CBO Says Medicaid Expansion Will Not Significantly Improve Hospitals’ Bottom Lines

The National Review breaks down the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on assessing Medicaid expansion’s financial impact on hospitals:

The report provides several reasons why Medicaid expansion will not cure hospitals’ financial woes. Whereas CBO assumed that exchange plans would reimburse hospitals above their average costs, “Medicaid’s payment rates are below hospitals’ average costs.” Medicaid revenues will likely grow more slowly over time, as Medicaid payment rates cannot exceed Medicare levels — and Obamacare dramatically slowed those Medicare reimbursement levels. Moreover, CBO estimated “that the use of hospitals’ services among the newly insured will increase by about 40 percent as a result of having insurance.” If Medicaid pays hospitals less than their average costs, then inducing additional patient demand by expanding coverage could actually exacerbate hospitals’ shortfalls, not improve them. 

Read the full report here.

Suddenly the Left has to admit truth about violent crime rates — and harm their case against guns

A few weeks ago, I cited the dramatic fall in gun violence over the past 20 years that has coincided with the dramatic rise in gun ownership, and then asked:

The Democrats’ case against guns assumes — by which I mean loudly and truculently asserts — the exact opposite from these findings.

Why?

The answer seems to be because that was what was politically expedient then. It’s what the Left needed to be true because the politics of the moment then was for building a rhetorical case for restricting self-evident rights to gun ownership.

A reminder:

the Left puts politics above everything, and that necessarily includes objective truth. The Left champions politically expedient “truth” over fixed truth, regardless of whether today’s “truth” is directly counter to yesterday’s

And yes, what the Left need to be “true” can change that fast. To “not have a fixed truth” (Alinsky) or “abstract truth” (Lenin) not only means being a relativist for the sake of politics, it means enslaving everything to the service of politics. (This is the underlying reason why even the NFL, NBA, NCAA, ad nauseam are bizarrely peddling politics.)

Right now, however — late September in a presidential election year in a tight race — the “truth” about guns and crime that the Left has needed for months and years has to change. (Don’t worry, ye relativist rights restrictors, it will magically change back!) Why does it have to change?

Because the Republican candidate for president, during the presidential debate Sept. 26, said that murders were up. And the politics of the moment now is about defeating him, which requires rebutting him.

Which means acknowledging that crime has been falling since the 1990s and is at historic lows — facts that seriously cripple their anti-guns case. Read more

#HealthyAdulting Is The New Campaign To Get Young People To #GetCovered

One of the many reasons why the Obamacare exchanges are unsustainable is because not enough young and healthy adults are signing up for health insurance. Low risk policyholders are essential to spreading the risk around in an insurance carrier’s risk pool. In North Carolina, less than 30 percent of people   between the ages of 18-34 have enrolled in Obamacare plans offered in the non-group market.

So now the Obama Administration is pushing another social media campaign to get the invincible  holdouts to sign up. They want them to get on the #HealthyAdulting train. This morning’s Wall Street Journal also notes that the IRS will be making the rounds to the uninsured who opted out in prior years:

HHS said Tuesday that the Defense Department will include information about the ACA’s exchanges in a guide given to everyone transitioning out of military service.

The agency previously announced the Internal Revenue Service will for the first time reach out to uninsured people who paid a penalty for not having insurance or claimed they were exempt from the federal requirement that they obtain coverage. Many are young adults. 

I’m pretty confident that the millennial generation understands that having health insurance is important – it’s a risk averse tool that prevents financial ruin in the event of a rare or unforeseen medical catastrophe. But for those millennials who don’t have insurance through their jobs, the exchange plans aren’t affordable for many. Sliding-scale subsidies are distributed to those who qualify based on income, but they greatly tail off if your income exceeds $25,000 a year, making plans not that affordable for people in the early stages of their careers or working multiple jobs.

If the exchange structure modified to allow for insurance carriers to offer true catastrophic plans through healthcare.gov, it’s likely that there would be more of an uptick in #HealthyAdulting.

Guess who got Officer Cole off the streets….

