed by the President, and deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court. Nope, none of that. Fuck you Dylan Byers.
Take it away, Mr. Pierce.
The Donut Hole in Medicare Part D (the prescription drug benefit) is slowly going away. Medicare Part D has four tiers of coverage.
- Deductible phase where Medicare pays 0% (2013 $325)
- Basic coverage where Medicare pays 75% ($325.01 to $2,970)
- Donut hole where Medicare pays 2.5% ( $2,970.01 to $4,700) (Medicare has negotiated large discounts with providers)
- Catastrophic coverage where Medicare pays 95% of costs ($4700.01 to infinity and beyond)
There is a reasonable non-spite rationale for this benefit design. I don’t think the rationale works well as it was implemented as the donut hole was too high to discourage drug use that could be safely discouraged.
Jon Chait at NYMag finds McArgleBargle’s argument indefensible, because “Subsidizing Farmers But Not the Poor Still Evil“:
House Republicans are fighting to impose a $40 billion cut to the food-stamp program while also fighting to lock farm subsidies in place at a higher level than Democrats want. The combination of positions strikes me as indefensible. After all, farmers earn more than the average American, and there’s no rationale for handing government money to somebody just because they own a farm as opposed to a convenience store or a hot-dog stand.
Megan McArdle stands up to say the Republican position is perfectly defensible. McArdle doesn’t like farm subsidies but is even more outraged at disparagement of Republican fiscal priorities, urging, “It seems worth trying to answer the question, rather than merely marinating in our own moral and logical superiority.” The Republicans have a perfectly defensible basis for cutting benefits for poor people but giving them to farmers, she explains — reciprocity:
Here’s one reason Republicans might support farm subsidies, but not food stamps: the sense that you have to do something to get them… They’re not being given money just for breathing.
Actually, that’s not true. The Department of Agriculture does hand out money to people to do nothing. So, yes, they are being given money just for breathing. In fact, breathing is optional — millions of dollars in farm subsidies go to farmers who are dead. This underscores the fact that farm subsidies are a reward for people who own farmland, which they may well have inherited….
Bill “Always Wrong” Kristol better look to his laurels, because McMegan shows real determination to assume his Wingnut Wurlitzer crown for insistent plausibility at a 180-degree angle from the truth.
Because I grew up with four younger brothers, I knew this was gonna happen. Via NYMag, Andrew Couts at Digital Trends tests out his iPhone 5S’s touch recognition system:
… Lastly, I went with the most secure body part I could think of – and all I will say is that I had to take off my pants. Unlike the knuckle and elbow, however, registering my nether region was a breeze. (It was quite chilly, in fact.) And not only did I successfully register this private part with relative ease, I was also able to use it to unlock the device. I think you can understand why there isn’t a video of this one.
Of course, using your junk to secure your iPhone isn’t just gross and absurd, it’s also impractical – you won’t be able to unlock your handset in public without drawing some unwanted attention, for example. But given that you leave your fingerprints everywhere, and that hackers have already broken through Touch ID’s defenses using a photocopy of a fingerprint and some wood glue, your manhood may be the most secure option you have.
Now, excuse me. I have to go buy some Purell.
Apart from finding the brain bleach, what’s on the agenda for the evening?