Water Cooler 10/12/17 Open Thread; FBI Investigates Puerto Rico Hurricane Aid; Undermining Marketplaces ?;


FBI is Investigating Puerto Hurricane Relief

Claims of cronyism and misappropriation of aid abound.

WASHINGTON—The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Puerto Rico received multiple allegations from residents across the island who say local officials in the territory have withheld needed FEMA supplies.

“People call us and tell us some misappropriation of some goods and supplies by supposedly politicians, not necessarily mayors, but people that work for the mayors in certain towns,” FBI Special Agent Carlos Osorio told The Daily Caller Wednesday.

Osorio explained, “They’re supposedly withholding these goods and these supplies and instead of handing them out to people who really need them, [there are claims] that [local officials] are assigning them to their buddies first–people that have voted for them or people that contributed to their campaigns or what not.”

As of now, the FBI is aware of six municipalities among Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities where such activity is allegedly happening. The U.S. federal prosecutor on the island, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez, announced on WAPA radio last Sunday she is looking into these claims and is ready to criminally prosecute any official who withholds relief.

—The Daily Caller


Horrible ? Unforgivable ? Yes, Unexpected certainly shouldn’t have been. This sort of behavior is a constant in human history, we should count ourselves lucky we were able to get away from it for awhile.

Washington Post Goes Contra Economic And Concludes More Competition = Higher Prices

It takes a certain kind of special to think that increasing competition and deregulating markets will raise prices. If you are in the news business this might be called propaganda, for normal people it’s just called lying.

Trump signs order to eliminate ACA insurance rules, undermine marketplaces

Start with the title. The order’s big feature is it allows across state insurance sales, this is not an ACA issue at all. What it does is fix an old issue the ACA chose not to address because it would have actually been nice for people that buy insurance and can’t afford to lobby state insurance commissions.

The White House and allies portray the president’s move to expand access to “association health plans” as wielding administrative powers to accomplish what congressional Republicans have failed to achieve: tearing down the law’s insurance marketplaces and letting some Americans buy skimpier coverage at lower prices. The order represents Trump’s biggest step to carry out a broad but ill-defined directive he issued his first night in office for agencies to lessen ACA regulations from the Obama administration.

Critics, who include state insurance commissioners, most of the health-insurance industry and mainstream policy specialists, predict that a proliferation of such health plans will have damaging ripple effects: driving up costs for consumers with serious medical conditions and prompting more insurers to flee the law’s marketplaces. Part of Trump’s action, they say, will spark court challenges over its legality.

–Washington Post


Letting Americans buy less expensive insurance will drive up costs. The left used to be better at this. They would at least separate this by a few paragraphs to distract you and make you forget somehow that spending less money is somehow going to be more costly.

The most far-reaching element of the multi-prong order instructs a trio of Cabinet departments to rewrite federal rules for association health plans — a type of insurance in which small businesses of a similar type band together through an association to negotiate health benefits.

The order also is designed to expand the availability of short-term insurance policies, which offer limited benefits meant as a bridge for people between jobs or young adults no longer eligible for their parents’ health plans. The Obama administration ruled that short-term insurance may not last for more than three months; Trump wants to extend that to nearly a year.

In addition, Trump’s action is intended to widen employers’ ability to use pretax dollars in “health reimbursement arrangements” to help workers pay for any medical expenses, not just for health policies that meet ACA rules — another reversal of Obama policy.


So this expands choice, allows greater flexibility in what insurance people can buy, and lets employers pay pretax for employees medical bills. It’s not repeal but it’s a pretty good start on putting health care on the right direction.

Quote of the Day

Kind words do not cost much, yet they accomplish much

–Blaise Pascal


Drink up That’s it for the Watercooler today. As always it’s an open thread


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