Archive for the ‘Universal Healthcare’ Category

Twilight of Honeymoon VIII

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Ewww…as accustomed as we are by now to His Most Exaltedness’ downward slide, it’s still kind of a slap seeing His wonderful speechmaking sliced and diced by — the Associated Press?? Who in the world do they think He is, some midwestern-accented tundra dimwit housewife or something? This just isn’t supposed to happen!

But happen it did. There’s just no getting around it, Mister Wonderful told some whoppers.

OBAMA: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. Period.”

THE FACTS: …The long-term prognosis for costs of the health care legislation has not been good.

OBAMA: “Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.”

THE FACTS: …The Congressional Budget Office analyzed the health care bill written by House Democrats and said that by 2016 some 3 million people who now have employer-based care would lose it…

OBAMA: “Don’t pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut. … That will never happen on my watch. I will protect Medicare.”

THE FACTS: Obama and congressional Democrats want to pay for their health care plans in part by reducing Medicare payments to providers by more than $500 billion over 10 years…

From Gateway Pundit, which found a few more howlers the AP missed. Hat tip to Linkiest — where, as an aside, The Blog That Nobody Reads is the blog-of-the-day.

How Many Jaydens

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

I’m happy to see the “blogosphere burning up” with posts about Jayden Capewell. President Obama just got done taking His pot shots at Sarah Palin for her “death panels” comment, all-but-naming her in His address to Congress. Foon Rhee of the Boston Globe tried to peel back the armor in advance of the President’s salvo, asserting that Palin’s insinuation, now made twice, has been “rather thoroughly debunked.”

You’re a fool, Foon. Nothing’s been debunked, except with the (quite correct) idea that there’s no one single plan to argue about just yet. But nationalized health care leads to life-and-death decisions being made by bureaucrats who are worried first-and-foremost about their lunch breaks, and how many little stacks of Post-It notes are left in the supply cabinet. That’s just what happens. It’s like heat-plus-fuel-plus-oxygen-equals-fire.

Enter the Jayden situation (hat tip to Rick):

A young British mother has criticized medical guidelines that, she said, resulted in doctors refusing treatment and leaving her newborn premature son to die. 23 year-old Sarah Capewell told media that her son Jayden, born at 21 weeks and five days gestation, was refused intensive care because he was two days under the limit set by the British government’s National Health Service (NHS) rationing guidelines.

Capewell said that her son Jayden cried and lived for two hours before dying in her arms. During that time, his mother took photos of him and pleaded with doctors that he be admitted to the special baby unit at James Paget University Hospital (JPH). Staff at the hospital, in Gorleston, Norfolk, told her that had Jayden been born two days later they would have helped him.

Blogsister Cassy adds:

In Britain, where socialized health care is firmly in place, doing everything you can to save a life is not important. What is important is following regulations put in place to save the government time and money.
Now, many of you may wonder what this story has to do with us here in the United States. Well, thanks to Obama’s government run health care bill that Democrats are trying to force on us, it’s entirely possible that horror stories like this one could start occuring here. Consider the fact that Obama voted not once, not twice, but three times against a bill requiring doctors to provide treatment to babies who survive abortions. What kind of compassion do you honestly think he would have for babies like Jayden, especially if he’s successful in implementing his government run health care reform? Babies like Jayden would be just like the elderly to him — too expensive, a waste of time, and a drain on the system. It’s one more reason why we need to keep the pressure on lawmakers in Washington to, for once in their feeble, pathetic lives, actually grow a spine, listen to their constituents, and do the right thing.

Blogger brother Rick adds:

Bureaucrats enforcing cost saving measures as to who should be cared for… all in the name of nationalized health care.

Obama will make the upteenth attempt tonight to convince you that this is what America needs to embrace.


Bullshit indeed. All of His slobbering toadies are climbing all over themselves to color and characterize Palin’s now-notorious “death panels” comment as some kind of made-up fable, a fiction, a fantasy, a myth, an urban legend.

And every single time they do that — without exception! — they prove beyond the shadow of any doubt that they simply don’t know what they’re talking about. That, or they’re talking to other people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

Update: Sarah Palin knows what she’s talking about, much as that may irk some folks. And of all the possible lead-ins to her op-ed piece, I think Dr. Melissa Clouthier has put together the very best one:

The press alternately calls Sarah Palin stupid or irrelevant. However, both in political instinct and policy substance, it’s clear that she is neither.

