My first thought when I heard about the unanimous decision not to make a decision by SCOTUS was the fact that with an election coming that the idea of a government fatwa against a bunch of nuns might not play well in certain swing states drove this move. (There is a reason why the MSM doesn’t mention them in the context of this case)
but the more I thought about it something else hit me.
I could be completely wrong here but I have a feeling that SCOTUS sending the Little sisters of the Poor case back down looking for compromise is all about a great conflict in the minds of some of those justices.
I think that while the religion of liberalism runs strong and produces an overwhelming pull I think that to force these nuns to violate their consciences might just be a bridge too far for some of those justices.
The irony here is that while Justice Scalia was alive this wasn’t an issue, if there was a conservative majority in favor of the nuns then a liberal Catholic could happily vote on the losing side knowing that said vote would not have any effect on the poor nuns.
But now instead of the cover of a meaningless vote, Justice Scalia has put them on a very uncomfortable spot and I strongly suspect that the many prayers being said both for the nuns and directed toward the guardian angels of the Justices in question were not in vain.
Conscience is an odd thing sometimes and we never quite know the workings of God.
I know some of you might think that a load of BS but that’s my gut.
by Steve and Timothy Imholt (mainly Steve, Tim was too angry, as he is an adult with autism and has an autistic son he pays out of pocket to cover.)
Do you remember the debate about why Obamacare was going to be so very good or so very evil (depending on who was hogging the microphone)? Regardless of where you fell on the scale from progressive to arch conservative, one area which had very little argument was over what healthcare should cover regarding children. Yes, there was argument about the role of government, about government over reach, about fiscal consequences, but about kids?
Nope, I don’t remember it.
I bet you don’t either.
I can remember the discussions about orphan drugs. I remember comments from both sides about catastrophic coverage. Even discussions about pre-existing conditions. These were things that most people thought the ACA would/should (depending on party affiliation) cover. Even the insurance companies and the Republicans in a last ditch effort to stop the ACA talked about other legislation, in place of the ACA, that would cover pre-existing and catastrophic situations.
But what they didn’t do was talk about situations that were fixable when the fix was expensive. Talk about donut holes. There is donut hole in coverage the size of the Holland Tunnel if you work for most companies. You see, the way things are today, some kinds of illnesses actually ARE covered by the ACA marketplace and public aid, but NOT through employer plans precisely because they are so expensive, and the employers had good lobbyists to get wording in there for an exemption for employer based plans.
Still others aren’t covered by the ACA market place OR the employer because get this… they are too expensive. It’s like finding a Ho Chi Minh tunnel at the bottom of a Florida sized sinkhole. You take the tunnel because you have to.
Is there a poster child for this hole? Autism.
You see, when you catch autism early it is treatable. But the treatment needs to be aggressive. And even better, its effects can be truly managed and even called cured. But the current costs are somewhere higher than $30,000 and in some cases even $50,000 per year for several years. Most employers would rather not have to deal with that kind of cost. And (please use a Gomer Pyle voice when reading this), Surprise, Surprise, Surpirse, state and federal laws say they don’t have to cover it.
Think about this. The employed person has to pay out of pocket to get his kids treated. That same person has to pay taxes that, in turn, pay for subsidized coverage for other people, some of whom don’t have a job, so that their kids can get this treatment because the ACA says that they can. So one guy gets to fork out the money twice, or if he can’t afford for his kids to get these treatments out of his own pocket has real problems.
That is assuming the guy who has a job can find a way to afford it. How many people have that kind of money leftover from the rest of their budget in their after tax salary? Especially with all the new tax rates, hikes in grocery store prices, and stagnant wages in the middle class.
It is a nutty situation, but that is just one prime example. We are SURE there are others. We will be on the lookout. Just follow bankruptcy filings and some will likely be found.
The ACA act itself provides a partial loophole as well. Turns out the Fed doesn’t always cover it because it’s a congenital condition. Those plans which do cover it are a lot more expensive. Currently, the only real option left for a family with an average income is for the kid to get put on public aid. On public aid, the kid can get covered. Except that like a Ho Chi Minh tunnel, the hole can collapse at any moment.
