Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Open Mic Night: HHS Secretary Shecantbeserious

They say that when one door closes, another opens. It appears that even as Gilbert "Aflac" Gottfried exited stage left, Cabinet member cum comedienne Shecantbeserious has entered stage right. In her stand-up debut at Politico, she rocked the house with some great one-liners:

"Just 12 months after [ObamaCrap] became law, the American people are enjoying new protections, greater freedoms and lower costs.

Children are now protected from being turned away by insurers because of a pre-existing condition

Good one, Kathy!

The punchline is spoiled, of course, by the fact that (with few exceptions) there are now no child-only policies available. So the fact that that they can't be declined for pre-existing conditions is scant comfort to those who can't buy it at all.

"Seniors enrolled in Medicare now have the freedom to get preventive care ... for free."

Really? The doc's no longer get paid for their services? Bet that's news to them! Of course, the rest of us do pay for these services, in the form of higher taxes and, of course, less choice.

Here's a howler:

"Early signs show that ... the number of small businesses offering coverage to employees is increasing."

Is that right? One supposes it would be asking too much of Ms Shecantbeserious to offer a cite for this claim; the truth is that, because of the poor economy, more small businesses are failing, and fewer that are left plan to continue offering plans.

And another cute one:

"Perhaps less widely recognized ... has been the way the law is demanding transparency and accountability from the insurance industry to bring down premiums."

It certainly takes a certain chutzpah to rail on the insurance industry about "transparency" given the process by with this train-wreck was forced onto an unwilling citizenry. And premiums going down? That's Lenny Bruce-level funny right there.

But wait, there's more!

"And for the first time, insurers are being held accountable for the way they spend consumer premiums."

That'll come as a surprise to the states that have always required that carriers justify rate increases based on claims and other factors. Had she herself been an insurance commissioner. she might have known that. Oh, wait... Never mind!

The hits, they keep on coming:

"Today, Americans also have a new Web-based tool that allows them to comparison shop for the best insurance options ... Go to www.[obamacrap].gov to check it out."

As Bob's noted, this site is itself quite the joke.

But the lady's on a roll:

"These efforts are helping to make the health care marketplace more competitive"

Excuse me a moment while I catch my breath.

With fewer choices available as carriers exit the market, this one's quite the knee-slapper.

For some reason, she turns serious at the end:

"Ultimately, we know that the biggest factor driving up premiums is the soaring cost of care."

I was unaware that we'd made Ms Shecantbeserious an honorary co-blogger. After all, we've been saying this for years in the (previously) vain hope that someone in DC would listen. Apparently, she's been an avid IB reader all this time. The problem, of course, is that she still misses the mark: "Analysts predict that by 2019, these efforts could save an additional $2,000 for a family policy for employer-based coverage."

The only thing missing is context: what good is that savings if it still means that coverage is unaffordable? How many people seriously say "sure I'd buy that Bugatti if they'd knock $2000 off the list?"

Don't quit the day job, Kathy.
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