Healthcare Archives

Friday Link Wrap-up

Obama said that the huge electoral loss last Tuesday was essentially a failure to communicate, and not a vote of no-confidence on his policies.  The policies are sounds, so he says, but they’re not working fast enough.  Except that countries like Germany, which adopted austerity policies rather than spending ones, is going gangbusters coming out of this recession.  And we’re not.  That’s what the voters were saying.

And apparently, blaming stupid voters and their anger, rather than facing facts, is an international problem.

ObamaCare price controls will raise health care prices.  We know this because that’s what it has always done in the past.  Joseph Antos, who oversaw a study that created the Medicare reimbursement system, knows of what he speaks.  Americans are already seeing some of this, and voted out those who supported it.

Is the electorate getting more conservative?  The New Republic seems to think so.

Fox was more fair and balanced than MSNBC in covering the election.  That’s not some right-wing claim; it’s the opinion of Time magazine, NPR, Mediaite and US News.  No card-carrying members of the vast right-wing conspiracy among that group.  Of course, being less biased than MSNBC is like saying that you are located somewhat south of the North Pole, with the network having exclusively liberal commentators on for the coverage.  America apparently noticed, since Fox beat the ratings of CNN & MSNBC.  Combined.

(Still, it’s Fox that Obama chooses to do battle with.  He doesn’t want fair coverage, he wants favorable coverage.)

Sorry, no cartoon this week.  Nothing really stood out.  Try again next week.

Not So Much An Election As A Restraining Order

With apologies to P. J. O’Rouke for the title, last night was a historic night for the GOP, but I have a feeling this was more the voters saying "Stop!" to Obama than it was saying "Go!" to the Republicans.

Still, there were other things at work here than a Democratic smackdown.  Witness the shift of so many state governments to the Republicans. These folks weren’t the ones who bailed out banks, took over car companies or squirmed a health care bill through Congress.  And yet, for example, for the first time since Reconstruction, Georgia’s major state offices will all be held by Republicans.  While the wave last night certainly helped, this is a shift that has been going on for years.  The state legislature shift is, I think, the underreported story of the night (though Erick Erickson gives us a good view of it).  It’s important because in many cases it is so historic ("not since the 19th century" historic, in a few cases), and because reapportionment is happening this year due to the census.  This is big, and I think it’s more than just coattails.

But if you look at things like how well Democrats did who had voted for the health care reform bill, it’s clear that there was, indeed, a significant portion of the vote that was a referendum on Obama and the Democratic Congress.  Complaining from Democrats that the bill wasn’t explained enough, over the course of 6 months, is simply a refusal to face facts; the American people generally did not want this behemoth.  There was a price to pay for all the shenanigans done to get it passed.

Another big repudiation of the evening was of the media.  (Hmm, repudiation of Democrats and the media.  Why do these two groups keep getting mentioned together, I wonder?)  Uniquely labeling the Tea Party "extreme" by mainstream reporters and pundits alike, and spending so much press trying to make Christine O’Donnell the de facto face of the Tea Party, the voters have apparently decided for themselves what is or isn’t "extreme" and who’s endorsement (rather than the press’s) they’ll listen to (i.e. Sarah Palin’s picks are currently running more than 2 to 1 in the win column). 

Other interesting highlights:

No to recreational pot:  Californians voted No to make marijuana more available than it already is.  

Arizona governor re-elected: Jan Brewer got a vote of confidence from her state.  Apparently, enforcing laws that the feds refuse to enforce hasn’t been the economic meltdown her detractors claimed it would be.

I’ll close with some words from Don Surber, but read the whole thing.

This is not a normal midterm election in which the president’s party typically loses seats. In the last 10 midterms, a president’s party has averaged a loss of 12 House and two Senate seats.

That includes 1994’s tsunami, as then-Congressman Bob Wise put it.

President Carter lost 15 House and three Senate seats in his midterm.

Obama lost 59+ and 7+.

This was a big deal.

But I say to Republicans: Great, kids. Don’t get cocky.

The battle has just begun.

Friday Link Wrap-up (Catch-up Edition)

More links this week since I didn’t get around to it last week.

What’s keeping this recession going for so long?  Ask James Madison. Yes, that James Madison.

The 6th Circuit judge that upheld the health care reform individual mandate to buy insurance has really redefined terms in order to make his ruling.

With that reasoning, Judge Steeh thoroughly unmoors the commerce clause from its concern with actual economic activity that Congress can regulate to a more amorphous realm of “economic decisions” which apparently include the decision to NOT enter into commerce at all.

