Doug Archives

Piecemeal vs. Overhaul

Part of ObamaCare was the PCIP, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. John Lott notes that, at its height, at the beginning of 2013, there were 115,000 enrolled in it. So one big selling point seems to be working.

Except that dealing with something like this on its own would have been cheaper and less disruptive of the entire health insurance industry. Clayton Cramer did the math, and if you gave those people $20,000 per year to subsidize their insurance premiums, it would cost $2.3 billion. Now, that’s a lot of money anyway, but doing it that way would also allow millions of people to keep their plan if they liked their plan; just one example of the disruption that was caused instead.

Again I note that Republicans did have their own solutions to the health care problems, but Democrats insisted that the whole industry had to be upended in order to fix it. We’re finding out just how wrong that was. We are. Seems they aren’t.

Be Sociable, Share!

    ObamaCare “Savings”

    In spite of all its rollout issues, the glitches, the delays and the special privileges, the promise of ObamaCare was that, in getting more people, mostly the young and the poor, insured, that would spread out the risk and make insurance cheaper overall, even with those subsidies. By how much? Well, there were promises made, over and over.

    Now, in some of those cases he did say “up to” $2500 dollars. And since 0 is technically on the way up to 2500, if you didn’t save anything, he can count you as a promise kept, just like anyone else trying to sell you something on TV. However, what about these folks?

    A recent survey of 148 insurance brokers shows that ObamaCare is sending premiums rising at the fastest clip in decades.

    “For the last, about, five years they’ve been doing this survey, so this was the largest percentage increase in any quarter since they’ve been doing (it),” said Scott Gottlieb of the American Enterprise Institute.

    “But at 12 percent, 11 percent increase on average across all the states — that puts it at the upper end of any increase we’ve seen for decades.”

    I don’t think that “truth in advertising” laws would allow you to claim that saving negative dollars is somewhere “up to” $2500. Now, are some people saving that much? I’ll stipulate to that, but in general, on average, this is costing the American people more, not less.

    And for some states, it’s really bad. Premiums in Pennsylvania went up 28 percent. In Florida, up 37%. In California, up 53%. And those in Delaware have had to deal with a 100% increase in premiums.

    Oh, and this isn’t considering the higher deductibles. That’s just as much a cost as the premium. And the Congressional Budget Office projects that the premiums of the ObamaCare plans are going to continue to rise.

    Of course, those paying the penalty are saving loads of cash. That defeats the purpose, but hey, savings are savings, right?

    Be Sociable, Share!

      The (Legal) Freedom of Speech

      (This is part of the script of a recent episode of my podcast, "Consider This!" It is always 10 minutes or less, which is relevant to this piece.)

      I have a suggestion for a new law and I’d like to run it by you. This podcast has a small voice in politics. It doesn’t have that much influence, if any at all. It’s just me and a microphone, talking to you out there who feel it’s worth listening to, even if you don’t agree with me. I do appreciate all my listeners.

      However, I’ve noticed a rather huge imbalance, an unfairness, in the scheme of things. There are huge radio networks out there with millions of listeners, broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. How in the world am I supposed to compete with that? Why should their ideas and opinions get more influence than mine? Extremely unfair, right?

      So I propose that national news networks be limited to 10 minutes or less a day. Well, they do have more equipment, talent, and money than I do, and they should be able to say perhaps a bit more than I do, so let’s be generous and make that 30 minutes or less. I mean, we want to level the playing field, right? The individual podcaster should be able to compete with the national network if we really want to stick up for the little guy and let everyone’s voice be heard, right?

      What’s that you say? The networks have invested in all that talent and equipment, so they should be allowed to say what they want with it? Well then, I’d counter by saying that the CEOs running those networks didn’t oversee that success from the beginning; they are simply the latest head honcho, and while they may have made a contribution to the company’s success, they inherited most of it. I’ve built my success, such as it is, with my own, personal, hard work.

      So, does this sound rather silly to you, that folks with bigger radio transmitters, or newspaper subscriptions, than I do should have a cap to how much influence they can have? Well tell ya’ what; so do I. Which is why I find it odd how many on the Left have both celebrated such caps, and are upset that some of those caps were recently removed.