Now for those readers who don’t have to deal with this every day, getting on public aid is NOT like switching cable companies. You need to get qualified again, and again, and again. It takes a lot of effort by parents to pull it off. And each time they have to requalify, treatment gets impacted either because docs won’t accept it, or they can’t actually deliver until approved (again and again and again).
Remember that comment about catching it early, and being aggressive? Let’s be blunt. Being aggressive is not compatible with government paperwork.
So, as a country, we end up actually causing kids to not get the treatment they need, exactly when it would do the most good. All because companies didn’t want to have this really large cost, and the Feds on ACA didn’t want the premiums to go up even more than they are going up next year.
How did it get this way? From my perspective, it was because from the progressive standpoint, it had to be covered, so sticking it to the states was a good idea. (Actually for some of the progressives, anything that eventually will lead to a single payer system is a good thing, no matter how many kids get trampled in the meantime). But the conservatives aren’t off the hook either. Again, from my standpoint, allowing companies to exclude this kind of thing, is the direct equivalent of being Pontius Pilate, washing their hands. Why? Because for conservatives, anything that shows how bad the ACA is must be good, no matter how many kids are trampled.
From my perspective, political autism has eradicated public oughtism.
The saddest part of all? It’s not those kids knowing that they won’t be treated today. You see, none of them will notice it today because they are too young, and they really do have issues. And it probably won’t be those kids when they are grown, because at the speed they won’t get treatment, they will have challenges, at a much higher rate than they should. And the annual cost of that will be paid by everyone, just as the ineffectual treatment they will get because of a defective public aid system.
Yet keep sending these yahoos back to Washington, again, and again. Perhaps it’s the public who is more autistic than we would ever want to admit.
Given the Obamacare mandate lawsuit and the President’s statement to the Pope concerning religious freedom, the fact that his government is suing them to force them to violate their faith is ironic, so the Pope’s visit would seem quite newsworthy.
-NOTED: Yesterday, Pope Francis made an off-the-record visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor to show his support for their fight against the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, ABC’s MEREDITH MCGRAW notes. In late August, the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Little Sisters of the Poor a short-term shelter from the mandate.
Given that the idea of the Pope making the republicans uncomfortable has been a constant theme of media coverage you would think that this symbolic move of support for Nuns being sued by the US government might be a tad more newsworthy.
One would almost think the MSM had an agenda when it comes to their coverage of the Pope and this particular Pontifical visit doesn’t fit it.
The meeting, which was not on the pope’s publicly-released schedule of events, was held just hours after the pontiff met with President Obama at the White House. Father Lombardi did not say where, but he noted that the Little Sisters have a convent near the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where Pope Francis celebrated a late afternoon Mass. It is likely that he visited the order just after celebrating the liturgy.
If ONLY the msm had access to the same resources as Aleteia does.
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Nicholas Angel: How could this be for the greater good? Neighbourhood Watch Alliance: [all together] The Greater Good. Nicholas Angel:Shut it!
Hot Fuzz 2007
Autism is a disorder, really a neurological condition that is typically diagnosed early in childhood that is characterized by huge difficulties in communication and forming relationships with other people. These challenges are due to the way the people with this condition use language and interpret abstract concepts.
My son is a four year old on the autism spectrum. He sits in the mild side, and has been in treatment for a while to treat his various developmental struggles. He is far from alone in these struggles. The autism spectrum is a wide range of severities of this disorder but it is said that more than 1 in 100 kids (more like 1 in 88) sits on the spectrum and requires some kind of treatment. These treatments can be shockingly costly.
Many of these treatments have been covered by our insurance company as every therapy he has been in was prescribed by a medical professional. He has been to neurologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, all kinds of stuff. The co-pays alone would boggle your mind.
Then we come to today. He goes to one of his two regularly weekly scheduled speech therapy appointments that, until this week has been covered. The health care provider puts in an authorization request for treatment before his appointment (as is their normal procedure), and it is denied. That is strange, why now, why not a week ago?
Something strange is afoot at the Circle K you say?
Wait for it, this gets worse.