A better example of an activist judge you’re not likely to find soon.

Roger Ebert, in reviewing “Waiting for Superman”, acknowledges that the private school highlighted does better than public school, proclaiming “Our schools do not work”.  His solution?  (Wait for it…)  More money for public schools, for the ones that don’t work instead of encouraging what does work and at typically a lower cost per student.  Liberal education policies are now just talking points rather than reasoned arguments.

Remembering a sociopathic mass murderer, who is extolled by liberal students T-shirts everywhere.  (No, not Charles Manson. I’m talking about Che Guevara.)

The Rise of the (Conservative, Christian) Woman in American politics.

Juan Williams responds to the NPR sacking.  Ah, the tolerant Left in action.

And to close it out, two cartoons to make up for missing a week.  I just love Chuck Asay.  (Click for larger versions.)

You Can Keep the Plan You’re In

If you’re a well-connected corporation or a union and beg for an exemption from ObamaCare, that is.  Yup, McDonalds and Jack in the Box, as well as teachers unions, are among those being granted waivers from the onerous restrictions of health care "reform". 

The rest of you smaller businesses?  Well, you can keep the plan you’re in, until you can’t.

More Unintended Consequences of ObamaCare

Low-wage workers may lose what health benefits they do have because these "mini-med" plans used for high-turnover workers don’t spend enough, according to the government. 

Don Sensing has the details.

Keep your insurance if you like it?  Yeah, right.

Unintended Consequences … To the Children

From James Taranto’s "Best of the Web Today" column:

• "Many provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 won’t be implemented until 2014, but much of the low-hanging fruit started Thursday. One such juicy apple is that insurers will no longer be allowed to deny coverage to children on the basis of pre-existing conditions. . . . To review: As of this week, insurers will be unable to refuse to do business with children."–Matthew Yglesias,, Sept. 24

• "Refusing to Play: Health Insurers That Won’t Offer Child-Only Policies"–headline, San Francisco Chronicle website, Sept. 24

If you punish it, you get less of it.

Friday Link Wrap-up

Media Bias Dept.:  The Left got upset when Rupert Murdoch gave money to right-wing groups.  No mention, of course of the 88% of TV network donations go to Democrats.  And how much coverage did you hear about the BBC’s Director General admitting that the state-run news organization has had a “massive” left-wing bias?  Yeah, me neither.  Also, Patterico explains how the media has shaped the national discussion by selective coverage.

Market Watch:  The market is doing more for troubled homeowners than the government it.  CNN is, apparently, shocked to discover such a thing can happen.

“Recovery” Summer Dept.:  Germany’s recover has been fueled to a large extent by private sector consumption and growth, as opposed to the graph I posted earlier showing most of our jobs went to the government.  And irony of ironies, a French bureaucrat had to tell the US about cutting spending spurs growth.  Why can our own guys understand that?

ObamaCare Dept.:  After helping pass the health care bill, one Democratic Senator, using language he helped craft in the bill, is trying to use it to exempt his state from the individual mandate.  “Yeah, it’s a great idea … for everyone else but me.”  Also, reality is putting the lie to the promise that nothing was going to change for you if you like the health care you have.

Film Corner:  The trailer us up for “Blood Money”, an expose of the abortion industry.

Government (In)action Dept.:  The Justice Department is refusing to enforce voter fraud laws, and they’ve plainly said as much.  So one lawyer is using a provision of the law to file the lawsuits the Obama’s Justice won’t.  Our President respects the rule of law insofar as it furthers his own agenda.  No good can come of that.

Gossip Column:  Fidel Castro himself admits that the communist economic model doesn’t work.  It “works” only insofar as you get influxes of cash from, say, a beneficiary either internally (the “rich”) or externally (the USSR).  But on its own, it is an abject failure.  Would that the Left would hear this and stop trying to move us closer to it.

And finally, the last word on the “Ground Zero Mosque” and the burning of Korans, from Rick McKee.  (Click for a larger image.)

Friday Link Wrap-up

You know racism is seriously on the decline when the New York Times is left to complain about the insufficient diversity of third base coaches in baseball.

Highly-placed Muslims around the word are coming out against the mosque near Ground Zero.  In fact, there is apparently a widespread belief among Muslims that opposing any mosque construction is a sin, so we’re probably not hearing as much opposition as it out there.

