Thursday, November 18, 2010

Are the Airport Scanners Safe?

Are the scanners as safe as TSA claims? My guess is probably not. The fact that they haven't been properly studied, but are being pushed so hard elicits some red flags. TSA and GE have neglected to do the tests that doctors and scientists are demanding. They have disregarded expert questions repeatedly (when these experts have zero to gain and GE has 30 million).

Scientists and doctors (in the fields of biochemistry, biophysics, cancer research, x-ray crystallography and imaging) at UC San Francisco have raised some important concerns that are summarized below.

  • There has not been a meeting of an impartial panel of experts, including medical physicists and radiation biologists, where ALL of the available relevant data is reviewed.
  • The majority of the energy dose is delivered exclusively to the skin, which is dangerously high because it is not dispersed to the entire volume of the body. This is where TSA lied--see the next point.
  • TSA and GE misled the public by only getting indirect radiation testing (which shows the diluted dispersion throughout the body) rather than quantifying the Flux (the dose being deposited to the skin). They avoided the independent safety data so they could falsely claim that "It's like being on an airplane flight for 3 minutes".
  • If determining the Flux data (which is more relevant anyway) would put the whole radiation concern to rest, why hasn't this been done? Why are they avoiding it?
  • The danger to susceptible groups (children, elderly, the immunocompromised, pregnant women, those at risk for testicular and breast cancer) has not been studied sufficiently and specific guidelines have not been released regarding their risk.
  • Any glitch in the hardware or software that stops or slows the scan may cause an intense dose of radiation to a single spot on the skin. Will the TSA agent even notice the glitch? Who oversees it being fixed and ensures it is "safe" to use again?
  • What keeps a TSA agent from raising the dose just a bit to get higher resolution on a certain area they need to see clearly? What if the higher resolution is needed at particularly sensitive anatomy? Is this justified?
TSA has not been honest with the American people. Until the proper testing is done, why should we have to subject ourselves to these risks? (The solution is not to simply get the pat down instead. Groping of sexual areas by strangers doesn't increase our safety since the the likely location to hide things would require internal manual examination by airport staff).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Death Panels, VAT Tax on Their Way, Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Says

Nobel Prize winning economist (and I'll add, Keynesian disciple) Paul Krugman is recommending "Death Panels" and a VAT tax as needed measures to balance the budget and pay for the government's Medicare/Obamacare obligations.

Anyone surprised? Have they considered getting the government out of the health care business?

Via NewsBusters:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: But what is going to happen? I mean, are you clear on where a compromise is going to be? It's got to be discussed before the end of the year, no?

KRUGMAN: No. Some years down the pike, we're going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes. It's going to be that we're actually going to take Medicare under control, and we're going to have to get some additional revenue, probably from a VAT. But it's not going to happen now.

111 Obamacare Waivers Given Out by Obama Administration

Apparently the Health Care Reform Package was so great for our economy, 111 different companies and organizations (many of them associated with unions that backed Obama's election) have received waivers on the new regulations this year. Is this what Democrats meant when they said everyone needs to sacrifice a bit for the good of all?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Against Socialized Medicine: The One Minute Case

From One Minute Cases

There is no right to healthcare

The United States was founded with the declaration that all men have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The Founders recognized that all men have a moral right to be free from the coercion of others, as long as they allow others the same freedom. They believed that rights do not impose a positive obligation on others, but only the negative obligation to restrain from the initiation of force.

The claim that there is a “right to healthcare” violates the principle of individual rights because it requires that the liberty of doctors and the property of taxpayers be violated to provide for others. When the New Deal and Great Society programs forced doctors and taxpayers to become sacrificial offerings to the “common good”, the current “healthcare crisis” was born.

The myth of “free” healthcare

It is a common belief that when government provides something, it is free or cheap. But politicians cannot create wealth – they can only redistribute it. Money for all government spending comes from business – whether by entrepreneurial investment, the wages of patients, or taxes.

Whether by price controls of outright nationalization, when governments make prices artificially low, demand skyrockets, and shortages result. Politicians respond by passing ever more regulations to control costs. These regulations stifle innovation, drive up costs, and force healthcare providers out of business. The end result is to replace capitalism, the greatest wealth-generating system known to man, with an onerous system of central planning.

Capitalism cannot guarantee that all our medical needs will be provided for – no system can do that. But it does give entrepreneurs the incentive to compete to provide the best possible service they can. Centralized socialized systems have no incentive to improve service or to try bold new techniques. Politicians can force prices to be artificially low, but they cannot lower costs – they can only drive doctors, hospitals, and drug companies out of business.

The victims of “universal” healthcare

The waiting time for treatment in Canada varies from 14 to 30 weeks. Waiting lists for diagnostic procedures range from two to 24 weeks. Some patients die while waiting for treatment. To stop sick people from circumventing the “free” system, the government of British Columbia enacted Bill 82 in 2003, which makes it illegal to pay for private surgery. Patients waiting for critical procedures are now forced to seek procedures in the U.S. and doctors are abandoning Canada in droves. Cleveland, Ohio is now Canada’s hip-replacement center. Ontario is turning nurses into doctors to replace some of the 10,000 doctors who left Canada in the 1990’s. 1 2

What will patients do when it is illegal to seek private medical treatment in the U.S.? Politicians are already working towards that goal. State and federal regulation impose onerous regulations which forbid insurance companies from offering services such as basic coverage for emergencies by requiring coverage of many types of procedures. Medicare forces doctors to follow 130,000 pages of regulations. Critics often attack the “capitalist” nature of American health care system. The reality is that the government now pays for 50% of health care, and closely regulates the rest.

Healthcare is only affordable under capitalism

If a society is not wealthy enough to afford healthcare, health socialism will not make it richer. Cuba, a poster child of socialist healthcare schemes, spends $229 on healthcare per person each year, while the U.S. spends $ 6,096.3 Premium services are available only to paying foreigners, while natives must bribe doctors for timely treatment and bring their own towels, bed sheets, soap, food, and even sutures.4

A government can decide to replace individual choice with state-mandated decisions of what goods and services are more important for the “common good.” But it can only spend on one area at the expense of another. If Cubans are not totally deprived of medical treatment, it can only be at the expense of all other goods. A doctor’s salary in Cuba is 1.5 times the median at $15-20 per month. 5 A telling sign of their deprivation is the Cuban suicide rate, which is the highest in Latin America and among the highest in world. Cubans in Miami on the other hand, kill themselves less often than other Miamians.6 When they risk their lives in leaky boats to escape to the U.S., the right to make their own decisions regarding their health is among the freedoms they hope to gain.