It turns out that under the Affordable Care Act they, according to the insurance company, they are required to only cover these types of therapies for “restorative reasons.” What is a restorative reason you ask? They can cover more but it is at their discretion. So, what company would do so if they don’t have to? Well certainly not this one.
Put another way if he had been in an accident and lost the ability to speak they would help, otherwise they won’t. Autistic kids are out of luck I guess, at least to go through a qualified private insurance covered speech therapist.
I was angry for a variety of reasons mostly because this is landing on us with no warning.
So, I asked, what is going on? When did this change?
Oh a letter was sent out 3 days ago? On Friday, and today is Tuesday? Nice, I guess I haven’t gotten or read that yet but ok.
I asked the question, what are these kids supposed to do? Have no shot in life? Medical professionals can prescribe a treatment and unless you can afford the $250-$400/week in cost out of pocket your kid is just out of luck?
No, that isn’t the case, the insurance company representative says. I can appeal (which they told me would in all likelihood be denied but I can do it), or I can go to the local school system department of special education.
So let’s review:
Covered last week not covered today
Costs of my policy go up year over year
Out of pocket just increased by at least $1000/month for a procedure prescribed by a medical professional (and that doesn’t include all the increases in copays elsewhere).
Coverage is shifting away from treating those with diagnosed disabilities, sort of.
Because of his age he might be covered merely by an already overspent public school system according to the insurance company (the school district disagrees).
Put another way the ACA through some convoluted process just shifted what should be a medical procedure onto the school system?
I guess they wanted the federal deficit numbers to look better for the kids they have to cover through the subsidies? Could that be the case? Surely not…No, they would never forget to tell the whole truth right?
Does that seem like how things are supposed to work?
It appears as though we are playing a shell game of which part of the government goes into debt to do the job it was design to do. Also this brings to mind what qualifications the school system has to do therapeutic treatments that should be done by someone trained specifically for this purpose. Or is the Department of Education just working its way into all aspects of our life so that it never gets cut back and only grows?
Whatever the reason is this monstrously large bill that was supposed to bring down costs is certainly having issues proving its worth beyond some kind of procedure requiring a band aid or the most cursory of treatment.
As an interesting PS to this story. I was on twitter venting about this and got pounded by several people from one of the two major political parties. One statement said, basically, I didn’t get it and that it was all for the “greater good.” Another insane defender of all things done by one party said that, essentially, not that long ago no one got anything.
The “no one got anything” statement is interesting because instead of fixing the problem by making sure everyone gets something we are stripping coverage on an obviously pre-existing condition and blaming corporate greed. I am my wits end with the partisan garbage. We no longer care about solving problems in this country merely about assigning blame. We do this while parents have to figure out how to help the very small children that we are supposed to be doing all of this to help. I will find a way to make sure Emmit gets what he needs, but it sure would be nice to be able to keep the coverage I liked, without that price going up yet again or coverage being reduced even further, but I can I can keep my doctor if I pay for it out of pocket while paying the insurance company to do less with more.
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Unless you’ve been in a cave the last 2 days, you know that the Supreme Court once again rewrote what Justice Antonin Scalia has taken to calling SCOTUSCare to judicially extend tax subsidies for purchasing health insurance to the poor and middle class purchasing insurance on federally-established insurance exchanges. Much has been made over said subsidies, with the Congressional Republicans preemtively saying that had the letter of the law been applied and said subsidies on the federally-established exchanges been struck down, they would rush in to “temporarily” allow those subsidies to happen through 2017.
However, the case itself was never about the subsidies themselves, but rather the penalt…er…taxes that those subsidies allowed to be applied. Indeed, both the majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts and the dissent written by Scalia admit that it is all about the tax, and in Roberts’ case, preserving what he transformed from a penalty to a tax.
As Scalia points out, the phrase “Exchange established by the State” appears innumerable times throughout the law. Indeed, it expressly defined the word “State” as “each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia”.
The goal of limiting the subsidies to those in states where the state set up the exchange rather than the federal government was to put political pressure on the states to be the proverbial bagmen for the federal government by offloading the cost of the exchanges from the federal government to the states. That the Democrats failed in their attempt to blackmail the states into becoming their bagmen (a wise fiscal decision, as those states that set up, or tried to set up, their own exchanges are finding to their peril) is not something for the IRS, or six Lawgivers-In-Black, to “correct”, especially when the Republicans said that they would do the “correcting” on at least a temporary basis.