For the purposes of the November campaign, Democrats won’t be trying to sell ObamaCare as a cost savings.  Rather, they’re going to try to sell it as an improvement to health care, never mind the cost.  Oh, and that cost?  Paid for by the wealthy, so don’t worry.  Like they have an unlimited supply of cash to finance this administration’s unprecedented red-ink-o-rama.  The link has loads of claims in a recent presentation and how they just don’t pass "Common Sense 101".  One of the slides says that the Dems will work to improve the bill.  For cryin’ out loud, it just passed!  Why wasn’t it improved before passing it, if the improvements are so obvious?

New unemployment claims rose by 500,000…unexpectedly!  We’ve tried it the Democrats way for over a year now, and the stimulus just ain’t stimulating anything.  But their solution to failed plans is more of the same.  Prepare for more unexpectedness in the months to come.

Chuck Asay says it best, in pictures.  (Click for a larger version.)

Chuck Asay

A Preview of Coming Attractions: RomneyCare

Under the state-run health plan in Massachusetts, emergency room usage has gone up, the costs to the state and to patients has gone up, and many doctors are now refusing new patient that are only covered by the state plan.  In addition, business is booming for brokers that help other firms dump their current plan for the state-run one.  "Keep your current plan"?  Not likely.

As Bruce McQuain of Q&O notes, this epic is coming to a government near you.

MassCare is almost identical to ObamaCare – many of the same people who authored it were instrumental in putting the federal monstrosity together.  Reviewing the above 4 items, I’d say they’re 0 for 4 in their promises.  The sad thing is we had this example at a state level there to study and as usual, the media wasn’t able to manage the comparison during the weeks of hype surrounding the bill before its passage.

This is you life on ObamaCare.  More money, fewer choices, less care.

That’s what happens when the gullible buy into the “something for nothing” political promises of a pack of charlatans and snake oil salesmen.

None of this should be news, especially if the media had been doing its job, but Democrats will simply, once again, come up with excuses why it won’t happen this time, and, when it fails on cue to deliver the promises they made, will convince their blind followers that indeed what we wind up with is "better" than if they’d done nothing.

I’ve seen this movie before, and it always ends badly.

Friday…er…Monday Link Wrap-up

That’s what happens when I take a Friday vacation day.

Democrats are in a struggle with Republicans to see who can repeal portions of ObamaCare first.  And now that Harry Reid has actually read the bill, he’s finally realized that this is going to hurt the hospitals in his state more than it’s going to help them.  As much as Democrats complained about the delays in getting the thing passed, you’d think they’d have read it by the time it did.

Put Obama in the Oval Office, and he’ll repair our standing with the world…or so went the campaign thought.  A poll of Arab public opinion, supposedly an area where Bush had destroyed our credibility, shows that little had changed.  In fact, some indicators are even worse than under the eeevil Bush.

A very interesting article suggesting that Evangelical Churches are the new “Mainline” Christian churches, and that the traditionally “mainline” denominations, as they have become more liberal, shrink and thus have less influence on society (spiritually speaking).  A very good interview of Rodney Stark, who’s been following this a long time.

I’ve been asked, regarding the Tea Partier’s wish to reduce government spending, why now?  Why not during Bush or Clinton or even Reagan.  I keep saying that the spending going on now is unprecedented, and Bruce McQuain explains some of the reasons and ramifications of this spend-fest.

How’s that stimulus stimulating the economy?  Not so well, actually.

The “classy” Left, taking its usual name-calling tact against the Tea Party.  And lest you dismiss this as some loner in a basement, it’s got huge funding partners.

And finally, a study in religious tolerance from Chuck Asay.  (Click for a larger image.)

Name That Bureaucracy

What will cost billions of dollars, make demands on you never made before, and look like this?


It’s your new health care system!  (Click for a PDF suitable for zooming in on.)  Don Sensing notes that this is just a third of the whole picture.

Feeling better yet?

Read more about this behemoth at his blog.

ObamaCare Paying For Abortions

Obama’s executive order forbidding the use of ObamaCare money for abortions has been rendered useless by … the Obama administration.  Did anyone, other than hyper-partisan liberals, really believe him when he signed it?  I certainly didn’t.

The Obama administration has officially approved the first instance of taxpayer funded abortions under the new national government-run health care program. This is the kind of abortion funding the pro-life movement warned about when Congress considered the bill.

The Obama Administration will give Pennsylvania $160 million to set up a new "high-risk" insurance program under a provision of the federal health care legislation enacted in March.

It has quietly approved a plan submitted by an appointee of pro-abortion Governor Edward Rendell under which the new program will cover any abortion that is legal in Pennsylvania.

Tabitha Hale writing at RedState explains that the so-called "high risk" qualifier is just another fig leaf.

