So, just who won with the Affordable Care Act?

With any legislation, there will be winners and losers, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is no exception. We already know who lost: people who already had health insurance lost, as they’ve seen their insurance rates skyrocket while being required to pay for coverage that they do not need. But who won? From The Wall Street Journal:

Fund Boss’s Gamble on Health Law Pays Off Big
Larry Robbins’s Glenview Capital Management has made realized and paper gains of more than $3.2 billion
By David Benoit | July 23, 2015 7:52 p.m. ET

Glenview Capital Management LLC made a bold decision when President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul was rolling out: Bet on it.

The result has been one of the most successful hedge-fund wagers in recent years. New York-based Glenview has realized and paper gains of more than $3.2 billion since it started making investments in hospitals and insurers four years ago, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of securities filings.

The fund is run by Larry Robbins, a billionaire hockey fanatic known for his sermonizing investor letters. Its latest win comes courtesy of Anthem Inc., the nation’s second-largest health insurer by revenue, which is expected to announce a $48 billion-plus acquisition of rival Cigna Corp. as early as Friday, according to people familiar with the matter. Glenview owns shares in both companies, as well as in insurers Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc., which struck a $34 billion deal of their own three weeks ago. Shares of all four companies have rallied in anticipation of tie-ups.

The passage of the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare,” has riled executives throughout corporate America over concerns about its costs and deeper government involvement in a key industry. But while the health-care industry, many investors and individuals wrestled with the uncertainties created by the law, which was passed in 2010, a team at Glenview was laying the groundwork for the wager early on.

They reasoned as early as 2007 that the health-care system in the U.S. was likely to change, with more people gaining coverage and mergers in the future for hospital operators and health insurers. They largely stuck to that thesis through two presidential campaigns, a congressional brawl and a pair of cliffhangers at the Supreme Court.

There’s a lot more at the original.

Is it any surprise that the insurance industry liked Obaminablecare? It guaranteed them a significant increase in the number of customers, along with government subsidies to help them pay. The health care industry liked it as well, because it guaranteed them fewer non-paying patients.

And now we find out — not that we didn’t already know it — that Wall Street likes it as well, and the financial wizards are making billions of dollars on health care reform. As long as you aren’t a working American, you pretty much made out, either through increased investment earnings, or taxpayer-subsidized health insurance.

It’s only if you are a working American, who already had health insurance — which was true of about 85% of the population — that you lost on this deal.

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Related article from The Wall Street Journal:

Is it possible that the Commander-in-Chief does not like or respect the troops under his command?

I was talking to my sister-in-law on Monday evening; she is, or at least was, a die-hard Democrat, who voted for Barack Hussein Obama twice, but is finally, finally! having doubts that he really has the best interests of America at heart. The source of her change of heart is the agreement concerning Iran and its nuclear weapons program, and our esteemed President’s seeming antipathy for Israel.1

And now even The Washington Post is starting to question things:

Under fire for inaction, Obama orders flags lowered for Chattanooga victims
By Steven Mufson and Greg Jaffe | July 21 at 8:35 PM

The American flag is lowered to half-staff above the White House on July 21 to honor the five U.S. service members who were killed by a gunman in Chattanooga, Tenn., last week. (Andrew Harnik/AP) Click to enlarge.

PITTSBURGH — President Obama, facing growing criticism from conservatives and some veterans, ordered all American flags on federal grounds to be lowered to half-staff for the remainder of the week to honor the five service members killed at a naval reserve center in Chattanooga, Tenn.The move was announced Tuesday, five days after the shooting rampage and just minutes after Obama delivered a speech here at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in which he defended his Iran nuclear deal, called for more military spending, and criticized Republicans for relying too heavily on military force and threats instead of diplomacy. . . . .

But even as he spoke, the president faced stinging criticism that he hadn’t acted swiftly enough to honor the dead by lowering the flag at the White House and federal buildings around the country.

“Oh one more thing, lower the FLAG!!!!!!!! Sir,” former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, author of the best-selling book “Lone Survivor,” wrote on his Facebook page.

That critique was then echoed on Capitol Hill, where House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved quickly to lower the flag to half-staff on the Capitol grounds.

And the money line:

The midsummer tempest highlighted how Obama — six years into his tenure as commander in chief — continues to be pressed to defend his patriotism, his support for the military and his toughness.

There’s more at the linked original.

President Obama is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States; the four Marines and the sailor who were killed in the Chattanooga terrorist attack were men under his command, men who had all either enlisted or re-enlisted after Mr Obama became President, and he showed them absolutely no respect until political pressure forced him into it.