  1. “Free Health Care in Canada” by Walter Williams
  2. “Do We Want Socialized Medicine?” by Walter Williams
  3. Reuters: Health care in Cuba more complicated than on SiCKO
  4. BBC: Keeping Cuba Healthy by John Harris
  5. “An Evaluation of Four Decades of Cuban Healthcare” by Felipe Eduardo Sixto (PDF)
  6. Miami Herald: “Study: Suicide epidemic exists under Castro” by Juan O. Tamayo

Further reading:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Obamacare to Cost 578% More than Expected, Liberal Group Annouces

The liberal health care reform advocacy group, Families USA, commissioned a study of how many Americans will be eligible for subsidies under Obamacare. The study found 28.6 million Americans will be eligible in 2014. The CBO had estimated the number to be only 7 million. The cost difference is $91 billion a year. If this is accurate, Obamacare will cause the deficit to rise as early as 2015.

Verum Serum reported:
A new study by the Lewin Group estimates that 28.6 million Americans will be eligible for a federal subsidy to purchase health insurance beginning in 2014 at a projected cost to tax payers in excess of $110 billion. This estimate is dramatically higher (578%) than the cost of these subsidies forecast by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prior to the bill’s enactment into law.

Instead of hanging their head in shame for helping sell the American taxpayers a lie, Families USA bragged about it in a press release.
Beginning in 2014, almost 29 million middle-income Americans will be eligible for new tax credits to help them afford private health insurance premiums. The historic tax cut in the health reform law, which is estimated to reduce family income taxes by more than $110 billion in 2014 alone, will be provided through tax credits to offset a significant portion of private insurance premium costs.

h/t Bluegrass Pundit

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

63,000 Doctor Shortage Coming

The Association of American Medical Colleges recently released estimates that doctor shortages would be 50% worse in 2015 than forecast. This means we will be short 63,000 doctors, and that's just in the next 5 years. It's expected to get worse.

Is there any surprise here? Was Congress not warned time and time again during the healthcare debate? This train wreck is going to barrel down the expected socialist course and any combination of the following will happen:

1. Government will enact risky legislation get nurses (2 yr education)acting as doctors (11 yr education)

2. Government will start screwing around with medical school--taxpayers footing tuition bills as an incentive for prospective students, easier graduation requirements, subsidies, faster graduation and/or residency requirements, etc.

3. Government will bring in doctors from other countries (not uncommon in socialized medicine)

Notice that all three paths involve "government" fixing a problem that they started. Let's pray that November 2nd can put America on a new course

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Obamacare Causes 22% Rate Hike in Connecticut Health Insurance Rate

The Hartford Courant reported:
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut requested a wide range of premium increases, which will take effect Oct. 1, to cover the costs of new benefits required by federal health reform. Higher prices mostly affect new members shopping for a health plan on the individual market rather than people who have group plans through an employer or some other organization.

The Connecticut Department of Insurance approved Anthem’s request without changes, including a boost of as much as 22.9 percent just to comply with one provision: eliminating annual spending limits per customer... (emphasis mine) Read more here.

But...but...President Obama promised his health care reform bill would lower health care insurance costs.

From (small pdf):

Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s plan strengthens employer–based coverage, makes insurance companies accountable and ensures patient choice of doctor and care without government interference. Under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year. If you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options. (emphasis mine)
Source: Blue Grass Pundit

Saturday, September 11, 2010

White House Threatens Insurance Companies For Telling Truth About Obamacare . . . Again

Kathleen Sebelius is irate health insurance companies are exercising their first amendment right and pointing out recent hikes in health premiums are the result of mandates in President Obama's Heath Care Reform bill. Under changes taking place in the last half of 2010, parents can keep their adult children on the health insurance until age 26, more preventative coverage was mandated, lifetime limes were eliminated and pre-exiting conditions were dropped for those under 18. All these changes will insurance companies money. They are passing that along to consumers and educating the public on why this is happening. The Obama administration doesn't want consumers to know the truth and has issued a near ultimatum to insurance companies. Shut up or else.

AP reported:
President Barack Obama's top health official on Thursday warned the insurance industry that the administration won't tolerate blaming premium hikes on the new health overhaul law.

"There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to the insurance lobby.

"Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections," Sebelius said. She warned that bad actors may be excluded from new health insurance markets that will open in 2014 under the law. They'd lose out on a big pool of customers, as many as 30 million people nationwide.

Source: Bluegrass Pundit

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Harry Reid Complains About New Health Care Law

Nancy Pelosi said they would have to pass the bill so people could learn what is in it. Harry Reid has learned something he doesn't like. Medicare payments to hospitals will be going down.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Missouri Votes Down Health Care Reform Law

Missouri became the first state this week to express their displeasure with the healthcare reform bill that was pushed by Democrats through congress into law, despite widespread opposition by a majority of Americans.
Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a key provision of President Barack Obama's health care law, sending a clear message of discontent to Washington and Democrats less than 100 days before the midterm elections.

With about 90 percent of the vote counted late Tuesday, nearly three-quarters of voters backed a ballot measure, Proposition C, that would prohibit the government from requiring people to have health insurance or from penalizing them for not having it.[...]

Louisiana and Virginia have passed similar statutes, and voters in Arizona and Oklahoma will vote on such measures as state constitutional amendments in November. But Missouri was the first state to challenge aspects of the federal law in a referendum.

[Read more]

Monday, August 2, 2010

Obamacare Lawsuit Upheld in VA

Let us hope this is the beginning of the repeal of this monstrous government power grab.

The state of Virginia can continue its lawsuit to stop the nation's new health care law from taking effect, a federal judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson said he is allowing the suit against the U.S. government to proceed, saying no court has ever ruled on whether it's constitutional to require Americans to purchase a product.

"While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate -- and tax -- a citizen's decision not to participate in interstate commerce," Hudson wrote in a 32-page decision.

"Given the presence of some authority arguably supporting the theory underlying each side's position, this court cannot conclude at this stage that the complaint fails to state a cause of action," he wrote.

The decision is a small step, but in no way minor matter to opponents of the health care bill rejected by all congressional Republicans but signed into law by President Obama earlier this year.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed the suit almost immediately after the law was signed, arguing that it conflicts with Virginia's legislation -- also passed this year -- exempting state residents from the requirement that all Americans be forced into health care coverage. Cuccinelli argued that the law violates the Constitution's Commerce Clause.

More than a dozen other state attorneys general have filed a separate lawsuit in Florida challenging the federal law, but Virginia's lawsuit is the first to go before a judge.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Obama Budget Director Confirms Death Panels

In this video clip, President Obama's budget director Peter Orszag discusses the immense powers (including the power to determine levels of care and reimbursement) granted to the unelected Independent Payment Advisory board under ObamaCare.

