Thursday, October 31, 2013

Outrage Fatigue -- And the Question of Exemptions from Surveillance Returns

I watched a bit of the Sebelius hearing yesterday, and oh, my, weren't the bull-Rs in a high dudgeon, though? Geepers, creepers. Ms Sebelius handled it like a pro, but from what I saw of it, the whole thing was pretty scripted for the cameras, there wasn't really much of anything said that wasn't already on the pre-distributed crib sheets and talking points  -- ie: the Propaganda -- from either side, so I got to wondering just what this cock up of a Health Insurance Launch was really all about.

The website is apparently somewhat functional for some people some of the time; there are alternative means of getting coverage, though, so the website issue isn't the biggest deal, certainly not as big a deal as has been made of it since the re-opening of the Government by relenting Rs.

No, the screaming about the website is for show, and it's probably less interesting than the underlying shift that I see going on, the sort of background churning, by which health insurance/health care costs are rising dramatically for many users and customers, while for others costs are being reduced, sometimes significantly. In other words, there is a cost increase and a cost shift going on simultaneously, such that profits will be guaranteed in perpetuity to the carriers and the providers, while costs for users will be distributed "fairly" among the population as a whole.

In effect, it will be a new heavy tax burden on the rabble which they will not be able to escape, which will provide them with as little service as possible (for some, none at all) and from which a working majority of the population will be effectively exempt -- at least initially. Those who have and can hold on to employer-provided health care coverage or who are covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid will not see any immediate change (except higher premium costs and potentially reduced access -- but that's another issue).

Those with employer-provided coverage are a declining percentage of the population. As long as they are a majority, of course, there's no problem -- for them -- apart from being able to pay for the constantly increasing insurance premiums.

Those in the individual market will eventually be covered, but getting coverage will be something of a struggle, much as the introduction of Medicare Part D was and the choice for seniors entering that phase of coverage is still daunting. Once insured, however, it will be less difficult to continue in some plan for the rest of one's life, so there is that.

The sticker shock that so many are experiencing -- which is being essentially dismissed by the propagandists with an airy wave of the hand and a "too bad, so sad, you had were being screwed anyway" --  as individual insurance policies are being canceled for millions and the replacements are offered at double, triple, quadruple the premiums, or more, has got a lot of people upset, righteously, but according to the propagandists, there are these "exchanges" where "savvy shoppers" will find something better for less money, and they should try it. Only the website doesn't work very well and it may be a while before "savvy shoppers" will be able to take advantage of this great new market... In other words, take what you're offered and sit down and shut up. You don't count because you're only a few percent of the overall population. Desist. And pay up. You were practically getting a free ride as it was.

OK then.

I've encountered that "blame the victim" attitude when I've pointed out the stunning increases in co-pays under my Medicare Advantage plan. It's my fault, somehow, for having a Medicare Advantage ("rip off") plan in the first place, I should shift to Medicare alone and buy a Medicare supplement policy and a separate Medicare Part D policy (a package that could cost an addition couple of grand a year)  and thus have few or no co-pays. Sounds like a deal, right? If you can afford it, sure. Or if you qualify for Medicaid (which picks up the costs Medicare doesn't pay for) sure. Otherwise, you're kind of stuck, hoping against hope you don't get sick and need care, because you're going to wind up with a lot of extra expenses you weren't counting on.

That will happen to a lot of people as this whole thing shakes out. It's going to cost them more, in some cases much more out of pocket, to have and to use health care coverage, in perpetuity.

This was the plan all along.

It's similar to setting up a very complicated and expensive private utility with many interrelated but separate branches, each of which gets to charge for services, the user paying again and again. Ultimately the user becomes accustomed to it. The initial sticker shock at having to pay so much -- or so much more -- fades, and paying it is just something you do. If you don't have the money, there are "programs" to help (just as there are with utilities), and eventually everybody just goes along because it's easier to do that than to fight.

Surprisingly similar action seems to be taking place in the Surveillance realm. There's much to-do over the surveillance of Frau Merkel's Phone Calls, but that's quite clearly (to me at any rate) a diversion from something else. Frau Merkel is all in with the reconstituted Surveillance State, as is DiFi -- who has also been making noised of late about how "this is so wrong on so many levels", something that seems to have just occurred to her as the Merkel story was highlighted.

DiFi, of course, has been heavily criticized for being such a staunch defender of the NSA, and by extension the surveillance state as a whole, despite its apparent abuses, and she has even defended abuses. Much as the abuses of the health coverage and health care markets are being criticized and defended. Merkel herself seemed fine with surveillance -- until it affected her, personally.

And ultimately, it's about exemptions, not coverage or surveillance.

"Important people" -- however you want to determine and classify them -- are to be exempted from the hassles and surveillance and extractions and whatnot that the rabble shall be forced to endure. We're witnessing the setting up of a nomenklatura that will be free from the restraints and restriction the rest of us shall face for ever and ever, amen.

The earlier attempt to establish an exemption from surveillance for the media partially succeeded, but I doubt it will hold. What's happening instead is that there is a selection process within the media. Favored selectees will receive "certificates of exemption" while the majority of the media will not, and they will be subject to the same surveillance as the rest of the rabble with whom they will be classed, and they'll accept it as "just the way it is."

I assume the "certified" media will also receive "health care" (without hassles and complications) as part of their compensation for service rendered.

The same sort of selection process is likely happening in every field, so long as there is a chance for exemption from surveillance and/or the hassles of the "market". Some will be granted exemptions while everyone else is forced into a kind of confinement where they are watched all the time and their pockets are routinely pilfered to pay for their watchers' loving kindness.

Those who are exempted from this routine condition of modern life will become a super-class (what I've long called the Overclass) directing and profiting from the work everyone else. Of course there will be rivalry and competition within the Overclass for pre-eminence, but it will take place as far beyond the ken of the rabble as any Inner Party struggle was for the Proles.

The question of exemptions will form the basis for establishing a new/revised (and brutal) class structure meant to endure forever. Eventually, the compelled-purchase model of health care will be applied to many other needs and desires the rabble may have -- or be induced to have -- such that everyone who is not exempt will have a menu of compelled purchases they are forced to choose from (which they will do willingly, btw) throughout their lives, all of which ensure the perpetual profits of Those Above. And the Surveillance State will ensure that no one -- ever -- escapes.

It's brilliant.  It will work, too, because most people don't care very much about these "outer" things as long as they can get by.

So long as that's the case, few will raise their voices against their masters and rulers, fewer still will rebel.

It's the makings of a Paradise for the Overclass.

Money for nothing and your chicks for free.

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