The loophole comes in the wording:

The section on abortion (see page 14) asserts that “elective abortions are not covered,” though it does not define elective — which Johnson calls a “red herring.”

Therein lies the problem. Anything that is not hard worded is a gray area that will be manipulated by the most pro-abortion administration we’ve ever seen. What, then, determines an “elective” abortion? Is the mother who chooses to terminate her baby with Down’s Syndrome “electing” to have an abortion, or is she forced by circumstances?

The National Right to Life Committee has determined that the only abortion that will not be covered under the plan is gender selection. It’s dangerous territory, which is why there should be no Federal funding for abortions, period. Everyone has a different definition of what is “elective.” We know all too well what happens when Washington has room to maneuver within the wording of the law.

Bart Stupak caved, and I agree with Tabitha that the term "pro-life Democrat" is an oxymoron.  The Democrats flat-out lied to get their agenda through, both (at least) in that this would be a a cost saver (whereas now they’re defending it in court as a tax increase) and what it would pay for.  This is big government.  It’s what it does.  The more power you give it, the more it’ll lie to you (and bribe you) to get more.

We’ve not seen the end of the surprises.

Friday Link Wrap-Up

They check immigration status at traffic stops.  This can only be referring to those racists in … Rhode Island.  Do you think we’re likely to see a lawsuit from the Justice Department there?  Yea, me neither.  In fact, it’s already been upheld by the First Circuit Court of Appeals when a private citizen sued.  Yet the government is going after Arizona for this.  Can’t have anything to do with who each state voted for in the last election, right?

A federal district court judge in Boston today struck down the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman.”  I’ve read portions of the ruling, and I can actually see the judge’s point.  However, I think the 10th Amendment’s “equal protection” clause is being misused a bit to now refer to things like health benefits, which doesn’t really strike me as “protection” from a government’s viewpoint.  And Jack Balkin, a supporter of same-sex marriage incidentally, wonders (among other things) if liberals really want to go down this path with the 10th Amendment.  “As much as liberals might applaud the result, they should be aware that the logic of his arguments, taken seriously, would undermine the constitutionality of wide swaths of federal regulatory programs and seriously constrict federal regulatory power.”

The “biggest revolution in the NHS [Britain’s National Health System] for 60 years” is … giving doctors responsibility for overseeing patient care!  Yes folks, it took 60 years of socialized medicine for them to realize that.  Do you want to lose those 60 years of common sense here?

Much of the media is saying that the report that was commissioned by the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia to investigate the ClimateGate document dump exonerated the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia.  Except there’s the issue of the biggest thing critics have been harping on; the “hide the decline” suggestion that inconvenient data has been reworked to be consistent with the conclusion already drawn.  Buried in the report is this gem:

On the allegation that the references in a specific e-mail to a “trick” and to “hide the decline” in respect of a 1999 WMO report figure show evidence of intent to paint a misleading picture, we find that, given its subsequent iconic significance (not least the use of a similar figure in the IPCC Third Assessment Report), the figure supplied for the WMO Report was Misleading.

Terry Miller explains:

The researchers were not trying to hide evidence of a decline in global temperatures over the last decade—we have plenty of actual thermometer readings to show temperatures in recent years. What they were trying to hide was the discrepancy between actual temperature readings and the temperatures suggested by tree ring data. They have relied on tree ring data to show that the earth was cooler in the past. If the tree ring data is not reliable (as the discrepancy in recent years would suggest), then maybe the earth was actually hotter in the past than these researchers would have us believe—and perhaps the hot temperatures of recent years do not represent unprecedented global warming but just natural variation in climate.

So the big issue that critics latched on to is, indeed, still a big issue.

Friday Link Wrap-up

Isn’t government supposed to enforce the laws it makes?   Well, it looks like the Obama administration has a bit more leeway.

How’s that Gitmo-closing promise coming along, 5 months after its due date?  “The House Armed Services Committee has dealt a blow to President Obama’s hopes to shutter the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by unanimously approving legislation that would prohibit creating a detention center inside the United States.”  Aren’t there one or two Democrats on that committee?

The Hollywood Left just loves their socialists.

American filmmaker Oliver Stone said Friday he deeply admires Hugo Chavez but suggested the Venezuelan president might consider talking a bit less on television.

Promoting his new documentary “South of the Border” in Caracas, Stone heaped praise on Chavez, saying he is leading a movement for “social transformation” in Latin American. The film features informal interviews by Stone with Chavez and six allied leftist presidents, from Bolivia’s Evo Morales to Cuba’s Raul Castro.