Orszag also reveals that the word “advisory” is a farce, because the panel can do pretty much anything it wants unless it is specifically voted down by congress and signed by the President.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Healthcare Reform WILL Raise Costs, Supressed HHS Report Said

Obama's Health and Human Services office recently admitted that they received a report from Medicare's Office of the Actuary days before the passage of the Health Care Reform package, clearly stating that the bill would raise health care costs and premiums. HHS Sec. Sibelius' office admits that they suppressed the the report so that the health care bill could pass.

This means that Obama's administration knew that their health care bill would raise costs and consumer premiums and knowingly lied when they claimed it would cut costs.

From American Spectator:
The economic report released last week by Health and Human Services, which indicated that President Barack Obama's health care "reform" law would actually increase the cost of health care and impose higher costs on consumers, had been submitted to the office of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius more than a week before the Congressional votes on the bill, according to career HHS sources, who added that Sebelius's staff refused to review the document before the vote was taken.

"The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote," says an HHS source. "Which is actually the point of having a review like this, you would think."

The analysis, performed by Medicare's Office of the Actuary, which in the past has been identified as a "nonpolitical" office, set off alarm bells when submitted. "We know a copy was sent to the White House via their legislative affairs staff," says the HHS staffer, "and there were a number of meetings here almost right after the analysis was submitted to the secretary's office. Everyone went into lockdown, and people here were too scared to go public with the report."

In the end, the report was released several weeks after the vote -- the review by the secretary's office reportedly took less than three days -- and bore a note that the analysis was not the official position of the Obama administration.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

NY: Healthcare Reform Drives Up Premiums, Creates Massive Deficits

In an astonishingly honest article yesterday, the New York Times admits that the policy in the Democrat Health Care Reform Bill making it illegal for insurance companies to "discriminate" against people with preexisting conditions who have not paid into the system has been going on in New York since 1993, with disastrous results.
New York’s insurance system has been a working laboratory for the core provision of the new federal health care law — insurance even for those who are already sick and facing huge medical bills — and an expensive lesson in unplanned consequences. Premiums for individual and small group policies have risen so high that state officials and patients’ advocates say that New York’s extensive insurance safety net for people like Ms. Welles is falling apart.[...]

In 1993, motivated by stories of suffering AIDS patients, the state became one of the first to require insurers to extend individual or small group coverage to anyone with pre-existing illnesses.

New York also became one of the few states that require insurers within each region of the state to charge the same rates for the same benefits, regardless of whether people are old or young, male or female, smokers or nonsmokers, high risk or low risk.

Healthy people, in effect, began to subsidize people who needed more health care. The healthier customers soon discovered that the high premiums were not worth it and dropped out of the plans. The pool of insured people shrank to the point where many of them had high health care needs. Without healthier people to spread the risk, their premiums skyrocketed, a phenomenon known in the trade as the “adverse selection death spiral.”

“You have a mandate that’s accessible in theory, but not in practice, because it’s too expensive,” said Mark P. Scherzer, a consumer lawyer and counsel to New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage, an advocacy group. “What you get left clinging to the life raft is the population that tends to have pretty high health needs.”

Since 2001, the number of people who bought comprehensive individual policies through HMOs in New York has plummeted to about 31,000 from about 128,000, according to the State Insurance Department.

At the same time, New York has the highest average annual premiums for individual policies: $6,630 for single people and $13,296 for families in mid-2009, more than double the nationwide average, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry group.

The Democrats, have tried to prevent this from happening on a national level by forcing the well people to buy health insurance and redistributing their premiums to pay for the sick and belatedly paying people. But since they are not trying that hard to enforce this (either because they are afraid of the people revolting or because they want the system to fail: take your pick), our nation is headed down the same path of higher premiums, national debt, health care rationing and ultimately socialized medicine.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Obamacare to Cause 150,000 Doctor Shortage in 15 Years

There is already a shortage of primary care physicians and few are in the pipeline.
“The number of U.S. medical school students going into primary care has dropped 51.8% since 1997, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Considering it takes 10 to 11 years to educate a doctor, the drying up of the pipeline is a big concern to health-care experts.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates there will be a shortage of up to 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years due to passage of Obamacare. There aren't any provisions in the Democrats health care reform bill to address this serious shortage.

The WSJ reported:
The new federal health-care law has raised the stakes for hospitals and schools already scrambling to train more doctors.

Experts warn there won’t be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

That shortfall is predicted despite a push by teaching hospitals and medical schools to boost the number of U.S. doctors, which now totals about 954,000.

The greatest demand will be for primary-care physicians. These general practitioners, internists, family physicians and pediatricians will have a larger role under the new law, coordinating care for each patient.

The U.S. has 352,908 primary-care doctors now, and the college association estimates that 45,000 more will be needed by 2020. But the number of medical-school students entering family medicine fell more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007.

A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients.

Hat Tip: Bluegrass Pundit

Monday, April 12, 2010

60 Hospitals Canceled Due to Obamacare

More casualties of the disastrous Health Care legislation passed 3 weeks ago.
More than 60 doctor-owned hospitals across the country that were in the development stage will be canceled, said Molly Sandvig, executive director of Physician Hospitals of America (PHA).

“That’s a lot of access to communities that will be denied,” Sandvig told “The existing hospitals are greatly affected. They can’t grow. They can’t add beds. They can’t add rooms. Basically, it stifles their ability to change and meet market needs. This is really an unfortunate thing as well, because we are talking about some of the best hospitals in the country.”

The organization says physician-owned hospitals have higher patient satisfaction, greater control over medical decisions for patients and doctor, better quality care and lower costs. Further, physician-owned hospitals have an average 4-1 patient-to-nurse ratio, compared to the national average of 8-1 for general hospitals.

Further, these 260 doctor-owned hospitals in 38 states provide 55,000 jobs, $2.4 billion in payroll and pay $509 million in federal taxes, according to the PHA.

In one ironic aspect, President Barack Obama’s two largest legislative achievements clashed. The Hammond Community Hospital in North Hammond, Ind., got $7 million in bond money from the federal stimulus act in 2009. It will likely be scrapped because of the new rules on physician-owned hospitals, according to the Post-Tribune newspaper in Merrillville, Ind.

CNS News

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Doctor to Obama Supporters: Find Health Care 'Elsewhere'

America can't keep forcing doctors and hospitals into modern-day slavery by continually cutting their reimbursements, micro-managing their professional decisions and publicly accusing them of being greedy, and not expect to have a mass revolt on their hands. Doctors just want to make their patients better and be reasonably paid for their sacrifice of decades of intensive schooling and hours of stressful work. (They do have an average of $250k school debt to pay off, after all.) If there is anyone who should be making 6-figure-incomes in our country, it is these people who directly save lives everyday. Yet, our government is trying to force them to do more for less. You have it coming, America. Try to get our healthcare industry under your thumb and you will end up with no more good doctors or hospitals and more people dying from denied and inferior care.