      The courts have said that political contributions are political speech, even though, while money talks, it does not do so literally. Of course, exotic dancing has been considered speech, protected by the First Amendment, so the dictionary definition of “speech” is clearly not what we’re talking about here. Just ask Brendan Eich. Campaign contributions are as much political speech as this podcast, and people with more means, be it more audio equipment, pages in a magazine, or cash, should not have their First Amendment protections infringed like that. But when the Supreme Court decided, in the recent McCutcheon case, that some of those limits should be removed, the liberals on the court were upset that this, “weakened America’s democracy”.

      So we should shut off those printing presses and broadcast antennas, because America’s democracy depends on it? Absolutely not.

      Be Sociable, Share!

        The (Cultural) Freedom of Speech

        (This is part of the script of the latest episode of my podcast, “Consider This!”)

        What is it that they say about conservatives? They’re haters, they’re whatever-phobes, they’re intolerant of people who are different than they are. Then what to make of this story.

        Over 5 years ago, some guy – we’ll call him Bubba – gave $1000 to a political cause. He gave his personal money, not on behalf of anyone else. A bit of free political speech in action.

        Fast forward to today, and Bubba was the target of a campaign to push him out of his job because someone found out about this contribution. Bubba gave in to the pressure, and resigned.

        If Bubba had given money to the Sierra Club to save the whales, or to Planned Parenthood to provide free abortions, and this had happened to him, the Left in this country would be outraged. But because Bubba, whose real name is Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla, gave to California’s Proposition 8, the effort to keep marriage between one man and one woman, the otherwise First-Amendment-loving Left are mum, as well as being the ones who did the pushing.

        I have said it a number of times before, and I need to say it again. The Progressive element in this country is all about Constitutional rights, right up to the point when those rights are used against their pet political causes. Then the hate, intolerance, and phobias that they accuse others of come quickly to the surface. A clearer case of projection – accusing others of what you yourself harbor – is not easily found.

        And consider this. At the time of his donation, Brendan felt the same way about the issue as President Obama, Vice President Biden, and, as it turned out, 60% of California voters. Five short years later, he’s being punished for it by the real Thought Police. There are no allegations that he mistreated, maligned, or otherwise caused harm to any homosexuals in his company. One’s views on this topic have no connection whatsoever with the business of Mozilla; most notably the Firefox web browser. This is completely, 100% a “thought crime”.

        It’s the progressive Left that likes to proclaim that it is more tolerant, that is more free-thinking, right up to the point where you disagree with them. Beyond that point, they want to dictate what you can and can’t think, culturally if not legally, and sometimes even legally; just ask Hobby Lobby, or proprietors that don’t wish to participate in same-sex weddings. No, you must toe the line of the tolerant, free-thinkers. Is anyone noticing the irony here, where “mutual respect” only works one way?

        “If you like your beliefs, you can keep your beliefs. To yourself. If you don’t, you can’t keep your job.”

        Be Sociable, Share!

          Defending ObamaCare With Anecdotes

          You’ve no doubt heard them yourself. I’ve heard them quite a bit; on social media, on blogs, and even in TV commercials. I’m talking about people with their own personal stories about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, has helped them personally.

          It’s great to hear that people are able to get coverage for things that they either couldn’t get covered for before, or for less money. Who wouldn’t be in favor of that, and be glad for these people? It feels good hearing how people have benefited from this government program.

          And that’s what those, especially on social media, are trying to say with their success story; this is a good thing, because it worked for me. Then I have to ask, what do we make of this story?

          William Rivers Pitt, is the senior editor and lead columnist at the leftwing web site TruthOut. He has his own story which he posted at the Democratic Underground website, a forum for the far Left. (Have we figured out where this guy’s politics lie on the spectrum?) He first extolled the wonders of Obamacare, writing about his experience in getting signed up. System goes down in the middle of the session. No problem. Call the 800 number and finish the process there. “No. Big. Deal. Thanks, Obama.” That’s how he signs off that post.

          And then reality set in. In another post later on, he relates his experience, not with signing up for Obamacare, but actually trying to use it.

          What I’ve learned after a three-month war with these fiends: the ACA says the insurance companies cannot deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, which is true as far as it goes. But they can deny coverage for the life-saving medications necessary to treat those conditions. The insurance company I signed up with through the ACA exchange just denied coverage of my wife’s multiple sclerosis medication. We’re "covered," to the tune of $700 a month…just not for what she really needs.

