8 years out... I am gradually beating the odds!

Sorry - you can't get rid of me that easily.

8 years and I am doing OK.


Yea - I am deplorable...


Carr: Some Quick, easy steps to tell if you’re a deplorable

Howie Carr Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Credit: AP

IN A ‘BUCKET’ OF TROUBLE: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton waves on Sunday after leaving a 9/11 ceremony early.
Are you a “deplorable,” one of those dreadful Donald Trump supporters who so offend Hillary Clinton’s delicate sensibilities?
As far as she’s concerned, the deplorables are expendable, in order to make room for her “basket” of voters, the despicable and the deportable.

If Hillary hadn’t had that problem with seasonal allergies or overheating or chronic dehydration or pneumonia or whatever they’re calling it now, her “deplorables” slur would be getting a lot more play.
Didn’t Barack Obama say a few months back that a candidate couldn’t insult his way to the presidency? I guess he was referring to Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton, apparently, can.
In case you’ve been wondering which side you’re on, you may be a deplorable if you stand for the National Anthem.
Or if you know all the words to the Pledge of Allegiance, especially, “under God.”
Or if when you go to Market Basket, you tend to buy generic products, because you’re using your own money, not an EBT card.
You may be a deplorable if you just got your car inspected.
If you’re deployable, you’re definitely deplorable.
If you wake before noon, if you call Islamic terrorists Islamic terrorists, if you don’t have an Obamaphone and you don’t believe that global warming is “settled science” — can you say deplorable?
You may be deplorable if your passport, driver’s license and credit cards are all in the same name.
Saying Merry Christmas — Deplorable with a capital D!
You may be a deplorable if you wouldn’t mind showing some ID at the local precinct before you vote.
You are most assuredly a deplorable if you have more than one job.
You may be a deplorable if you’ve never used Western Union to wire welfare cash south of the border.
You may be a deplorable if all of your children have the same last name — and it’s your last name.
Or if while watching the second Monday night NFL game you were less irritated by the streaker than you were by all the fawning coverage of Colin Kaepernick on the pre-game show.
You may be a deplorable if you resent training your H1-B replacement.
Or the fact that the Earned Income Tax Credit is NOT earned.
Nothing says deplorable like the National Rifle Association.
If you liked your doctor and wanted to keep your doctor, if you wear pants rather than pajamas when you leave the house, if you were passed over for the job even though you got a 95 on the civil-service test — you know what you are.
You may be a deplorable if you don’t think you should have to press one for English.
If you lost your security clearance and your job for mishandling classified information, you are deplorable.
You may be a deplorable if you identify as a member of the gender in which you were born.
Or if you drained your 401(k) or took out a second mortgage on your house to pay for your kid’s tuition at UMass while the illegal alien down the hall goes on the arm.
Or if you believe that good fences make good neighbors.
You’re most definitely a deplorable if you have an American flag flying in your front yard.
Or if you’ve never windsurfed with John Kerry on Nantucket, or stood in line with Sen. Warren at your local “cheese shop.”
You are a deplorable if you believe All Lives Matter.
If you’ve never needed a “safe space,” or heeded a “trigger warning” — deplorable.
If you’ve gone to the howiecarrshow.com store and ordered a “Proud to be Deplorable” T-shirt — yes, you know very well what you are.
Listen to Howie 3-7 weekdays on WRKO AM 680.

ObamaCare and the death spiral...


... like it was designed that way or something.