A Florida doctor who opposes the new health care law posted a sign on his office door telling patients who voted for President Obama to get care "elsewhere," the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The sign on Dr. Jack Cassell's door reads, "Changes to your health care begin right now. Not in four years," the Sentinel said.

Cassell, a urologist, told the newspaper that he's not turning anyone away.

"That would be unethical," he said. "But if they read the sign and turn the other way, so be it."

A registered Republican, Cassell is providing his patients with photocopies of a health-care timeline produced by Republican leaders that outlines "major provisions" in the health care law -- and he's placed a sign above the stack of copies that reads, "This is what the morons in Washington have done to your health. Take one, read it and vote out anyone who voted for it."

Cassell told the newspaper that a patient's politics wouldn't affect his care for them, but he added he would prefer not to treat people who support Obama.

"I can at least make a point," he said.

[Source: FoxNews]

Friday, April 2, 2010

Obamacare Hid New Tax on Working Families

Surprise, surprise! Hidden somewhere in the middle of the 2309 pages of the Obamacare bill is a new tax that will be automatically deduct hundreds a month from your paycheck unless you opt out in time (and no one seems to know how to opt out yet).

The hidden "Class Act" (aka. “Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act”) will cost you about $150-$240 a month (up to $2,880 a year), and more if you are older. The collected funds (estimated to total $109 billion by 2019) are supposed to go into a fund to pay for long-term care for the elderly. Critics, however, suggest that this "long-term care insurance" program will not fair any better than Medicare and Social Security, which have plunged our nation into $720 billion of debt and growing fast.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Obamacare Hits More Companies

Joining John Deere, Caterpillar, Medtronic, Verizon, Massachusetts Medical Device Manufacturers and AT&T, are Prudential Financial and Sallie Mae.
"Insurer Prudential Financial Inc. said Monday that it will take a $100 million charge in the first quarter in relation to the recent health care overhaul legislation." [AP]

"Powerhouse student loan provider Sallie Mae says layoffs are imminent as a result of President Obama's new student loan overhaul. This legislation will force Sallie Mae to reduce our 8,600-person workforce by 2,500," Conwey Casillas, Vice President of Sallie Mae Public Affairs, said in a statement to Fox News.[...]

"The student loan provisions buried in the health care legislation intentionally eliminate valuable default prevention services and private sector jobs at a time when our country can least afford to lose them," Casillas told Fox News.

"We are profoundly disappointed that a reform plan that would have achieved more savings for students was ignored and now thousands of student loan experts will unnecessarily lose their jobs," Casillas said." [Fox]

USA Today: 2/3 Americans Oppose Obamacare

No matter how Democrats try to fool themselves (and us) that their Health Care Reform was for our own good and the people will learn to like it, reality keeps showing that they are absolutely wrong.
"Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government's role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.

"Those surveyed are inclined to fear that the massive legislation will increase their costs and hurt the quality of health care their families receive, although they are more positive about its impact on the nation's health care system overall.[...]

"Obama's approval rating was 47%-50% — the first time his disapproval rating has hit 50%.

" A plurality predicts the law will improve health care coverage generally and the overall health of Americans. [...] Pluralities say it will make coverage and quality of care worse for them. By 50%-21%, they predict it will make their costs higher.[...]

"There was a strong reaction against the tactics Democratic leaders used to pass the bill. A 53% majority call Democratic methods "an abuse of power;" 40% say they are appropriate.

"And when asked about incidents of vandalism and threats that followed the bill's passage, Americans are more inclined to blame Democratic political tactics than critics' harsh rhetoric. Forty-nine percent say Democratic tactics are "a major reason" for the incidents, while 46% blame criticism by conservative commentators and 43% the criticism of Republican leaders."

(Source: USA Today)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Millions of Seniors to Lose Prescription Coverage Under Obamacare

AT&T recently joined the growing list of companies to announce that the new regulations imposed on them by the recently-passed health care reform mandate will force them to drop key benefits from their employee and retired employee health care coverage plans.
AT&T on Friday said it will record a $1 billion non-cash expense in the first quarter related to the newly passed health-care law, joining a growing list of large U.S. companies.

The AT&T /quotes/comstock/13*!t/quotes/nls/t (T 26.24, +0.09, +0.34%) write-down is the largest reported so far. Caterpillar /quotes/comstock/13*!cat/quotes/nls/cat (CAT 62.44, +0.30, +0.48%) this week recorded a $100 million charge in the first quarter and Deere & Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!de/quotes/nls/de (DE 60.56, +0.36, +0.60%) said it will report a one-time $150 million expense.

Among its many changes, the new health-care law eliminated a tax deduction that companies used to cut the cost of drug-benefit programs for retired workers. President Obama signed the massive health-care overhaul into law earlier this week in a big victory for ruling Democrats.

Yet companies that still offer retiree drug benefits, mostly older industrial concerns or those with unionized employees, say the end of the deduction could force them to alter their benefit plans. In other words, they might curtail or even cancel them.

"As a result of this legislation, including the additional tax burden, AT&T will be evaluating prospective changes to the active and retiree health care benefits offered by the company," AT&T said in a filing with the government on Friday.

[Market Watch]

Update: Democrat cronies Reps. Waxman and Stupak have called the CEOs of Caterpillar, Verizon and Deere in for questioning and to try to get them to recant their announcements of the reality of the situation caused by the passage of Obamacare.

More Washington thuggery? Our country is looking more and more like Atlas Shrugged every day Democrats are in power.

Another Update: Add Prudential Financial to the list as well, they are estimating an $100 million hit in their first quarter because of the Democrat Health Care Reform package.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Obamacare Forgets the Children

Obama promised that no American would be denied health care due to a pre-existing condition as soon as his health care reform bill was passed. Unfortunately, it looks like with all the hype someone forgot to actually write that into the bill. From AP:
Hours after President Barack Obama signed historic health care legislation, a potential problem emerged. Administration officials are now scrambling to fix a gap in highly touted benefits for children.

Obama made better coverage for children a centerpiece of his health care remake, but it turns out the letter of the law provided a less-than-complete guarantee that kids with health problems would not be shut out of coverage.

Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill Obama signed into law Tuesday.[...]

Full protection for children would not come until 2014, said Kate Cyrul, a spokeswoman for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, another panel that authored the legislation. That's the same year when insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to any person on account of health problems.