Today, her Op-Ed appears in the Wall Street Journal. It’s good. Cogent, clear, and well-written. She’s got a ghost-writer, say lib operatives. Let’s hope! Does Barack Obama write all his own stuff? Surely, libs jest. His college thesis can’t even be found. Why would anyone quibble that Sarah Palin would have a ghost writer? Probably because she makes sense:

Instead of poll-driven “solutions,” let’s talk about real health-care reform: market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven. As the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon and others have argued, such policies include giving all individuals the same tax benefits received by those who get coverage through their employers; providing Medicare recipients with vouchers that allow them to purchase their own coverage; reforming tort laws to potentially save billions each year in wasteful spending; and changing costly state regulations to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Rather than another top-down government plan, let’s give Americans control over their own health care.

Democrats have never seriously considered such ideas, instead rushing through their own controversial proposals. After all, they don’t need Republicans to sign on: Democrats control the House, the Senate and the presidency. But if passed, the Democrats’ proposals will significantly alter a large sector of our economy. They will not improve our health care. They will not save us money. And, despite what the president says, they will not “provide more stability and security to every American.”

D’JEver Notice? XXXIX

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

If you wanted to “reform” America’s medical system out of a genuine concern for the welfare of the people being treated, you would care a great deal about the content of whatever legislation is being passed, and not care too much about the timeline.

If you wanted to “reform” America’s medical system in order to change the way America works, to change its monetary system, to fundamentally alter how people exchange goods and services, to shatter its structure, to demolish the marketplace, to transform the country into just another filthy socialist mudpuddle, but you didn’t care too much about the welfare of the people being treated, your priorities would be the exact reverse. You’d care a lot about the timeline but you wouldn’t care too much about the content of the legislation. It would just be the “camel’s nose” to you. Break the ice first, put the “right people” in charge, then get things working exactly the way you want later.

The American Medical Association seems to be much more concerned about timeline than about content:

The same day as President Barack Obama’s healthcare address before a joint session of Congress, the American Medical Association on Wednesday urged lawmakers to pass a reform bill this year. The group had declared support for the administration as early as May, but its letter still gives Obama’s agenda a much-needed lift ahead of a crucial speech.

“You have an historic opportunity to improve the health and well-being of the American public,” the AMA wrote. “On behalf of America’s physicians and their patients, we strongly urge you to reach agreement this year.”

The group said legislation should have essential elements, including provisions that ensure “health care decisions are made by patients and their physicians, not by insurance companies or government officials,” eliminate policies for pre-existing conditions, and reform medical liability as well as insurance claims processing requirements to reduce costs.

It made no mention of a public option but said reform should “expand choice of affordable coverage.” The group previously expressed qualified support for a public option plan, specifically the one passed by the House Energy Committee that allows doctors to negotiate payment rates, thereby “guarantee[ing] voluntary physician participation.”

This seems to dovetail with the President’s sense of priorities as well:

President Obama plans to argue Wednesday night in a high-stakes address to Congress that the country’s health care system is at a “breaking point,” as he urges lawmakers to stop “bickering” and pass comprehensive reform.

“The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action,” Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery before a joint session of Congress. “Now is the time to deliver on health care.”

Obama is stressing his resolve to bring lawmakers together and clear away hurdles to passing an overhaul package.

“I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last,” Obama said in the prepared remarks, released in excerpts.

James Taranto had a swell time dredging up some humor out of this situation today:

Are you as excited as we are? Can you feel the electricity in the air? Tonight’s the big night! President Obama is giving an address to a joint session of Congress, in an effort to rally support for . . . well, we’re not sure what exactly.

The Hill quotes “a Democratic leadership aide who sat in on an administration briefing Tuesday” and who “said that while Obama will offer support Wednesday for a public option, the president will not insist on it”:

“He’s going to say it’s the best tool for reducing costs,” the aide said. “I think he’s going to be a bit noncommittal.”

The Associated Press reports that the president himself told ABC’s “Good Morning America”: “We do intend to get something done this year.” Politico puts it this way:

Obama will give a STRONG ENDORSEMENT to a public option–or government health-insurance plan–as a route to choice and competition, using phrases similar to his Labor Day speech in Cincinnati. But aides are sticking to their longtime plan: He will NOT draw a line in the sand, and will NOT say that a bill wouldn’t be real reform without it. Obama thinks it would be hard to get to true choice and competition without a public option or a fallback to a public option (the so-called trigger, which would kick in based on the insurance market). But his remarks will leave WIGGLE ROOM FOR HORSETRADING as the bill moves through Congress.

So he’s making a STRONG ENDORSEMENT, albeit a noncommittal one that leaves WIGGLE ROOM FOR HORSETRADING, because he intends to get “something” done.

Remember during the campaign when Obama’s critics faulted him for having voted “present” so often as a legislator? In retrospect, it’s clear that this line of attack was totally unfair. Voting “present” was bold and decisive leadership compared with this.

My, he had fun writing that.

