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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 30, 2013/ 20 Iyar, 5773

The trainwreck called Obamacare

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "I just see a huge trainwreck coming down." That's not a quote from one of our old editorials or from any of the other critics of what has become known as Obamacare. It's a quote from one of its key backers, one of its designers, one of its advocates and defenders. It's a quote from Max Baucus, senior senator from Montana and Democratic stalwart on the Senate Finance Committee.

The committee was taking testimony last week from Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, though her portfolio seems to include General Confusion, too, at least where Obamacare is concerned. And what she said was enough to open even Max Baucus' eyes. For a moment, anyway. To say he sounded unhappy with Madam Secretary would be an understatement.

Among other criticisms the senator had to offer the secretary: "The administration's public-information campaign on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare in the American vernacular) deserves a failing grade. You need to fix this."

But is it fixable?

At another point, dissatisfied with the secretary's answers/excuses, the senator told her: "You haven't given me any data; you just give me the concepts, frankly." Why do some people feel obliged to add "frankly" to some of their assertions? Because they're not always frank, and want to distinguish this statement from their usual less than candid ones?

Ah, well, at least the senator wanted to make it clear he was being frank on this occasion. Some of us wish senators were frank all the time so they wouldn't have to mention it when they were. It would just be understood that they were leveling with the public all along.

The secretary of H. and H.S. responded to the senator's complaints by playing dumb: "I don't know what he's looking at," she said of his remarks once the hearing was safely over. "But we are on track to fully implement marketplaces (the insurance exchanges that are supposed to give the poor the chance to buy health insurance at competitive rates) by January 2014, and to be open for open enrollment...."

On track? Sidetracked might be more like it. Remember those subsidies that were going to help small businesses provide health insurance for their employees while Obamacare was gearing up? The process of applying for the subsidies has proven so cumbersome, so time-consuming, and generally so inefficient that, of the $40 billion set aside for this purpose, maybe only 1 percent of the money has been doled out.

By now Secretary Sebelius' department has missed one deadline after another when it comes to putting Obamacare in place. She fits right in with this administration. The president himself neglected to submit a federal budget on time for years, even if the law requires him to do so. Deadlines, shmedlines. But that's all right, it'll all turn out to be the Republicans' fault. Just you wait and see. Our chief executive is quite remarkable in that regard; he can turn any failure of his own into -- abracadabra! -- another partisan talking point.

Despite her talk about being on track, Ms. Sebelius' department has just announced that, even though a wide choice of insurance policies was supposed to be available for employees of small businesses, only one policy is offered for now. The others, the department tells us, won't be ready till 2015.

The board of experts that is supposed to reduce the cost of Medicare? It hasn't even been appointed yet, much less met. Look for it to be put on hold, too.

But the administration does seem in a hurry to hire hordes of "navigators" to recruit enrollees for the insurance exchanges that Obamacare is supposed to set up. These new hires are expected to cost the government -- that is, the taxpayers -- some $54 million, which is a hefty amount of patronage to distribute.

The word is the administration wants even more money to hire even more of these helpers. After all, you can't have enough navigators when you're navigating an unmapped sea of bureaucracy. Which is a pretty good summation of Obamacare at this point.

Meanwhile, the kind of professionals who may actually know what they're talking about -- actuaries -- have estimated that Obamacare is likely to mean higher costs for insurers, 32 percent more, to pay off claims under individual health-care policies. That's according to the Society of Actuaries. Those insurers in turn will doubtless have to charge higher premiums to cover their higher costs.

Conclusion: Buckle your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride. And an expensive one.

What, Kathleen Sebelius worry? It's nothing to be concerned about, she explains, because the insurance policies Obamacare will offer through these exchanges will cover so many more benefits than just the basics. Which is the big problem with Obamacare. Somewhere in all its reams of elaborate provisions there was once the germ of a good idea: Cover everybody in the country by having the government provide the now uninsured with just the most basic health coverage -- protection against "catastrophic illness," for example. Instead, Obamacare has grown like kudzu, covering everything from elective abortion to, well, you name it. (Liposuction, anyone?)

Sen. Baucus, who's just announced he won't seek re-election after six terms in the U.S. Senate, may have been reflecting his constituents' growing dissatisfaction with Obamacare as it is shaping up, or rather not shaping up. That dissatisfaction is scarcely limited to the good people of Montana. More and more folks all over the country may catch on to Obamacare before this not-so-grand experiment is concluded. Which means more and more politicians will echo their constituents' complaints about Obamacare as election year approaches.

Senator Baucus still contends that Obamacare was a good idea in its conception. Only its implementation, he explains, is faulty. Well, he's half right. For it was misconceived, too. In place of simplicity, Americans got complexity. Instead of a clear, simple reform, Americans are getting a vast bureaucracy that would make one of Rube Goldberg's machines look like a model of efficiency. Ol' Rube specialized in contraptions designed to accomplish some simple chore in the most complicated way, all for comic effect. Only there's nothing funny about this one.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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