The elimination of said subsidies in states with federally-established exchanges would, in a plain-text reading of the law, also eliminate the threat of the individual non-insurance tax for every couple, virtually every multi-member family, and most single people making between 100% and 400% of the poverty level in those states as the cost of the second-cheapest “silver” insurance plan would rise to above 8% of their income. Similarly, the two types of employer non-insurance tax are predicated on at least one “full-time” employee (that is, one who worked at least 130 hours in a given month) getting subsidized coverage, with the elimination of the subsidy eliminating the liability of those employers operating solely in those states.
Roberts, in defending his 2012 declaration that the individual tax is indeed a tax, admits that result would cause great financial harm to the overall SCOTUSCare scheme. Again, the role of a judge, even a Supreme Court Chief Justice, is not to save the other branches of federal government from bad financial bets through judicial rewrites of law, especially since Congressional Republicans vowed to do just that.
I guess we could count ourselves “fortunate” that my darker prediction of Roberts and his fellow Lawgivers-In-Black finding a way to keep the taxes fully-intact while striking down the subsidies didn’t happen. On the other hand, given the Congressional Republicans were going to fully-cave (though supposedly temporarily) on the issue of subsidies, I doubt that allowing them to keep the fig leaf of Kabuki Theatre Opposition will much matter. It will simply take a bit longer for them to do the expansion of SCOTUSCare that they previously did for Social Security (thrice) and Medicare.
I didn’t realize today was Orwell’s birthday but the irony of that quote is astounding considering Justice Robert’sOld Yellowstain’swords here:
The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting. (To cite just one, the Act creates three separate Section 1563s. See 124 Stat. 270, 911, 912.) Several features of the Act’s passage contributed to that unfortunate reality. Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors, rather than through “the traditional legislative process.” Cannan, A Legislative History of the Affordable Care Act: How Legislative Procedure Shapes Legislative History, 105 L. Lib. J. 131, 163 (2013). And Congress passed much of the Act using a complicated budgetary procedure known as “reconciliation,” which limited opportunities for debate and amendment, and bypassed the Senate’s normal 60-vote filibuster requirement. Id., at 159–167. As a result, the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.
Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
applies here as well
Petitioners’ plain-meaning arguments are strong, but the Act’s context and structure compel the conclusion that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act.
Customers with so-called “transitional plans” — those plans purchased after the passage of the ACA and allowed to be continued by the Obama administration in 2013 — will see the highest jump, with an average increase of 19.2 percent.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has asked state regulators for a 25.7 percent average rate increase on individual insurance plans purchased under the Affordable Care Act for 2016.
Gee, if only someone had warned the people this would happen. Oh wait.. someone did.
North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, who beat Obamacare supporting incumbant Kay Hagan in 2014, issued a statement. In the statement, Tillis called for an ‘off-ramp’ from Obamacare:
“Today’s announcement that North Carolinians covered under the President’s healthcare law will be hit with more crushing premium rate increases is yet another confirmation that the Affordable Care Act is not affordable and is creating hardship for millions of families. Hardworking Americans deserve an off-ramp from ObamaCare to a patient-directed healthcare market that will control costs and give them more freedom to make their own healthcare decisions.”
These hikes are hitting in other states, not just North Carolina.
Tennessee has it worse, Blue Cross is spiking rates up to 36% next year. New Mexico is getting slammed with a 51% hike. In Michigan, a hike by Blue Cross of over 11% is sought, amongst other insurers that seek up to a 37% increase.
Hawaii, whose Obamacare exchange is imploding, will see a huge hike – 49%.
Wall Street Journal reports hefty increases in multiple states, the average of which is 29% or more. The Wall Street Journal also notes these hikes must be justified to the Obama administration.
Reminder, this past March, President Obama taunted those who criticized Obamacare. Gee, Mr. President, We Told You So.