Greensboro has been dealing with its own cop cam controversy this week. Quick catchup—-the Greensboro City Council made public footage of GPD officer Travis Cole engaging Gboro resident DeJuan Yourse on his mother’s front porch and escalating the situation until ultimately assaulting Yourse before arresting him.

At special meeting called to release the video to the public, the council also passed a resolution asking prosecutors to reconsider filing assault charges against Cole and requesting the state to revoke his law enforcement certification.

Now it has come to light that Cole was promoted while he was under internal investigation, a fact that did not sit well with some council members:

Councilman Justin Outling called the promotion “unfortunate timing.”

“The city is re-examining the best way to handle such issues going forward, given due process and other legalities,” he said.

The explanation was little comfort to people already skeptical of how the police department handled the matter.
By the time Cole’s raise kicked in on Aug. 1, three levels of commanders — an acting supervisor, a sergeant and a lieutenant — had reviewed the incident, presumably watching the same body-camera footage the City Council made public Monday.

Here’s what struck me at the bottom of the N&R’s article—none other than Deputy Chief James Hinson takes credit for getting Cole off the streets once his case worked its way through the investigative process.

You might not remember but then-Lt. Hinson was the focus of the GPD controversy several years ago. I won’t go into the details, but Hinson’s off-hours activities became the focus of a Rhino Times investigation by Jerry Bledsoe. Put it this way–it wasn’t pretty—drug dealers, strippers, etc.

Whether you believe what you read in the Rhino is one thing. But here’s one true thing—Hinson sued the city, eventually settling for $25,000.

Now Hinson is deputy chief and was reportedly in the running for chief after then-Chief Ken Miller departed for Greenville. Bottom line here—in the private sector, sue your employer and then consider your odds for promotion. All due respect to the officers who perform their jobs with courage and dignity, the police department is a government bureaucracy like any any other, where a lot of things just don’t make sense.

About those ‘fact checks’

If you have a sneaking suspicion that newspaper “fact checks” don’t always meet the definition of “factual,” Kelly Riddell of the Washington Times offers you some additional evidence to support your theory.

The media coverage on the presidential contest seems to have come down to “fact-checking,” with The New York Times, The Washington Post and Politico each doing articles depicting Donald Trump’s lies on the campaign trail.

This is dangerous territory for the profession, for as Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto opined on Twitter: ” ‘Fact checking’ is opinion journalism pretending to be some sort of heightened objectivity.”

Why you ask? Because most “fact-checkers” are merely liberal journalists looking to prove their preconceived narrative. They cherry-pick the statements to “fact-check” and then decide which data to back it up with. Statistics can be manipulated — for every study coming out of the Brookings Institute, the Heritage Foundation can have a counter argument, depending on the methodology and surveys used. Moreover, much of what they decide to “fact-check” is subjective at best. Nothing that can be pinned down with undisputed data.

In addition, many times politicians use hyperbole to extenuate a larger point — and many times these “fact-checkers” ignore the larger point to focus on the validity of the minutia.

Riddell goes on to cite eight examples of opinion pieces disguised as “fact checks.”

A book lover’s apology

Maureen Mullarkey explains in a Federalist column why E-readers never can replace books effectively.

I feel about Kindle the way St. Augustine felt about chastity: someday, Lord, but please not yet. In the by-and-by I will get one, if only because books by Richard Fernandez can only be “auto-delivered wirelessly,” as Amazon puts it. Right now, though, the moment is just not in sight.

I love physical books: the look, feel, smell, and weight of them. When I hold an old book, I remember the story—a true one—of an elderly librarian who wandered his collection, stopping to stroke the books and muttering: “Don’t worry, my darlings. They’ll never turn you into microfiche.”

Raise a glass to that man. An archivist to the bone, he was a guardian of the tangible history of thought. Improbable as it might sound to digital natives, information is a tool but love of reading is a way of life. And like any love, it has a physical dimension. There is more to it than simply ingesting print. Love of reading begins with pleasure in the look, feel, and weight of a book. Even the smell of books—seasoned ones—carries an enchantment. Redolent with memory, they do more than conjure the past for us. They bind us to it.