          He signs off that post quite a bit differently. Later he said he feels like a dupe, and wishes he had a time machine to undo what he’d done. His criticisms get to the point that the DU folks stopped allowing him to comment on his own post.

          So then let’s consider this. Does this prove that Obamacare is an abject failure? No. Additionally, good experiences with it don’t prove that it is a success, either. If you contend that one is true, then you have to accept the other, and they come to opposite conclusions. Well then, what does any of this prove, other than that some people are doing better and others doing worse?

          The answer is, it proves nothing.

          Read the rest of this entry

          Be Sociable, Share!

            Does the Pope Shop at Hobby Lobby

            No, but he does seem to be watching their Supreme Court case.

            Pope Francis and Vatican officials on Thursday told U.S. President Barack Obama they were concerned about "religious freedom" in the United States, an apparent reference to the contraception mandate in Obama’s health care plan.

            The talks included "discussion on questions of particular relevance for the Church" in the United States, including "the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection," a Vatican statement said.

            Obama’s 2010 healthcare law, widely opposed by Republicans, includes a provision that requires employers to cover the cost of contraception in their health insurance plans.

            Catholic and other religious groups say the mandate forces them to support contraception and sterilization in violation of their religious beliefs or face steep fines.

            Just wondering if all those Democrats who have been falling all over themselves over the Pope when he seems to be saying something they like (whether or not he’s actually saying what they think he’s saying) will take note of this rather obvious political stance.

            Be Sociable, Share!

              I don’t know how much the Vatican’s Chief Justice holds sway in terms of official church policy, or how much his opinion reflects the position of the Catholic church, but I thought I’d pass this along.

              In an interview with Polonia Christiana magazine –and transcribed by Life Site News — Cardinal Raymond Burke said that Obama “promotes anti-life and anti-family policies.”

              “It is true that the policies of the president of the United States have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies,” Burke told the magazine.

              The former archbishop of St. Louis stated that Obama is trying to “restrict” religion.

              “Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions,” Burke said.

              Burke took a swipe against Obama’s Affordable Care Act over the law’s birth control mandate, saying “such policies would have been unimaginable in the United States even 40 years ago.”

              “In a democracy, such a lack of awareness is deadly,” Burke told the magazine. “It leads to the loss of the freedom which a democratic government exists to protect. It is my hope that more and more of my fellow citizens, as they realize what is happening, will insist on electing leaders who respect the truth of the moral law as it is respected in the founding principles of our nation.”

              Since this was transcribed by Life Site News, you know there’s an abortion angle, and there’s just a bit more at the link.

              The freedom of religion vs. freedom of worship is a distinction that I’ve heard elsewhere, and it’s good to hear it given voice by someone at the Vatican. These days, it’s almost like you lose that First Amendment right upon leaving the church building. You don’t, even if you own a business (i.e. Hobby Lobby). This is a serious concern.

              Be Sociable, Share!

                From Russia, With Love

                • Russia taking over Crimea.
                • Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia worried about the same thing happening to them.
                • Russian forces massing on the border of Ukraine.

                No, this is not the opening scene of some pre-World-War-2 movie; it’s history from the past couple of weeks. But during the Cold War, Russia had control of all of these under the umbrella of the Soviet Union.

                In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan set out to defeat – not just contain, as his predecessors has done, but defeat – the Soviet Union. He succeeded. His detractors said, and continue to say, that he got lucky; that the Soviet Union was going to collapse under its own weight anyway, and it just coincidentally happened on his watch. But Reagan was the first President to actively try to bring it down. That it happened right after this attempt is a cause & effect that is extremely rare in geopolitical affairs. And those he liberated – from places already mentioned as well as Poland and other former eastern Bloc nations – certainly give him that credit. And he did it without causing a nuclear World War 3, which those detractors predicted.

                A huge foreign policy success in the 1980s liberated millions and kept them free. Understanding the world as it was – not being afraid of the Soviets, but projecting strength to keep them at bay – set the stage for their downfall. And understanding today’s world as it is, is absolutely required in order to deal with the foreign policy challenges of today. But our current President doesn’t recognize what’s going on right in front of him. Here’s an excerpt from one of the debates he had with challenger Mitt Romney

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1409sXBleg

                Read the rest of this entry

                Be Sociable, Share!