I can understand that the President has a lot on his plate, all the time, every single day, and it might not have occurred to him that the flag needed to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the troops under his command being killed. But the political pressure had been building for three days to get that done, and the odds are vanishingly small that none of his political aides, people paid good money to keep on top of these things, never reminded the President that the flag needed to be lowered well before it finally was.

The obvious, but completely unprovable truth here2 is that someone had to have approached the President earlier and asked if the flag should be lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims, and President Obama said no.

It took more than five years, and congressional action, for the victims of the Fort Hood massacre to be considered anything other than victims of “workplace violence,” something that the President could have taken care of years previously . . . if he had wanted to do so; it’s obvious that he didn’t.

CBS News found that the Veterans Administration was discarding some veterans’ benefits claims. Would any VA leadership do that, risking going to jail, without orders from the top? And Fox News Insider reported just yesterday that a new VA whistleblower is alleging that:

34,000 men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are losing their guaranteed five-year eligibility for VA service due to “systematic obstacles.”

(Scott Davis) explained that combat veterans are not required to verify their income when applying for VA benefits. But the enrollment applications of 34,000 such veterans were delayed when the VA system designated them as pending, because they lacked income information.

Davis said that when he notified VA officials of the issue, it was ignored.

He added that 16,000 of the 34,000 vets have already already lost their five-year eligibility, which he says was intentionally done by the VA.

Really what conclusion is reasonable, is even possible, other than that President Obama and his top staffers simply do not like the military, and that their actions, and inactions, and constant slights confirm this?

No man who does not respect the military should ever be elected to become the Commander-in-Chief. January 20, 2017 cannot come fast enough.

 

  1. No, my sister-in-law is not Jewish.
  2. We may have some proof in a few years when one of the President’s White House aides tries to cash out on his service by writing a tell-all book.

From the 2008 Elections From the Old Common Sense Blog

http://commonsensepoliticalthought.com/?p=3518

Question – Revised
Posted by Yorkshire on 27 October 2008, 6:31 pm
Sometimes I think of something, write, and miss the obvious. My Bad. So, to restate the question:

Can anyone name a person that has had an Influence on BO’s life that doesn’t have some radical past, other than most of his immediate family?

http://commonsensepoliticalthought.com/?p=3682

Iran and nuclear weapons
Posted by Dana Pico on 22 November 2008, 2:41 pm
From Styx at Reclaim Conservatism came the reference to this story:

Iran said to have enough nuclear fuel for one weapon
By William J. Broad and David E. Sanger
Published: November 20, 2008

Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom bomb, according to nuclear experts analyzing the latest report from global atomic inspectors.

In the end, the Democrats want to take business decisions for businesses

From The Wall Street Journal:

Clinton: Companies Fined for Wrongdoing Should Cut Executive Bonuses
In wide-ranging Facebook forum, Democratic frontrunner also proposed boosting whistleblower rewards
By Laura Meckler | July 20, 2015 6:26 p.m. ET

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for president, said Monday that when corporations pay government fines for wrongdoing, the companies should reduce the bonuses of executives who “should have been accountable or should have caught the problem.”

In a wide-ranging question-and-answer session on Facebook, Mrs. Clinton also proposed increasing rewards for whistleblowers at financial firms, and she explained why she thinks the capital gains rate should go up for short-term investments.

Her ideas come at a time when her challengers for the Democratic presidential nomination are promising big changes to Wall Street regulation, including reinstating rules that require that commercial and investment banking be separated. Mrs. Clinton doesn’t plan to go that far, and is under pressure from the left to offer her own proposals.

Previewing a speech on Wall Street regulation slated for the coming weeks, Mrs. Clinton vowed to defend and expand the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation regulating financial firms, and she repeated her promise to prosecute individuals as well as corporations for wrongdoing. Her remarks came ahead of Dodd-Frank’s fifth anniversary Tuesday.

There’s more at the link. But I find Hillary Clinton’s proposals profoundly disturbing. I agree with her, as I am sure most Americans do, that executives at corporations caught in wrongdoing shouldn’t be getting bonuses, but I very much disagree that the government should be in any way involved in the corporate decisions as to what, if any, those executives should be paid.

And this is on top of Mrs Clinton’s even more disturbing ideas that corporations are engaged in too much short-term thinking — a point on which I also agree with her — and thus the government should change capital gains taxes to push changes in corporate decision taking; that is profoundly wrong.

Source: Forbes.

All of this adds up to one thing: Mrs Clinton specifically, and the Democrats in general, believe that the government knows better than businesses how to run their businesses. This would be the same government which has helped to drive the workforce participation rate down to its lowest point since 1978, and the same government which has presided over a U-6 unemployment rate of 10.5%, and the same government spending half a trillion dollars more than it takes in, to fund such hugely important things as studies as to why lesbians are fat.