“I admire Hugo. I like him very much as a person. I can say one thing. … He shouldn’t be on television all the time,” Stone said at a news conference. “As a director I say you don’t want to be overpowering. And I think he is sometimes that way.”

(We’re not entirely sure whether Stone said “director” or “dictator” at th end there.  Either can be overpowering.)

When the director of the Congressional Budget Office directly refutes cost-saving claims of the President and his Budget Director, it’s worth noting.  Even the NY Times (finally) notices.

How’s that “smart diplomacy” workin’ for ya’?  Please remember; speeches are no substitute for sound policy.

Marry a Jew, lose your citizenship.  Can armbands with the Star of David be far behind?  Tell me again, who are the bad guys in the Middle East peace situation?

How did the pollsters do predicting the recent primary results?  About as good as expected, which isn’t saying much.  And the Daily Kos fired its official pollster, Research 2000.  Turns out they skewed left.  Now who would have thought that?  This time, however, it was downright embarrassing.

And finally, Chuck Asay on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  (Click for a larger image.)

Chuck Asay

Learn From Canada!

In the superb movie "Awakenings", Leonard Lowe (Robert DeNiro) is woken up from his catatonic state by a drug administered by Dr. Malcolm Sayer (Robin Williams).  All goes well until Leonard starts to exhibit some side effects.  While this is happening, he insists that Dr. Sayer continue to film him, which Sayer is doing as part of the research.  We see Leonard from the perspective of the movie camera, almost yelling at it, "Learn from me!  Learn from me!"

It’s hard to watch this experiment demonstrating, in the body of Leonard, what could be a huge flaw in what otherwise appears to be a promising treatment for his illness.  It is a turning point in the story.

We are at such a turning point in another medical story, but I wonder if we’ll notice it and learn from it.

Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada’s provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, kicked off a fierce battle with drug companies and pharmacies when it said earlier this year it would halve generic drug prices and eliminate "incentive fees" to generic drug manufacturers.

British Columbia is replacing block grants to hospitals with fee-for-procedure payments and Quebec has a new flat health tax and a proposal for payments on each medical visit — an idea that critics say is an illegal user fee.

And a few provinces are also experimenting with private funding for procedures such as hip, knee and cataract surgery.

It’s likely just a start as the provinces, responsible for delivering healthcare, cope with the demands of a retiring baby-boom generation. Official figures show that senior citizens will make up 25 percent of the population by 2036.

"There’s got to be some change to the status quo whether it happens in three years or 10 years," said Derek Burleton, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.

"We can’t continually see health spending growing above and beyond the growth rate in the economy because, at some point, it means crowding out of all the other government services.

"At some stage we’re going to hit a breaking point."

A government handout (or, really, a redistribution of wealth)  running way over budget?  (See "Stop the ACLU" for a discussion of costs in the Canadian system that the Democrats pretend they can keep at half.)  Why do we keep hearing this tune and yet be surprised when it ends exactly the same way?  Why do politicians say that this kind of system will reduce costs when…

Ontario says healthcare could eat up 70 percent of its budget in 12 years, if all these costs are left unchecked.

The answer for Canada is cut back on benefits, which they’re seriously considering.  But that is fraught with trouble.

Scotia Capital’s Webb said one cost-saving idea may be to make patients aware of how much it costs each time they visit a healthcare professional. "(The public) will use the services more wisely if they know how much it’s costing," she said.

"If it’s absolutely free with no information on the cost and the information of an alternative that would be have been more practical, then how can we expect the public to wisely use the service?"

That’s the problem with separating the payment from the service.  It’s not absolutely free; it’s paid for with huge national taxes.  But thinking it’s free, or even just using it more knowing that you won’t be charged more, creates additional demand that the system can’t handle.

But once you’ve made that mistake, there’s no going back.

But change may come slowly. Universal healthcare is central to Canada’s national identity, and decisions are made as much on politics as economics.

"It’s an area that Canadians don’t want to see touched," said TD’s Burleton. "Essentially it boils down the wishes of the population. But I think, from an economist’s standpoint, we point to the fact that sometimes Canadians in the short term may not realize the cost."

These economic decisions are now even more political than they ever were, but the thought of damaging something so much identified with Canada is just unthinkable.  So Canada must either go bankrupt, reduce services, or raise taxes.  And all this from a program that was supposed to reduce costs. 

This, folks, is the future of ObamaCare(tm) if it gets implemented or, worse, if the removed provisions get implemented piecemeal later on.  Canada is suffering from the experiment.  Learn from it.

 Page 7 of 12  « First  ... « 5  6  7  8  9 » ...  Last »