Digital literacy, that darling of techno-utopians, competes now with physical books and the solitary, contemplative print culture they nourish. Evangelists of screen reading predict that the paper book won’t be around much longer. Consider, then, a contrary possibility: that in this digital age, books and the book arts matter more than ever before.

Reading a book on a screen is a bit like walking a mechanical dog. The thing can follow commands (Highlight these lines! Fetch page 73! Get the index!), but it has no soul. It will never love you back. You cannot stroke the binding, finger the spine, feel the ribs of laid paper, or relish a deckled edge. Historian Gertrude Himmelfarb tells of growing up in a home where a book—any book, not just the Tanakh—was kissed in apology if it fell on the floor. Would anyone kiss a Kindle?

Good news in the right-to-work fight

Bill McMorris of the Washington Free Beacon details a positive development in the effort to increase right-to-work protections.

A union challenge to Wisconsin’s right to work law will move to federal appeals court after a district court judge dismissed the suit.

Federal Judge J.P. Stadtmueller dismissed International Union of Operating Engineers Locals 139 and 420 contention that allowing workers to opt out of union membership represents an illegal taking of property thereby violating the constitution. Stadtmueller said that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ Sweeney decision, which upheld right to work in neighboring Indiana, precluded him from striking down the Wisconsin law.

“This Court concludes, under the holding and reasoning announced by the majority in Sweeney, that Act 1: (1) is not preempted by the NLRA; and (2) does not work an unconstitutional taking,” he wrote. “The majority also concluded that Indiana’s right to work law did not work an unconstitutional taking because “the union is justly compensated by federal law’s grant to the Union the right to bargain exclusively with the employer.”
ADVERTISING

IUOE Local 139 president Terry McGowan told the Washington Free Beacon in a phone interview that the decision “didn’t come as a big surprise.” He added that the union is “quite happy” to revisit the case before that same Court of Appeals that decided Sweeney. Chief Justice Diane Wood split from the majority in that case and ruled in the unions’ favor that non-members should be forced to pay “fair share” fees. The union hopes that its case may swing a vote over to Wood’s side. …

… Union watchdogs celebrated the ruling. Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, said that the judge properly “upheld the statutory and civil rights protections enshrined in Wisconsin’s right to work law.”

“The constitutionality of state right to work laws is a long-settled question,” Mix said in a release. “Union officials have tried to strip away right to work protections for Wisconsin’s workers for years now dating back to their spurious lawsuits regarding Act 10, but once again worker freedom has prevailed.”

Ohio’s disturbing turn on charter schools

Austin Yack writes at National Review Online that charter schools face new hurdles in one key presidential battleground state.

… [T]eachers’ unions and their political supporters remain adamantly opposed to charters (which typically do not have unions), and they are eager to pounce on any chance to discredit them. A controversy over a $71 million federal grant to the state of Ohio to fund charter schools has become the latest bone of contention in this dispute.

When the Department of Education announced its competitive charter-school grants last fall, the news that Ohio had won the largest share of the $249 million awarded to eight states faced an immediate backlash. Ohio, critics said, had been a poster child for everything that can go wrong with charters – from misspent funds to failing schools. Ohio Democratic senator Sherrod Brown called on the Obama administration to take another look at Ohio’s programs before releasing the grant money. This month, the administration announced that Ohio would get the funds, with some strings attached. The news was met with scathing media reports.

“It remains an open question why a charter sector with this record deserves a grant at all,” Washington Post reporter Valerie Strauss wrote. She cited Innovation Ohio, a left-leaning think tank, which found that 37 percent of Ohio charter schools that received federal funds either closed down or failed to open. Strauss also highlighted the state’s charter-sector scandals, saying that it had “misspent tax dollars more than any other [state sector], including school districts, court systems, public universities hospitals, and local governments.” However, this narrative is not entirely accurate.

First off, the Innovation Ohio statistics are not as troubling as they seem. Charter schools are designed to be able to shut down – that’s one reason why parents like charters, since their children are not stuck attending an F-grade institution in their district. “Some are going to close,” Chad Aldis, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Vice President for Ohio Policy and Advocacy, told National Review. “And that’s okay. Those that are not serving the kids well should close.”