A Scary Obamacare Mystery

Pop quiz: Are the Obamacare exchanges a success? Your answer should take into account three recent pieces of news about the online marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act:
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control's latest report on the uninsured shows that 8.6 percent of the population was uninsured in the first three months of 2016. This is a record low.
  • A survey of Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies, the backbone of the exchanges, indicates that about half their customers in the individual market are buying insurance without subsidies.
  • Arizona has managed to persuade its Blue to sell insurance in Pinal County. That was one of a handful of localities nationwide that faced the possibility of losing all the providers in their Obamacare marketplaces after insurance giants like Aetna announced in August that they were pulling out.
You may be wondering what these three seemingly disparate facts have to do with each other. The answer is, quite a lot. Let me explain.
Conservatives should acknowledge that the coverage expansion is real, it is large (though not as large as we were led to expect), and that while it is not necessarily going to make people much healthier, it is probably going to reduce financial hardship among at least some of the people who have gained coverage. That’s significant, though we can still argue about whether the benefit was worth the cost. (If Obamacare were being voted on today, I would still oppose it).
Liberals, however, should also acknowledge uncomfortable facts. The first is that most of the decrease in the uninsured population came in 2014 and 2015, and is now leveling off. Unless younger and healthier people start buying insurance in much larger numbers, we’re probably not going to see huge improvement. The fact that so few young, healthy people are buying insurance may not only mean that the number of uninsured people stops going down. It could mean that that figure starts going up again.
Why? Because outside of the near-poor, uptake of Obamacare policies is not as high as we’d like. As health insurance consultant Bob Laszewski has written, “Historically, insurers want to see a 75-percent participation rate.” In other words, they want to see three-fourths of the eligible people sign up.
That's because insurers can predict their costs when a representative cross-section of people buys their plans. But when too few sign up, the insurer has to ask, “Who’s declining to buy insurance?” and the most likely answer is, “Healthy people who don’t expect to use it much.” The remaining pool, then, will be sicker. The lower the participation rate, the more likely it is that you’ve got a small group of people who are going to make expensive claims.
This is a phenomenon known as “adverse selection.” And it tends to get worse as premiums rise to reflect the cost of covering this sicker pool, because more people start dropping the ever-costlier insurance, and usually the folks who drop out are the healthiest ones.
Obamacare’s individual mandate was supposed to prevent this death spiral by levying a tax penalty on those who refused to sign up. But the fine appears to be too small to get young folks to buy in.
And that brings us to our second point: the split between subsidized and unsubsidized patients. Because right now, the main thing standing between Obamacare and a death spiral is the fact that subsidies shield customers from the true cost of their plans. So the law’s supporters hope that the second, really vicious part of the death spiral, where rising premiums produce even more adverse selection, will never kick in.
Most of the exchange customers are subsidized; the off-exchange customers are not. But that doesn’t matter, because under Obamacare, insurers have to treat their exchange policies and their off-exchange policies as a single actuarial risk pool, rather than adjusting for the different risks in the different markets. If the exchanges have too many old, sick people on them, and not enough young, healthy ones, those costs will leak over to the unsubsidized off-exchange policies in the form of premium hikes.
That may explain why we’ve seen some insurers pull out of the exchanges while continuing to offer individual policies. That means the older, sicker exchange customers don’t show up in their pools. However, that obviously creates a problem when the number of plans available on the exchanges dwindles. Which brings us to our third data point.
Regulators have tools to combat this sort of strategic withdrawal. They can force all individual policies to be sold through the exchanges, for example, as my own home city has done. But that creates the risk that insurers will simply exit the individual market entirely. Alternatively, the regulators can beg insurers to do them a favor, possibly offering sweeteners in the form of leeway on premium-setting, or favorable treatment in other insurance markets.
But it’s questionable whether this is a viable long-term solution. How many favors can insurance regulators give companies to get them to keep taking losses, year after year? And if the favors come in the form of, “We’re not going to quibble over how much you want to charge people for the insurance you offer on the exchanges,” this will translate into big premium hikes that the subsidized buyers don’t see, but that deliver a nasty shock to the folks in the unsubsidized market. At some point, adverse selection seems likely to set in once again, threatening the gains that reduced the number of uninsured Americans.
The correct answer to the pop quiz, therefore, is “We don’t know yet.” While Obamacare’s grander claims about lowering health-care costs and rationalizing our crazy health-care system have mostly failed to come to pass, the one thing supporters have been able to point to is the falling number of uninsured people. If that number starts to rise again, that argument will become harder to make.
  1. This is complicated because the high deductibles on the plans mean that a lot of people won’t get any benefit from their policies. Sicker people, who are more likely to blow past those deductibles, seem to be much more likely to buy policies.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
To contact the author of this story:
Megan McArdle at mmcardle3@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.net