                  New Source of Stem Cells

                  Your blood.

                  Scientists at A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from a single drop of finger-pricked blood ("Human Finger-Prick Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Facilitate the Development of Stem Cell Banking"). The method also enables donors to collect their own blood samples, which they can then send to a laboratory for further processing. The easy access to blood samples using the new technique could potentially boost the recruitment of greater numbers and diversities of donors, and could lead to the establishment of large-scale hiPSC banks.

                  Imagine a stem-cell bank much like a blood bank. There is truly no need at all to destroy embryos for stem cells. Using blood and skin, the supply is endless.

                  Be Sociable, Share!

                    Behind the Curtain of Macro-Evolution

                    Professor James M. Tour is a highly-credentialed chemist, and a Christian. Check this link for the list, and for his contention that there is no scientist alive today who understands macro-evolution. Tour, of course, comes at this from a chemical point of view, and has no idea how something like that can happen at the molecular level. He’s asked over and over for someone to explain it to him, but so far no takers.

                    In an article about an insider’s view of the National Academy, he explains the situation behind the curtain.

                    Let me tell you what goes on in the back rooms of science – with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. I have sat with them, and when I get them alone, not in public – because it’s a scary thing, if you say what I just said – I say, “Do you understand all of this, where all of this came from, and how this happens?” Every time that I have sat with people who are synthetic chemists, who understand this, they go “Uh-uh. Nope.” These people are just so far off, on how to believe this stuff came together. I’ve sat with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. Sometimes I will say, “Do you understand this?”And if they’re afraid to say “Yes,” they say nothing. They just stare at me, because they can’t sincerely do it.

                    I was once brought in by the Dean of the Department, many years ago, and he was a chemist. He was kind of concerned about some things. I said, “Let me ask you something. You’re a chemist. Do you understand this? How do you get DNA without a cell membrane? And how do you get a cell membrane without a DNA? And how does all this come together from this piece of jelly?” We have no idea, we have no idea. I said, “Isn’t it interesting that you, the Dean of science, and I, the chemistry professor, can talk about this quietly in your office, but we can’t go out there and talk about this?”

                    If you understand evolution, I am fine with that. I’m not going to try to change you – not at all. In fact, I wish I had the understanding that you have.

                    But about seven or eight years ago I posted on my Web site that I don’t understand. And I said, “I will buy lunch for anyone that will sit with me and explain to me evolution, and I won’t argue with you until I don’t understand something – I will ask you to clarify. But you can’t wave by and say, “This enzyme does that.” You’ve got to get down in the details of where molecules are built, for me. Nobody has come forward.

                    The Atheist Society contacted me. They said that they will buy the lunch, and they challenged the Atheist Society, “Go down to Houston and have lunch with this guy, and talk to him.” Nobody has come! Now remember, because I’m just going to ask, when I stop understanding what you’re talking about, I will ask. So I sincerely want to know. I would like to believe it. But I just can’t.

                    Now, I understand microevolution, I really do. We do this all the time in the lab. I understand this. But when you have speciation changes, when you have organs changing, when you have to have concerted lines of evolution, all happening in the same place and time – not just one line –concerted lines, all at the same place, all in the same environment … this is very hard to fathom.

                    He does not claim the Intelligent Design label because:

                    I do not know how to use science to prove intelligent design although some others might. I am sympathetic to the arguments on the matter and I find some of them intriguing, but the scientific proof is not there, in my opinion.

                    He is searching for the scientific proofs, but for macro-evolution, they just aren’t there, and no one in academia can provide them.

                    Be Sociable, Share!

                      Equality

                      No doubt, this is fallout from the Kermit Gosnell incident.

                      The Arizona Daily Sun reports the ‘Women’s Health Protection Act’ or HB2284 pro-life bill has passed through the Arizona state House by a 34-22 vote on Tuesday. This came after an hour of debate on whether legislation is needed to make unannounced inspections at abortion clinics.

                      The Center of Arizona Policy states abortion clinics are the only health care institutions in Arizona that the Department of Health Services (DHS) can’t immediately inspect when a violation is believed to have occurred. In order to have an inspection, a warrant must be obtained by government authorities. In addition after a clinics initial inspection when licensed and follow-up inspection a year later, no further inspections are mandated for the next two years.