Obama's public statements have conveyed the impression that the new protections for kids were more sweeping and straightforward.

First Troubles with Obamacare: It's a massive Job Killer

It's only one day after President Obama signed his Health Care Reform bill into law and already the nation is suffering from it.

“Deere & Company, Iowa’s Largest Manufacturing Employer, Said In A Statement This Morning That The Recently-Passed Health Care Legislation Will Cost The Company $150 Million After Tax This Year. (Des Moines Register, 3/25/10)

“Even Before President Obama Signed The Bill On Tuesday, Caterpillar Said It Would Cost The Company At Least $100 Million More In The First Year Alone. Medical Device Maker Medtronic Warned That New Taxes On Its Products Could Force It To Lay Off A Thousand Workers. Now Verizon Joins The Roll Of Businesses Staring At Adverse Consequences.” (The Wall Street Journal, 3/25/10)
“A Dire Warning From Bay State Medical-Device Companies That A New Sales Tax In The Federal Health-Care Law Could Force Their Plants - And Thousands Of Jobs - Out Of The Country...”
“‘This Bill Is A Jobs Killer,’ Said Ernie Whiton, Chief Financial Officer Of Chelmsford’s Zoll Medical Corp., Which Employs About 650 People In Massachusetts. Many of those employees work in Zoll’s local manufacturing facility making heart defibrillators.”
“‘We Could Be Forced To (Move) Manufacturing Overseas If We Can’t Pass Along These Costs To Our Customers,’ Said Whiton.” (“Beware The ‘Jobs Killer’,” Boston Herald, 3/25/10).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Public Rejects Obamacare, House Passes Bill

If the public were to vote on whether to accept they Health Care Reform bill, they would soundly reject it by a 8 to 18% margin according to the latest polls. (For comparison, Obama won the presidency in 2008 by 7.2%.)

The House of Representatives just passed the bill 219-212.

Guess which vote counts?

Stupack "Defender of Life" Award Revoked

The Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund have announced that they are revoking its "Defender of Life" award to Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI), for reversing his decision on the health care bill after receiving a questionable promise by Obama that he will make sure abortion will not be funded by taxpayer money.

"We were planning to honor Congressman Stupak for his efforts to keep abortion-funding out of health care reform. We will no longer be doing so," Dannenfelser said. "Let me be clear: any representative, including Rep. Stupak, who votes for this health care bill can no longer call themselves 'pro-life.'"

Stupak, who led Democratic lawmakers opposed to the Senate bill, made an announcement of a deal Sunday afternoon, surrounded by a handful of Democratic lawmakers who had held out their "yes" votes in exchange for Obama's guarantee of no public funding for abortion.

The arrangement appeared to cement passage of the Health Care government takeover.

Healthcare Bill Bribes Read on Floor of House of Representatives

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) read off a list of bribes and kickbacks on that are still included in Obamacare on the House floor. Do the recipients of these bribes really think that they will go unnoticed by the American people?

Here is a partial list of the "special deals" included in the Health Care legislation currently being voted on in the House (c/o : American Daughter):
  1. The Louisiana Purchase: A state in which every single county qualifies as a disaster area will receive extra Medicaid funding. Louisiana is the only state that qualifies, courtesy of hurricane Katrina. This $300 million bribe purchased the support of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) for the Senate version of the bill.
  2. Cornhusker Kickback: Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) won a provision that the full amount of Nebraska’s increased Medicaid costs would be paid for by the federal government. Essentially, he felt that the other 49 states (yes, Barack, there are only 50 states) should pick up the tab for Nebraska. That certainly violates the intent of the “commerce clause.”
  3. Gator Aid, Florida Flim Flam, Sunshine State Sweepstakes (this one picked up three names): Medicare Advantage participants in five states would be exempted from the general Medicare cuts — Florida, New York, California, Oregon, New Jersey. The estimated cost of this plum is $7.5 billion according to the office of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Florida is the largest beneficiary, with the bulk of the affected senior population.
  4. Vermont Green: The Senate bill provides $600 million in extra Medicaid funds to Vermont, ensuring support from Independent Bernard Sanders (I-VT).
  5. Massachusetts Moolah: The Senate bill provides $500 million extra for Massachusetts Medicaid, a political move designed to put pressure on newly elected Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA).
  6. The Dodd Deal: In oh-so-innocent and unspecific wording, the Senate bill allows $100 million for “debt service of, or direct construction of, a health care facility,” at a public university. Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) bragged that he was securing the money for the University of Connecticut:

    “These provisions will bring millions of dollars to the state so that Connecticut’s residents can receive quality, affordable health care.”

  7. Montana Earmark: Max Baucus (D-MT) secured a provision that expands Medicare coverage for people who live “in or around the geographic area subject to an emergency declaration made as of June 17, 2009.” That’s just one place, which the New York Times identifies:

    The intended beneficiaries are identified in a cryptic, mysterious way: individuals exposed to environmental health hazards recognized as a public health emergency in a declaration issued by the federal government on June 17.

    And who might those individuals be? It turns out they are people exposed to asbestos from a vermiculite mine in Libby, Mont.

    For a decade, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, has been trying to get the government to help them. He is in a position to deliver now because he is chairman of the Finance Committee and a principal author of the health care bill.

  8. Bismarck Bank Job: This deal bought the vote of Rep. Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, the state’s only House Democrat. Legislation to restructure the student loan program was included in the health care bill. It cuts all the banks that have been making student loans out of the program, except for one bank in North Dakota!
This is not including the senators and representatives who are bing offered cushy appointments in exchange for their cooperation.

Paul Ryan's Medicare Solution

A video that shows us many things:
  1. Democrats are lying when they claim that Republicans haven't brought forth any solutions for the health care crisis.
  2. Democrats can't understand any of the Republican plans (probably because they don't understand economics and the health care system).
  3. Democrats are not at all worried about Medicare going bankrupt by 2019.
  4. Democrats certainly don't want to give all Americans the kind of health care they enjoy

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lies! The Bill Is NOT Deficit Neutral!

