... Buh-bye, ObamaCare Girl. Tal Kopan of Politico: the face of Healthcare.gov changes -- to an interactive graphic. ...
... The Slate staff imagine what Healthcare.gov might look like if the major tech companies had designed it, which many critics suggest is the way HHS should have gone. Here's Slate's take on the Google design; go to the link to see the other mock-ups:
... Paul Krugman: "Obamacare is an immense kludge -- a clumsy, ugly structure that more or less deals with a problem, but in an inefficient way. The thing is, such better-than-nothing-but-pretty-bad solutions have become the norm in American governance. As Steven Teles of Johns Hopkins University put it in a recent essay, we've become a 'kludgeocracy.' And the main reason that is happening, I'd argue, is ideology." ...
** Michael Lind in Salon: "... the worst features of Obamacare are the very features that conservatives want to impose on all federal social policy [i.e., Medicare, Social Security]: means-testing, a major role for the states, and subsidies to private providers instead of direct public provision of health or retirement benefits. This is not surprising, because Obamacare's models are right-wing models -- the Heritage Foundation's healthcare plan in the 1990s and Mitt Romney's 'Romneycare' in Massachusetts." CW: Krugman makes the same point about Paul Ryan's plan for replacing "Medicare as we know it" in his column today. Last week I read the Konczal piece to which Lind refers -- it's here -- & didn't link it because it's a bit hard to follow unless you read closely. However, you don't have to be a genius to read it. The bottom line of all three pieces -- Lind's, Krugman's & Konczal's -- is that what people won't like about ObamaCare is the part that conservatives imposed. ...
... Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic provides an honest, balanced look at how the ACA will affect health insurance premium rates -- a rundown you will be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. ...
We nearly killed ObamaCare. It's not dead yet, but we're not done beating on it either. -- Rep. Steve King (RTP-Iowa)
... Heather of Crooks & Liars: "You hear it on the lips of every single one of the Republican talking heads on every single Sunday news show: President Obama promised that if you liked your healthcare, you could keep it and HE LIED!!! ... Millions of Americans found out that they've been dropped from their healthcare! ... David Gregory has never come across a Republican talking point that he didn't love, embrace and swallow up whole to faithfully regurgitate to the masses. So he dutifully confronts Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida CEO Patrick Geraghty about the news that 300,000 Floridians have found their policies dropped because they fall below the minimum standards of coverage set by Obamacare. Problem was, Geraghty wasn't going to play Gregory's gotcha game with people's healthcare:
We're not cutting people. We're actually transitioning people. What we've been doing is informing folks that their plan doesn't meet the test of the essential health benefits; therefore, they have a choice of many options that we make available through the exchange. And, in fact, with subsidy, many people will be getting better plans at a lesser cost. This really is a transition. In fact, the 300,000 figure is the entire year. So it's really 40,000 people for January 1, and we're walking them through that transition.
Steve Coll of the New Yorker on the decline of the Republican party: "The Tea Party's anti-intellectualism reflects a longer, deeper decline in the Republican Party's ability to tolerate a diversity of ideas and public-policy strategies, and to adapt to American multiculturalism." ...
... ** Greg Sargent makes an important point: Tea Party Republican's idea "is that the demand that Republicans enter into conventional policy discussions is itself a political trap! ... There is probably nothing that could result from normal governing compromises between Republicans and Democrats that the Tea Party wing can ever accept." CW: Calling Tea Party radicals the Crazy Caucus is not derogatory; it's a statement of fact.
Every Fucking Bad Thing Is Obama's Fault. Steve M. of NMMNB: "... I thought I'd share this response from a Free Republic commenter to the death of Lou Reed:
The ObamaCare Death Panels in New York wouldn't give him a liver transplant so he got it done in Ohio instead. Typical liberal hypocrisy. Death Panels for thee but not for me.
... "I'm not quite sure how 'ObamaCare Death Panels' could kill Reed given that (a) Reed was old enough for Medicare, (b) Obamacare hasn't been fully implemented, and (c) Ohio, like New York, is part of the United States, and Obamacare is federal law, but whatever."
ABC News & the AP: "U.S. officials responded Sunday night to a report that the National Security Agency ended a program used to spy on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders only after an internal Obama administration review started this summer exposed the operation. An unnamed senior official told The Wall Street Journal that the White House 'cut off some monitoring programs after learning of them, including the one tracking Ms. Merkel and some other world leaders. Other programs have been slated for termination but haven't been phased out completely yet.'" CW: So if the project to spy on Merkel began in 2002 & Obama ended it, then I guess this one is George Bush's fault. ...
... Sarah White & Emma Pinedo of Reuters: " The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) recently tracked over 60 million calls in Spain in the space of a month, a Spanish newspaper said on Monday, citing a document which it said formed part of papers obtained from ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden."
A Reminder from E. J. Dionne: "... here is the tea party’s greatest victory: It has made the wrong problem the center of policymaking. The wrong problem is the deficit. The right problem is sluggish growth and persistent unemployment.... By putting so much effort into negotiating a failed 'grand bargain' with House Speaker John Boehner in 2011 and subsequently agreeing to the sharp, across-the-board cuts of the 'sequester' to get out of a crisis, Obama contributed to the deficit chorus. Because of the fiscal tightening, our unemployment rate is probably a point higher than it would have been otherwise. We've done a heck of a job on the deficit, reducing it from about 10 percent of the economy in 2009 to 4 percent now. We've done badly by the jobless."
Philip Rucker of the Washington Post on the strong Clinton-McAuliffe friendship. "Bill and Hillary, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, are leveraging their popularity in an all-out push to help [Terry] McAuliffe win the governorship of Virginia. On Sunday, Bill kicked off a four-day, nine-city tour of Virginia with McAuliffe, while Hillary will raise money for him this week in California." CW: Hey, McAuliffe's opponent Ken Cuccinelli has Rick Santorum (who seems to be on the campaign trail to hawk a Christianist movie he produced or something).
Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker has a long piece on the assassination of President Kennedy: "An assassination should be significant for more than its atmospherics. Kennedy's should also matter for people who weren't there, because something happened in America that would not have happened had Kennedy lived."
Sarah Duggin of the National Constitution Center has a good piece on the Constitutional meaning of "natural-born citizen."
... More Fishing News from Wyoming, the State that Fined Liz Cheney for Lying about her Residence Status on Her Fishing License Application. Elise Viebeck of the Hill: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) lied about their relationship when he said that the two had gone fishing. Cheney's daughter, Liz Cheney, is challenging Enzi in the Wyoming Republican Senate primary." CW: How big was that fish you caught, Mike?
Politico: "The Obama administration is attributing Sunday outages on HealthCare.gov to technical failures by Verizon Terremark, the company operating the federal data hub."
AFP: "A South African court began sentencing Monday 20 right-wing extremists convicted of high treason for a plot to kill Nelson Mandela and drive blacks out of the country. The 'Boeremag' organisation had planned a right-wing coup in 2002 to overthrow the post-apartheid government. The trial lasted almost a decade until the organisation's members were convicted in August last year -- the first guilty verdicts for treason since the end of apartheid in 1994."
AP: "International observers gave their stamp of approval to Georgia's presidential election on Monday, characterizing it as 'clean' and 'transparent.' Sunday's election was won easily by Giorgi Margvelashvili, a 44-year-old former university rector with limited political experience." CW: The article of course is not about the U.S. state of Georgia, which has a voter ID law requiring photo identification.