A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, StopCommonCoreNC.org and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885
After the high-profile failures of Oregon’s and Massachusetts’ state-run health-care exchanges, and the near-failures of several other state-run exchanges this time last year, the proponents of ObamaCare were hoping that the blood-letting of the remaining state-run exchanges was at an end. Indeed, there hadn’t been any further failures. According to an editorial in The Orange County Register, that’s about to change, with the biggest domino, Covered California, poised to fail.
Up until this year, Covered California had been using $1.1 billion in federal grant money as its major source of money to finance its operations. There will be no more federal money going into Covered California, or any other state-run exchange, as that spigot was shut off on January 1. Meanwhile, in accordance with ObamaCare dictates that the exchanges be “self-sufficient”, California’s legislature has prohibited the use of general state funds on Covered California.
According to The Register, Covered California currently says it expects to lose $78 million in Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016). It seems people haven’t been signing up as expected. As of the original deadline for 2015 coverage, February 15, Covered California was 300,000 short of its planned goal. Two extensions of that deadline, to April 30, have not, at least so far, appeared to come close to closing that gap. According to a study by Alavare Health, Covered California had the 3rd-worst enrollment growth, at 1%, and the 4th-worst re-enrollment rate, 65%.
After looking over the presentation given to the Covered California board at its March meeting, I’d say that $78 million projected loss looks to be a bit “optimistic”. Under what it termed the “medium” scenario, the expected FY2016 loss is $104 million, which would bring the cash reserves down to $184 million. Supposedly expenditures will drop and revenues increase, but given the combination of the First Rule of Government Expenditures (spending never actually decreases) and the overly-optimistic nature of revenue projections, Covered California isn’t long for this world.
Of course, the Congressional “Republicans” have the “fix” – explicitly allow the federal exchange to offer subsidies if the Supreme Court strikes down the executive-based version. They claim it would be “temporary” and would come with the repeal of the individual and employer mandates regarding health insurance, but given their other hard turns to the left (including approving Loretta Lynch as Attorney General), it will neither be “temporary” nor come with the repeal of any mandates.
For anyone who has read my blog posts you know I have opinions that really don’t fit with either of the two major political parties. I sit in a zone that is forgotten about largely called the common sense zone, and there is no place for that in government.
I have the Uncle Steve Imholt who recently retired. He spent multiple decades as a software engineer before becoming a software engineering manager for very large programs. He is no stranger to figuring out budgets, costs, and weaving his way through government forms. I should point out that many of the software programs he managed were for government contracts. The point is, if he can’t navigate through the hurdles of a Healthcare exchange program, who can?!?!?!?!
I got this email from him recently that made me wonder how we are all going to survive the “Affordable” Care Act Rollout. I won’t render any opinion on this entire healthcare law other than to say two things. There are some aspects of my family’s life that were once covered that now aren’t. The other is that the Allied Forces defeated Hitler during World War 2 in much less time than it is taking to get this healthcare exchange fixed.
Here is the emails, titled: NOT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT PAYING FOR HEALTH CARE COULD END UP KILLING ME.
It’s April 14, 2015 and I’m still struggling to finish my taxes. Why? Because I stopped working in September 2014.
I suppose you could call it retirement. But retirement wasn’t supposed to be so much like working.
You see, after working in IT for a long time. A good chunk of that was in health care, in both hospitals, and in the insurance side. So when 2014 hit with a ton of medical bills and retirement, I decided to itemize my health costs on my tax return. That meant I had to pull in a load of different documents from my company health savings account, the amounts I had to finance for my dentures, and about 19 different kinds of medical bills and payments. As I’m plowing through this I’m thinking, Thank God, I left COBRA in December and for 2015 only have Coventry obtained through the Healthcare.gov website.
You say so what? Well you’re going to hear the rest of the story.
I enrolled in the health coverage back in December to begin January 1. At that point, I wrote an email to the marketplace and attached a copy of my separation doc from employer saying I ended employment in September. In the email I said I believed my income would be about $70K for 2015 (a highly optimistic estimate). Using that figure the site came back with a really substantial subsidy. Still not sure how that happened, but what the heck.