                      This is most certainly not a “restriction” on abortion or the availability thereof. It’s simply protecting women from unscrupulous abortion providers, and brings them in line with other health care institutions.

                      Be Sociable, Share!

                        The Delaying Game

                        Great line by James Taranto, summarizing the latest ObamaCare delay: "If you like your plan, and your state insurance commissioner likes your plan, and your insurance company likes your plan, you can keep it, possibly until after the next presidential election."

                        How blatantly political.

                        Be Sociable, Share!

                          Hollywood "Tea Partiers" (Sort of)

                          “A conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged by reality”, so the cliché goes. Well, if only it were that easy. Usually, they stay liberal.

                          Take Hollywood, please. This bastion of liberalism is now trying to get lower taxes to bring business back to California. Turns out that high tax rates have been pushing filmmakers out of the Golden State, into other states that don’t take as much of your gold.

                          The result is job loss there, and gains in states like Louisiana and North Carolina, with more business-friendly policies. The group Film Works has started a petition to have taxes cut on the filmmaking industry to bring back those jobs and economic development.

                          Now let’s see; high taxes push out business, and the solution is to cut taxes in order to jump start the economy and bring jobs back. If I didn’t know better, I’d say these folks were prime candidates for inclusion in the Tea Party. But of course, I do know better. One would hope that, seeing this economic reality mugging them, these Hollywood liberals would realize that this works for other industries, or the state as a whole. One would hope.

                          But hold not thy breath.

                          Be Sociable, Share!

                            Since I know there are some folks who deny that ObamaCare is impacting workers’ hours, here’s a NY Times article that notes that even the public sector is feeling the pinch already.

                            Cities, counties, public schools and community colleges around the country have limited or reduced the work hours of part-time employees to avoid having to provide them with health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, state and local officials say.

                            The cuts to public sector employment, which has failed to rebound since the recession, could serve as a powerful political weapon for Republican critics of the health care law, who claim that it is creating a drain on the economy.

                            President Obama has twice delayed enforcement of the health care law’s employer mandate, which would subject larger employers to tax penalties if they do not offer insurance coverage to employees who work at least 30 hours a week, on average. But many public employers have already adopted policies, laws or regulations to make sure workers stay under that threshold.

                            Harry Reid recently claimed, ”There’s plenty of horror stories being told [about Obamacare],” Reid said. “All of them are untrue.” Tell that to the workers of this country, Harry.

                            Be Sociable, Share!

                              Pens and Phones, Then and Now

                              A pen and a phone. That’s what President Obama recently said he had which could circumvent Congress on policy topics he wanted to get moving. Conservatives, like me, compared him to a king, giving orders and expecting everyone to jump. The Left took this opportunity to show that the number of executive orders that have been issued by Obama was less than any President in at least the last half-century. True enough, but as is usual, it’s a cherry-picked data point. There is more than one way to dictate.

                              Take ObamaCare, please. The number of times Obama has delayed, changed, or outright repealed parts of the law is staggering. If the law has that many problems, fix the law. Instead, he’s doing the very thing he campaigned against when running for President. He said that George Bush had taken too much power into the executive branch.

                              And now, with his pen and with his phone, he’s changing laws that he has no Constitutional powers to change.

                              Lately, he’s been doing the same thing with marijuana laws. John P. Walters, writing at the Weekly Standard, observes:

                              First, the administration made a unilateral decision to curtail enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in states where smoked marijuana has been defined as medicine (the only “medicine” that cannot meet modern medical standards). Next, the administration announced it would not enforce the federal law when the states of Colorado and Washington sought to permit the open sale of marijuana.

                              Ted Cruz, in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, had more examples:

                              When Mr. Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

                              None of these are executive orders, but they are just as empowering of the Executive branch, and are, in fact, worse, because you can’t easily count the number of times these power grabs have been done. Executive orders are numbered. Sitting on your hands and not enforcing something goes below the radar of the average American.

                              When we say we are a nation of laws, not men, we mean that it is the laws that govern us, not the whims of a particular man or group of men that have no accountability. If you’re a Democrat, would you be fine with this sort of behavior from a Republican? If not, make your voice heard. Because if you don’t, we will once again get the government we deserve. The government only has what power we give it. If you want a king, you’d better be happy with a king from either party.

                              Be Sociable, Share!
                                 Page 3 of 75 « 1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »