Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Insurer Cuts Doctor Pay ... More to come

The move by insurer Highmark to reduce physician rates in health plans offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to make up for massive losses has sparked anger, as well as worries that other insurers will follow suit.

Highmark, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliate that operates in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware, said it lost $221 million on its health plans in ACA marketplaces, or exchanges, in 2014, and that it expects to lose another $500 million in 2015 because enrollees have required more care than anticipated. That has caused the insurer to pay more in claims than it collected in premiums.


Another Obama fraud Trump will have to deal with.


Hitler's Mustache                           

Consider the following:

-- Adolf Hitler held gigantic rallies, where he inspired millions with rousing speeches. Donald Trump holds gigantic rallies, where he inspires millions with rousing speeches.

-- Adolf Hitler talked about making his country great again. Donald Trump talks about making his country great again.

-- Adolf Hitler promised military victories. Donald Trump promises military victories.

-- Adolf Hitler had a loyal and overweight henchman, Hermann Goering. Donald Trump has a loyal and overweight henchman, Chris Christie.

-- Adolf Hitler blamed a specific group of immigrants for all the nation's problems (Ed: Jews weren't immigrants -- Close enough!). Donald Trump blames a specific group of immigrants for all the nation's problems.

-- Adolf Hitler vowed to build a wall (Ed: Wait a minute -- when did Hitler talk about a wall? Shhhh! Nevermind!) Donald Trump vows to build a wall.

-- Adolf Hitler was a teetotaler. Donald Trump is a teetotaler.

-- Adolf Hitler had a hobby that he enjoyed very much (painting). Donald Trump has a hobby that he enjoys very much (golf).

-- Adolf Hitler had an opulent home in the city as well as a country home, "The Berghof" in Berchtesgaden. Donald Trump has an opulent home in the city as well as a country home, "Mar-a-Lago" in Palm Beach.

-- Adolf Hitler was involved with a woman from Central Europe, Eva Braun. Donald Trump is married to a woman from Central Europe, Melania Knauss.

-- Adolf Hitler had a pact with the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1941; Donald Trump said nice things about Russian president Vladimir Putin.

-- Adolf Hitler required all non-Jewish, German civilians to greet one another with a rigid right-arm salute, while exclaiming "Heil!" or "Heil Hitler!" Donald Trump has asked audiences to promise to vote for him by raising their hands, which is the PRECISELY same thing.

-- Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian; Donald Trump has never smoked.

-- Adolf Hitler forcibly annexed Czechoslovakia. Donald Trump tried to merge two casinos in Atlantic City.

-- Adolf Hitler invested hundreds of millions of dollars on German aviation to upgrade the Luftwaffe. Donald Trump has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in private jets.

-- Adolf Hitler never had any children, but if he had, they would probably have been blond. Both of Donald Trump's daughters are blond.

-- Adolf Hitler's favorite food was liver dumplings, a dish very similar to meatloaf. (Ed.: They're not remotely similar. No one knows that.) Donald Trump's favorite food is meatloaf.

Need more convincing?

Sometimes ...

Sometimes—when you cry—nobody sees the tears. Sometimes—when you're happy—nobody sees your smile. But fart just one time ...

Wes Pruden, Bless His Heart

Donald Trump’s message to Lower Slobbovia

                           Res Ipsa Loquitur

Some of our thrilling celebrities are threatening to abandon America, our beloved politicians are boring the rest of us to death in nightly pie-throwing contests, and “foreign leaders” are pulling the bedcovers over their heads in terror. This must be another presidential campaign.

Ringling Brothers, ever on the hunt for the latest wild man from Borneo with two heads and three feet, should move the greatest show on earth into the Big Top and charge admission. Everybody wants to watch, even if the faint of heart complain that the sight of it all makes them leave the tent with wet pants.

A spokesman for the Mexican embassy wouldn’t confirm that any Mexican diplomat had complained to anyone in Washington about Trump fatigue, but observed that its top diplomat, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, had called Mr. Trump “ignorant” and, of course, “racist,” and his plan to build a wall to keep Mexicans at home was “absurd.”
Reuters, the British news service, reports that foreign diplomats are alarmed by the Donald’s “inflammatory and insulting public statements.” The folks in Foggy Bottom, who are trained to view with alarm and never have to learn to point with pride, are stumped for what to tell them. “As the Trump rhetoric has continued,” one of the officials tells Reuters, “and in some cases ‘amped’ up, so too have concerns by certain leaders around the world.” Three officials who were willing to talk about the shortage of fainting couches in the frightened precincts of the world, declined to say exactly where these precincts are, but conceded that some of them were in India, South Korea, Japan and Mexico.

But leaders in Britain, France and Canada have indeed gone public with their not-so-private fears. The economics minister of Germany, who you might think would be devoting full attention to the swarms of migrants from the Islamic world threatening to make Muslims of Germans, says the Donald threatens peace and prosperity.

A spokesman for the Mexican embassy wouldn’t confirm that any Mexican diplomat had complained to anyone in Washington about Trump fatigue, but observed that its top diplomat, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, had called Mr. Trump “ignorant” and, of course, “racist,” and his plan to build a wall to keep Mexicans at home was “absurd.” The fear of such a wall is that it might actually work, as such a wall has worked in Israel, and hamper the dumping of an excess of Mexicans.

Foreign governments in the past have always kept their criticisms of American elections muted. There’s something of an agreement among the gentlemen (and ladies) in striped pants. If the prime minister of Lower Slobbovia, for example, won’t say anything in public about a scary candidate in America, maybe an American president won’t say anything about the mayhem and abuse in Lower Slobbovian elections.

Foreign criticism is thus mostly hyperventilation; diplomats must have someone to complain to, and to report that he said something in what used to be called “cables” to the Home Office. Now everything is sent via email, secure or, in the case of a famous former American secretary of State, not so secure. However, diplomats from countries where everyone must mind his tongue lest it be removed with a rusty knife, never quite learn how America works, and think the U.S. government can control what a candidate, like everyone else, is allowed to say.

Donald Trump scares these foreign diplomats because they think he might mean what he says about forcing the rest of the world to do their share of the heavy lifting required to keep the free world more or less free. In fits of candor, some diplomats concede concerns that the United States might become “more insular” under President Trump, who has threatened to repeal or revise trade agreements and push allies to take a larger role in facing up to the radical Islamic threat in the Middle East.

“European diplomats are constantly asking about Trump’s rise with disbelief and now with growing panic,” a senior NATO official tells Reuters. “With the European Union facing a [serious] crisis, there’s more than the usual anxiety about the United States turning inward when Europe needs American support more than ever.”

Gen. Philip Breedlover, the senior U.S. commander in Europe, says he’s getting more questions than usual about how American elections work. “And I think they see a very different sort of public discussion than they have in the past.”

Indeed they do, and if these foreign diplomats in Washington had been paying closer attention to what’s going on in the United States, particularly in the flyover country that is as foreign to American elites as it is to the rest of the world, they would have seen the phenomenon of 2016 coming. Donald Trump did not come out of nowhere, like a summer squall that ruins the picnic.

The great Republican unwashed feel betrayed. So do many Democrats, as Bernie Sanders could tell you. The wheel that goes around comes around, and it may be about to crush anyone who doesn’t get out of the way. That’s the message to be sent to Lower Slobbovia. [Wes Pruden]

I am enjoying all this ...