In January I get a letter from the Health Insurance Marketplace saying I had not supplied sufficient documentation to justify I was earning only 70K. Actually I was unemployed until mid-February when I took a part time job because I needed to do something (retirement isn’t coming easy to me). I did the part time job for a couple of weeks but frankly, it was a lot more physical than I had originally thought. So I stopped working that and we (the wife and I) applied for early Social Security. So I used that information to send back an updated list with my pay stub from the part time job. I also indicated I thought I would be getting income as I needed from my IRA, to get me up to the 70K. This runaround eventually resulted in a long set of phone calls to the Marketplace to get my records updated – again.
I was told we were good to go.
Anyway, a week ago Friday, my wife gets notice from Social Security that her benefits would start in April for March (only the government can tell you in advance how much you are going to get for the past). Then Monday the 13th I get a call from the Social Security Admin asking why I wanted to delay getting my SS payments until April. I told the nice lady that I’d take them as soon as they could start them. While I may be dumb, I ain’t stupid.
So now I get to Tuesday. At 7PM on Tuesday I get an email from the Healthcare marketplace that I had failed to provide proper documentation on my income so I was no longer receiving the subsidy effective May 1. It was immediately followed into my in basket with an email stating that because of my recent application I could apply for benefits through June 15.
My initial reaction was HUH??? It was followed by lots of words, most of them unprintable, a few unintelligible.
I went and got a drink. Uncle Sam would have to wait until tomorrow for my taxes.
It’s now 3 AM on April 15, and I can’t sleep. So I get back up, finish plowing through the remainder of turbo tax and finally about 6:30 AM have them ready to e-file.
I go down, tell the wife, I think we are good to go on the taxes, but the health care was still a FUBAR.
I then make some coffee and spend a couple of minutes with my grandkids.
I decide it’s time to tackle the Health Insurance Marketplace emails. So I call the folks in London Kentucky. The support person after figuring out who I was, started looking through my files and decided that yes there was indeed a problem. She should get credit for keeping me from just starting to whimper in submission to the government. As she worked to figure out what had happened, it dawned on her and I that the SS payments that my wife was going to get was the reason our coverage had gotten s rejected.
She basically said, this was going to happen all over again, when they received word I was going to receive social security.
I decided to let that problem wait. But I did log back into the health exchange to see that my new friend at the exchange had emailed me to say I had until June 1 to get everything fixed.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
On Thursday morning I got an email from TurboTax saying my tax return had been rejected.
I tell you that this whole thing about Obamacare cutting the cost of health care is true. I’ll be dead long before I should have been making it work.
Why did I want to air this publicly? I see no end of ads coming in the next election cycle about all the smooth rollout of this health insurance exchange system.
If this is smooth, I would hate to see bumpy.
Timothy Imholt is the author of several novels, including the newly released book THE FINAL WORLD WAR, written around the premise that Iran does get nuclear weapons and decides to use them in the fashion they have openly stated they wanted to.
During the American Revolution, one of the major objections the colonists had was the taxation by the British crown without having any representation. While the problem of taxation without representation has been solved, it has been replaced by something almost as bad and nearly as destructive: taxation without understanding.
and there are costs for this ignorance
Being illiterate of the tax code has the same effect as actual illiteracy. It makes you dependent on others to tell you what is true and what is false. It allows you to be led. The more complicated the code the easier you are to manipulate. And that’s also why simplifying the tax code will be one of the hardest things to get done; too many people have a vested interest in keeping you in the dark.
Meanwhile with the passing of tax day 2015 we come a year closer to a tax day that Democrats dread:
the so called “Cadillac tax,” which is a 40 percent excise tax on high value health care plans. Like many parts of Obamacare, its implementation was put off to delay opposition.
It’s one of the last big parts of the Affordable Care Act to go into effect — lawmakers delayed the levy until 2018 in part because it is so controversial — but companies are wrestling with it now as they plan employee benefits. Some are already negotiating with unions over benefits that could spill into 2018.
And as my colleague here at Watchdog Arena, Moe Lane, points out, a lot of people didn’t think it would ever see the light of day
You’ll want to check out both pieces (and Moe’s too.) not to mention the rest of the great stuff at Watchdog.org