The CBO, when scoring the bill, must make certain assumptions. Because they are supposed to be politically neutral, these assumptions are limited to the words of the bill in front of them, even if its contents are false or delusional. Furthermore, the President and members of the Congress have misquoted the bill in hopes of proving financial viability. Here are some serious deficit issues with the the bill and it's reconciliation items, thankfully highlighted by, which aren’t being broadcasted in the mainstream media:

  • They elimination of the “doc fix” (which motivates doctors to accept Medicare patients) of $371 billion is being counted as savings. Problem is, government healthcare is screwed without the doc fix so it’s going to be included in another separate bill i.e. it can’t be considered a savings because is going to be spent sooner or later.
  • Over half of the savings in the first 10 years is supposed to come from the CLASS Act where people pay for premiums up front for benefits received later. They’re counting the payments as savings but not subtracting the benefits paid out later.
  • The bill contains billions of cuts to Medicare. However, these cuts are widely unpopular, especially considered the upcoming baby-boomers, and in reality will probably not be totally implemented. Just like the doc fix elimination—it’s wishful thinking, at least under this administration.
  • In the first 10 years the bill includes years of revenue with only a few years of expenses to make the spending will look smaller. When the bill fully goes into effect, the spending is closer to 2.5 trillion, not the 1 trillion advertised by the White House.
  • The reconciliation package includes a tax on high cost premiums that would be implemented in 2018, which based on general inflation will end up taxing more and more of the middle class. Essentially, this puts the tax collection responsibility on a future President and Congress who may not be willing to risk doing this to the middle class.
  • The plan increases premium assistance subsidies paid to poor families, but indexes their value below the growth in the premiums so it looks less than it actually is after 2019. (FYI, this makes it more expensive for an employer to hire someone poor which will hurt lower class job opportunities. It also contains requirements that make it more expensive to higher more than 49 workers, which obviously creates disincentive not to expand and hire more people).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Big Lie of Health Care Reform

This article over on American Thinker is right on all accounts in its description of our current health care system, what is wrong with it, and how the Democrat-Obama-Pelosi-Reid "Reform" Plan will not only make it much much worse, but hand over one sixth of the economy to the control of the federal government:
One-Sixth of the US Economy is threatened with a takeover by the Federal Government on the erroneous rationale that "Tens of millions of people in the US are without health care insurance, and therefore are being denied access to adequate health care." Unjust! Unfair!

This is, of course, an absolute lie. And nor do some large number of people "die every day from lack of health insurance coverage." That too is a lie.

Access to the health care providers (professional services) and medicine (products) of the best health care system in the world is already universal and available to every US Citizen, legal resident, illegal alien, prisoner, detainee, or visitor - regardless of whether anyone is covered by any insurance policy or health plan. For heaven's sake, even the illegal aliens have figured out that anyone who walks into an Emergency Room is required by law (EMTALA) to be treated, regardless of the person's ability to pay.

The Big Lie: Without health care insurance, there is no access to health care.

Health care insurance coverage is but one method of paying for health care products and services. Doctors and hospitals are quite open to accepting cash, checks, or credit cards for their services rendered and have no problem with getting paid directly -- meaning they get their money right away, don't have to fill out and file mounds of bureaucratic paperwork with insurance companies, don't have to worry about what treatments are approved and reimbursable by the insurance companies, etc.

In fact, when health care is directly paid for by a patient, then issues like preexisting conditions, escalating premium rates, denied claims, dropped policies, and all of the regularly lamented shortcomings of the health insurance industry become moot. Case in point: elective surgery such as breast augmentation is a medical procedure that isn't covered by any health insurance, but somehow there doesn't seem to be any access issues to the procedure or lack of them occurring.

And yet most people are led to believe that they simply can't afford to pay for their own health services directly. That's why they purchase health insurance, or their employer purchases it for them as an employee benefit. Actually, this too is a great misunderstanding of the problems with respect to health insurance coverage, which are completely distinct issues from access to actual health care services.

Any form of insurance (Home, Car, Flood, Health Care, etc.) is nothing more than a financial instrument used to mitigate an unacceptable potential financial risk. Insurance wouldn't work unless more people are paying into a common pool than are taking money out of it. The whole idea of insurance coverage is to spread financial risk among many people so that any one member isn't hit with some catastrophic expense should a major need occur. But in many respects, most health insurance coverage has been expanded in scope to become some kind of "Health Services Subscription Club" that pays for many services that really don't represent unacceptable financial risks by themselves.

Indeed, overpaying beyond an individual's actual needs via insurance premiums is a viable means to avoid getting hit with major medical expenses. However, that's why they invented Catastrophic Insurance Policies -- i.e. those cheaper high-deductible plans that don't kick in until direct expenses go over a few thousand dollars.

Regardless, even without any kind of health insurance policy whatsoever or ObamaCare, if someone gets in a car wreck, the ambulance will still respond and take the injured to the Emergency Room, where they will be treated regardless of their ability to pay. It's already the law.

The whole ObamaCare health care reform debate isn't really about people who already have health insurance; rather, it's supposedly being crafted for the benefit of all those who are without coverage, who need it, but can't afford it. Nevertheless, if tomorrow the government bought health insurance policies for everyone who doesn't have one, that wouldn't make access to health care services any more available than they already are.

To the contrary, the law of supply and demand dictates that if 30 million or more new customers are added to a market place (the demand), and there is no proportional increase in the number of service providers (the supply), then prices will go up as service availability goes down -- which means the whole system gets worse for everyone -- not better.

The real issue is that there are those who wish to argue that, despite all the adverse (if not catastrophic) consequences of ObamaCare to the system, health care is a "basic human right" and therefore the basis for a massive new government entitlement program. But health care isn't an "inalienable right" -- it's a basic human necessity -- just like food, clothing and shelter. All of these basic human necessities are bought and sold every day in the free market in the context of the goods and services that they really are.

The simple reality is this: there are those in our society who can afford these necessities, and there are those in our society who can't. For those who can't afford the basic human necessity of proper health care -- just like food, clothing, and shelter -- that need becomes the basis of voluntary charity and aid.

Conversely, the government version of involuntary charity via taxation is called "Welfare." So whether it's private charity or a government welfare program that helps people buy something they otherwise couldn't afford but need, that's fine; just recognize that's the issue -- not an entitled right, not an access or availability problem, not a lack of insurance policies.

Now if making health care more affordable for everyone is really the goal, to thereby lower the threshold of who can readily pay for it directly and/or indirectly via an insurance policy, and thus reduce the necessity of charity and/or welfare for those who need assistance, then free market business forces, scientific and technological advances, along with increased competition -- not intrusive government forces -- are the answers.

Consider one mathematical fact: the purchase of 30 million new insurance policies that cost $5,000 each is only $150 billion, which is a fraction of the real price tag of ObamaCare.

One can therefore reasonably conclude that ObamaCare isn't really about making health care more available or affordable to those who need it and can't afford it. It isn't about lowering insurance costs or reducing the federal deficit -- what has been proposed achieves none of these objectives.

ObamaCare is simply a leviathan of a lie, whose only practical impact for generations to come will be increased welfare state dependency on government, greater government intrusion, and control over people's personal lives and privacy, reduced availability of health care providers as more of them are driven from their professions -- all of which translates to higher and higher costs, which only accelerates the country's financial death spiral.

