the latest news… fainting woman, Obamacare, and the NSA

Was the fainting woman during Obama’s speech a hoax? Maybe.

I don’t have strong opinions on this, and if it is a hoax, Obama himself isn’t necessarily involved in any way. Having said that, it does look suspicious, especially the friend’s behavior (on left side of screen) and her apparent attempts to stifle her smile and other telling expressions. It may have been a hoax, though I wouldn’t read more into it at this point.

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Government asks major insurance company not to release sign-up numbers, apparently.

…a spokeswoman from Blue Cross Blue Shield says about 14 North Dakotans have signed up for coverage since the federal exchange went live Oct. 1. That brings total statewide enrollment to 20 – less than one a day.

Less than one per day in the state of N Dakota, for BCBS. Sounds pretty dismal. If it’s true that the federal govt asked companies not to release numbers, then I’m guessing it’s not for national security reasons, but to save face on the part of the Obama administration. Not exactly the culture of transparency we were promised, though the non-naive among us shouldn’t be surprised.

I’m not necessarily in favor of scrapping the ACA (Obamacare) legislation–for a variety of reasons–but I certainly wasn’t hoping it would fail, and the enrollment problems we’re seeing are certainly putting it at risk. At this point, it’s too early though to claim the sky is falling.

EDIT 10/27 – last paragraph confusing, adding strike-through; what I meant to say is that, though I didn’t support the ACA legislation, I was not hoping it would fail post-enactment.

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Millions of Americans to lose their coverage?

The U.S. individual health insurance market currently totals about 19 million people. Because the Obama administration’s regulations on grandfathering existing plans were so stringent about 85% of those, 16 million, are not grandfathered and must comply with Obamacare at their next renewal. The rules are very complex.

If true, that further dents Obama’s crowning achievement during his presidency (Bin Laden killing aside).

Technical glitches aside, complex legislation and regulation has ramifications, not all of which are obvious until after the fact, sometimes long after. If Obamacare leads to an expansion of medical insurance (which is no guarantee at this point), does that automatically lead to a more efficient healthcare sector, better quality care, and better cost transparency? Certainly not. I’m not one for easy solutions–there aren’t any, for this issue. But we need to understand that even if millions do eventually enroll in medical insurance, via Obamacare or otherwise, it will likely not solve this country’s healthcare-related cost problem, which is huge and will get bigger.

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“NSA Spied on 124 Billion Phone Calls in One Month” (article)

Is the end game spying on people, or national security? They’re not one in the same, and too much spying can actually harm our collective security.

Evidently, the NSA spied on the German chancellor’s phone. The White House denies this (sort of), though one might come to the conclusion that official denials aren’t to be trusted at this point.

I’m not saying that all of the allegations are true. My point here is that the United States has handled this public relations challenge catastrophically. It’s reasonable to assume that many of the allegations are in fact true, and that the US has chosen surveillance over privacy, control over liberty, and misleading denials over transparency.

EDIT 10/23 – minor edit for clarity

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