Government is, and always has been, a poor business decision taker. The reasons are obvious: the government is not run by businessmen, and its concerns are not those of businesses. The concerns of business are, at bottom, making a profit for shareholders; the concerns of the government are how to deliver whatever government services are required, and while the government has to be concerned about how to pay for those services and should be — though there seems to be scant evidence that the government actually is — concerned with keeping costs down, those are very different concerns than those of business.

But none of that matters to the Democrats: they think that a government which has no experience in making a profit ought to be the ones taking the decisions of businesses which have to make a profit to survive. This is not only wrong, but it is fundamentally wrong.

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Related Stories:

Schadenfreude! Cheaters get cheated

Somehow, it’s difficult to get too worked up about this; I am much more amused than appalled. It seems that the adultery site Ashley Madison got hacked, and now the hackers are threatening to expose the data on 37 million customers:

The hackers have said they will release real names, credit card details and secret sexual fantasy information on millions of Ashley Madison users, unless their demands are met.

Yeah, hacking the website and releasing that personal information would be a serious crime, for which the hackers ought to go to jail. But there’s still a sense of schadenfreude here, in finding some wry amusement at the plight of people about to get busted for cheating n a way they never expected to get caught.

Rule 5 Blogging: Are all Finns blonde?

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as putting pictures of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Cote de Pablo in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

Today, soldiers from Finland.

I think that all of Finland’s female soldiers are blondes!

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Are all Finns blonde?’ »

From Around the Blogroll

Normally, I write something brilliant and witty to start these posts, but I’m too lazy busy this morning.

White Supremacist Christofascist Tea Partier kills four Marines

Outraged by the removal of the Confederate battle flag, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a naturalized US citizen from Kuwait, and just obvious Tea Party convert, shot up a recruiting center and then a US Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez

Surprisingly enough, he wasn’t stopped by the notice that this was a gun-free zone. Since the left believe that gun control will actually stop criminals, you’d think that they’d be surprised.

I mean, it’s not like Arabs who adopt ISIS style looks need to be watched or anything.

What a great headline!

I saw this headline — and no, I didn’t edit it! — and said to myself, “Self, oh, how I wish this were true!”

Obama will go to prison for a fairer justice system
By Darlene Superville | Associated Press | July 16, 2015 | 0600

Oklahoma City – President Barack Obama’s push for a fairer justice system is literally sending him to prison.

More at the original. Normally I’ll quote a bit more, but the Associated Press really doesn’t like that, and the msn.com system is set up so that you cannot copy-and-paste; I had to type in all of that myself.1

What the President wants to do is:

  1. Reduce sentences for offenders convicted of non-violent offenses; and
  2. Restore voting rights to convicted felons who have served their sentences.

On the second point, the President quite naturally believes that criminals will vote heavily Democratic. But, if the logic is that once a felon has served his sentence, his civil rights should be restored, wouldn’t that also apply to his Second Amendment rights or being removed from the sex offender registry; I certainly haven’t heard anyone advocating those things.

The Constitution provides that the states set the qualifications for voters, but does allow the Congress to alter them, and constitutional amendments have specified that the franchise may not be restricted by race, sex or to citizens eighteen years of age or older. Some states have restored voting privileges to convicted felons after they have completed their sentences, some with waiting periods, but others have not; that should not be changed. It is the Editor’s preference that convicted felons never have voting rights restored to them, any more than they should have the right to keep and bear arms restored;2 this should be part of the penalty for committing crimes.

Nor should we reduce sentences for “non-violent” offenses. The President is referring primarily to drug related offenses, but, in reality, every drug offense is a violent crime, if not directly, then somewhere in the prior chain of offenses which led to illegal drugs being distributed. Part of our problem isn’t that sentences are too long, but that too many criminals are treated too leniently and paroled too early!

Fortunately, much of what the President wants — basically, to flood the free population with convicted criminals — would require congressional action, and the Republicans who control both Houses of Congress, and will for the remainder of the President’s term,3 would block his ridiculous proposals.

And they should. The last thing we need is more criminals on the streets.
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  1. The story was accessed at 0715 this morning; sometimes the sources edit stories after they have been accessed, but the headline was exactly as I typed it in when I saw it.
  2. The Fourteenth Amendment allows the states and federal government to restrict the normal civil rights of persons convicted of crimes.
  3. Technically, the next Congress will be seated on the 4th of January, 2017, while Mr Obama’s term does not end until January 20th, but the Republicans could block anything significant, even if they lose control of the Senate; they will not lose control of the House of Representatives.