But that's to be expected: most grandiose plans predicated on lies don't end well.

Robert Gelinas

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Reconciliation of Healthcare Bill faces Massive Gridlock in Congress

If the House can pass the Senate version of Obamacare, and that is a big if, Republicans plan to bleed the reconciliation bills to death by using the “Byrd rule.” According to the “Byrd rule,” only budgetary items can be passed by the reconciliation process; not policy items. The Obamacare reconciliation bills will contain many items that relate to policy. Republicans will have those stripped out, one by one, and force the House to keep revolting on the changed bill.

From The Plum Line:
Senior Senate GOP leadership aides have settled on a new strategy that, they hope, will stall or kill the Dem health reform push: They are going to use the arcane “Byrd rule” to try to bleed the reconciliation fix to death and ensure that it never passes.

Senior GOP aides have been studying the rule book in recent days, and they think they have a game plan. Here’s how they hope it will work.

At risk of oversimplification, the Byrd rule is designed to ensure that reconciliation is used to only make budgetary fixes, not policy ones, to existing legislation. Presuming the House passes the Senate bill, the House will then pass a reconciliation fix to the bill, after which the Senate will then try to pass that fix, too.

At this point Senate GOPers will repeatedly invoke the Byrd rule to ask the parliamentarian to strip individual provisions (ones fixing this or that in the original bill) out of the fix, on the grounds that they are policy fixes. If individual provisions are stripped, it would change the Senate’s version of the overall fix.

That would force the House to vote on it again and again, stalling the process further.

“The bottom line is that it is incredibly difficult to craft a reconciliation bill on health care that isn’t subject to multiple Byrd rule violations,” says one senior Senate GOP aide, who was granted anonymity to preview their strategy. “House Dems are likely to be voting on a reconciliation bill multiple times.”

If 'Blue Dog' Democrats fall for their party leadership's snake oil, they are likely to be left hanging. Republicans may block the changes they are demanding and Obama, Reid and Pelosi really don't want to make the changes they want anyway.

[Hat Tip: Blue Grass Pundit]

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Obama: 60 Votes to Pass Healthcare Needed

At least four times in the past few years, Obama has stressed that a 60% majority in the senate will be needed to pass any healthcare reform bill. This rule was originally created in the Senate to encourage bipartisanship and prevent any single party from forcing an unpopular agenda.

Unfortunately, with the unpopularity of his current bill, Obama is going back on his word and instructing Pelosi and Reed to ram the bill through in a rare procedure called reconciliation (aka, the "nuclear option") that is only supposed to be used for passing budgets.

Along with every single Republican, many Democrats in the senate are uncomfortable with this abuse of procedure. Senator Robert Byrd, a far-from-conservative Democrat who was involved in creating the reconciliation process in 1974 had this to say:
I oppose using the budget reconciliation process to pass the health care reform and climate change legislation. Such a proposal would violate the intent and spirit of the budget process, and do serious injury to the Constitutional role of the Senate.

As one of the authors of the reconciliation process, I can tell you that the ironclad parliamentary procedures it authorizes were never intended for this purpose. Reconciliation was intended to adjust revenue and spending levels in order to reduce deficits. It was not designed to cut taxes. It was not designed to create a new climate and energy regime, and certainly not to restructure the entire health care system.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pelosi's "Trick" to Pass Heath Care Bill Debacle

For months, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid, and President Obama held secret meetings in an attempt to pass government-run health care. Then, after losing a Senate seat in Massachusetts and their filibuster-proof majority along with it, the Democrats publicly stated that they would work with Republicans on health care... but we have just learned their true intentions.

President Obama publicly called for a bi-partisan approach, even asking Republicans for an open televised session. But the truth has been exposed through news articles reporting that Speaker Pelosi's top health care aide is telling insiders their real plan.

Their secret plan is to pass two bills, using a procedure called reconciliation to avoid a filibuster in the Senate. One of the bills will be the pro-abortion Senate bill, which includes taxpayer funding for abortion. Then comes the trick...

Pelosi's top health care aide said, "the reconciliation bill would trump the Senate bill... There's a certain skill, there's a trick, but I think we'll get it done." Given the Congressional leadership's commitment to federal funding for abortion, you can be sure the trick will include abortion funding.

Once again we see that the will of the American people doesn't matter, and the Congressional leadership will stop at nothing to pass their bloated "healthcare" bill that will ruin our helathcare system and plunge our country into unsustainable debt! We must keep up the pressure and make sure that they are stopped.

The pro-abortion lobby is salivating at the prospect of federally-funded abortions. According to Planned Parenthood, "we've never had a better chance" for a government takeover of health care and the funds for the largest expansion of abortion in America since Roe v. Wade.

This is outrageous. We all know that Washington politicians have a knack for saying one thing and doing another, but this takes duplicity to new heights. The stakes for protecting innocent life could not be higher and, as this news further demonstrates, the pro-abortion forces will stop at nothing to get taxpayer dollars for their work.

[Life News]

Monday, February 8, 2010

Obama Agreed to Negotiations Without Preconditions for Iran, But Not for Republicans

President Obama has agreed to negotiations with Iran without preconditions, but he won't do the same for health care reform negotiations with Republicans. Obama insists on starting with the Democrats plan and the precondition health care reform must be a massive overhaul takeover of the system.

From Legal Insurrection:
Barack Obama was steadfast during the campaign and after his election in his willingness to enter into negotiations with Iran without preconditions.

But Obama is not willing to enter into health care negotiations with Republicans without preconditions.

In inviting Republicans to the negotiating table for the first time later this month, Obama has imposed the precondition that the negotiations start with the Democratic versions of health care legislation:

White House aides quickly rejected the idea that Obama wants to start over after nearly a year of contentious legislative haggling among members of his party.

Officials said the president will come to the health-care summit armed with a merged version of the two bills that Democrats strong-armed through the two chambers with almost no GOP backing.

"This is not starting over," one White House official said, who requested anonymity in order to discuss administration strategy. "Don't make any mistake about that. We are coming with our plan. They can bring their plan."

The official added: "What the president will not do is let this moment slip away. He hopes to have Republican support in doing so -- but he is going to move forward on health reform."
Source: Bluegrass Pundit

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Declaration of Health Care Independance

Yet one more time, President Obama repeated the falsehood in his state of the union address that Republicans have not brought any suggestions on health care reform to the table. In fact, several GOP reps and the Tea Party Patriots have created the following "Declaration of Health Care Independence" that lists their grievances with the current Democrat health care reform plan and gives several strong suggestions on what should be in any legislation to improve health care in America.

Declaration of Health Care Independence

In order to retain the Blessings of Liberty as secured to us by our Founding Fathers and as expressed in our Constitution, We the People reject the imposition upon us of a new, Washington-controlled system of government-run health care. We demand Constitutional protection of the right to make our own health decisions and our own health care choices free of government denials, bureaucratic red-tape, and greater intergenerational debt. A Washington takeover of American health care will
  • Deny fundamental personal and economic liberties and indisputably violate the Principle of Limited Government as established by the Constitution;
  • Impose increased costs and taxes upon individuals, families, and businesses, as well as taxpayers at the federal, state, and local levels;
  • Irreparably cripple the American economy, at the cost of jobs, businesses, productivity, and quality of life;
  • Create an inescapable new tax by imposing individual and employer mandates;
  • Institutionalize a massive, ever-expanding federal bureaucracy that is impersonal and impractical;
  • Empower bureaucrats to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship, undermine the quality of care, limit choice, and increase the cost of health care.

We have appealed to the decency of the elected majority to respect the rights of all Americans, but their leaders have been deaf to the Voice of the People. We are appalled by their cavalier disregard of the Constitution and of the demands of the People. We are repulsed by their blatant political bribes and kickbacks.

We, therefore, the People and Representatives of the United States of America, do solemnly Publish and Declare that health care reform, as a matter of principle must
  • Protect as inviolate the vital doctor-patient relationship;
  • Reject any addition to the crushing national debt heaped upon all Americans;
  • Improve, rather than diminish, the quality of care that Americans enjoy;
  • Be negotiated publically, transparently, with genuine accountability and oversight, and be free from political favoritism;
  • Treat private citizens at least as well as political officials;
  • Protect taxpayers from compulsory funding of abortion;
  • Reject all new mandates on patients, employers, individuals, or states;
  • Prohibit expansion of taxpayer funded health care to those unlawfully present in the United States;
  • Guarantee Equal Protection under the law and the Constitution;
  • Empower, rather than limit, an open and accessible marketplace of health care choice and opportunity.
Click here to sign this declaration

Thursday, January 21, 2010

US Ranks 37th in Healthcare? Not Quite...

Many liberals justify scrapping our current healthcare system for a socialist one by citing a World Health Organization study that ranked the US poorly against other countries. A closer look at the study and its criteria, however, shows that it is grossly misleading and should NOT be a reason to move towards socialized medicine. Here are 10 reasons why:
1. The ranking was from 10 years ago and is not considered valid any longer (although I would bet that the ranking is still similar). Even a WHO representative admitted it was outdated.

2. The WHO took from 2 different collections of statistics, neither of which have both Canada AND France in the top 10; there is no ranking in which Canada is better than 10 while the U.S. is 37th. In the one with the U.S. at 37, Canada is 30th. The WHO took the US's lower rankings in each of these to base our status.

3. The WHO doesn't do the ranking based on its own investigation, but with numbers that were submitted to them. When they weren't provided with data, they made it up based on their own determined parameters.

4. Non-emergency doctor visits skewed numbers. For example, waiting a few days longer for a non-emergency doctor appointment was rated worse than having to wait months for chemotherapy.

5. Some of the criteria, such as infant mortality rate, did not take into account some crucial common sense factors. For example, if a baby is born alive in the US and dies 6 months later, that counts against our rating whereas a baby delivered dead (which was actually more common in some "higher ranked" countries) didn't end up counting against them.

6. Medical cost is not apportioned equally in this country i.e. "financial fairness". The pharmaceutical industry is heavily profit oriented and not many limits are put on that. Also, some people choose not to buy insurance, which skews the outcome numbers. Financial considerations made up a significant portion of this rating. When they were removed, the US ranked substantially higher.

7. The typical US diet is horrendous and we don't exercise resulting in obesity and chronic disease. This is a lifestyle problem, not a healthcare deficiency. This was counted against our healthcare system when it should reflect more on consumer choices.

8. The US healthcare system has refined itself in giving very good, but very expensive care in emergency situations and chronic degenerative conditions, but has not put much money towards prevention. This is an issue of financial priorities, not the quality of care delivered.

9. The WHO was being run by a socialist when the ranking was being decided.

10. There are too many differences in culture, government style, economic policy, healthcare philosophy, moral code, lifestyle, etc. to accurately compare and rate over a hundred countries' healthcare against each other.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Just $42 per month for great health care? YES! (if you are in Congress)

In both the House and the Senate, Democrats have struck down Republican-created amendments to require congressmen and women to use the same health care they are planning for the rest of America. What's the matter Pelosi and Reid? Don't want to mingle with the unwashed masses?

No Debating Congress' Lavish Health Care (CBS)
24-Hour On-Site Care, No Coverage Limits; Congress Gets It All - But You Pay for It

As members of Congress debate a "public option" for health care coverage, they remain safe and secure in their own generous health plan.

CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports it's subsidized by millions of your tax dollars annually. The government doesn't even keep track the total cost.

What exactly does Congress get? Sen. Lindsey Graham agreed to show CBS News first hand, flashing his Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance card.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of five plans offered to members of Congress. Most Americans, 74 percent are offered only one plan - if their employer offers insurance at all.

And members of Congress earn $174,000 a year - triple the income of the average working-age household. Yet their premiums are about the same.

For them, there's no coverage limit - a major factor for the American families bankrupted or thrown into poverty by health care costs.

Pre-existing conditions? No problem for congressmen and women. The rest of us are out of luck.

And the elected officials get still more perks most Americans can only dream of. Got a cold? You probably have to take time off work and wait to see a doctor.

Not Congress.

"We're able to access that health care 24 hours a day when we're in Washington," Graham said, leading us to the Attending Physician's Office, a clinic inside the U.S. Capitol. They don’t even have to leave the office.

About half of the members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, use the Attending Physician benefit. For $42 a month, they can get all the primary care they need - physical therapy, X-rays, minor surgery, specialists and a pharmacy for emergencies - no appointment needed.

They also get VIP hospital treatment from the best doctors at Bethesda Naval Hospital. And they have a reserved spot at the elite Ward 72 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where the late Sen. Strom Thurmond spent a lot of time.

Outpatient care is free. Well, free for them. Your tax dollars pick up the cost.

Graham says in the current climate, it's just not fair.

"If we pass a law that says a public option will be made available, I think people like myself should get out of this plan and go into the public option," he said.

That's unlikely. Congress has voted down all proposals that would switch them to a public option.

Even if you're mad enough to vote out your representatives, they still won't have to stress over health care. Their plan is portable. Until Medicare kicks in, they can keep the generous coverage for themselves and their families at the same low cost, still subsidized by your tax dollars.