I have a proposal. A proposal for the nation, for the legislators who represent it, for the Republicans who aren’t running it.

Let’s make real sure this gets done right. Let’s do what we should have done with the bailouts. Let’s wait. If that means nothing happens this year, there’s always next year.

Whoever gets angry and upset about that, probably doesn’t have the interests of the country at heart, or of the people who live in the country who occasionally get sick.

And whoever that is, fuck ’em. Fuck ’em right in the ear. Let ’em get as mad as they want.

I’m only calling for what our incumbent representatives should be demanding anyway. It should be intuitively obvious to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention, that this is a good opportunity for someone to get fired. We, the citizens, obviously care about this. A lot. Our representatives, obviously, don’t know too much about what it is we want. Certainly not as much as they thought they did. They need to take time to learn. We need to take time to be heard.

So let’s wait. This thing needs some definition. And I’m not saying that to help Republicans or hurt democrats — it’s just plain TRUE.

Besides, last time I heard “status quo is unacceptable, better to do something than nothing” was that damn stimulus. The time before that, it was those damn auto bailouts. The time before that, it was the damn S&Ls. Not a single one of those has turned out terribly well. Come to think of it, not a single one of them have worked out as well as doin’ nothin’. All three did more harm than good.

So let’s apply the lesson we learned. God knows we paid enough money for it.

Good Ideas at a Town Hall Meeting

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Two of ’em, by my count: Open up the marketplace, and tort reform. And listening to your constituents like you’re supposed to, by implication, that’s a third good idea.

Why, naturally that’s all just crazy talk.

Hat tip to Noisy Room, by way of blogger friend Rick.

To TPM, It’s All About the Comeback

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

I can promise you one thing right here and now about the “take my $20” lady, Keli Carender. I can promise you that if I went into a crowded room anywhere and got the microphone, and my speech started with “this is all about two competing philosophies” or something like that — which is a good intro to about ninety percent of all the things I’d like to say — there is no way I’ll have the crowd cheering for me, twenty dollar bill or no twenty dollar bill. Typically, I start speeches out that way just before people get tired of listening to them.

Like my uncle used to tell me: “There are two kinds of people in this world, those who want to divide everyone into groups of people, and those who don’t.”

He was right about that, but perhaps not for the reasons he thought. Once people start to make a living off their weaknesses, once “need is the coin of the realm” as Ayn Rand put it — those who are well-stocked in that coin are the first to balk at any such exercise in taxonomy. They want everyone to be the same. It’s how they make their living. Beats the hell out of working.

Well, TPM Muckraker is having none of it. By which I mean…they came up with a meaningful difference between taxing the bejeezus out of us, and just walking up and taking our twenty dollar bills out of our hands, thereby credibly accusing Ms. Carender of engaging in a deceptive and invalid straw-man argument?

No. They just took note of how the democrat congressman smacked down Ms. Carender with his snappy comeback, “winning” the argument. Or how he would’ve, rather, if only their fantasy had come true.

To [Washington State Congressman Norm] Dicks’ credit, he did have the beginnings of a good response in turning down the money: “I can’t accept a contribution like that.” The problem was that his delivery, perhaps thrown off by the cheering Tea Party types, was too weak and apologetic. If he’d been a little more sarcastic, it would have been a great snappy comeback.

So this all-important health care debate, about how to manage a seventh or a sixth of our nation’s economy, some $2 or $3 trillion worth of transactions of goods and services…comes down to snappy comebacks. Guess that’s what we get for putting the kids in charge. This is a fate that naturally awaits us when people walk into voting booths with iPod buds in their ears.

*Sigh*. Some “muckraker.”

The Senator’s Corpse

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

I’m reading the headlines and I’m watching the news on the teevee, and it’s looking more and more definite: Unless someone’s blowing smoke up my butt, it’s a done deal. The democrats are going to take their pig-in-a-poke of a European-style universal health care plan, toss around a few brainless bromides about the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and try to put it over the top. They’re hoping X many members of Congress who are up for re-election in 2010, are going to look at their constituents and figure out they couldn’t afford to vote yes before Teddy Swimmer kicked it, and now that he has, maybe they can say “I voted yea to honor his memory” and get away with it. Tug at the heartstrings a little. Think of the children, think of the guy who needs Viagra and can’t afford it, think of Ted.

Dead Senator's CorpseThink of, think of, think of. Think of everything except whether the idea is a good ‘un or not. As I said this morning…and it is worth repeating…

Every left-wing politician’s argument, it seems, is a distraction away from the “If we do this, that thing will happen” that is central to all responsible planning. Their talking points seem to systematically address all concerns in the universe except that.

And now the nation is supposed to look back on this health care scheme it deplores, and smile upon it, to give a dead narcissist a cheery send-off.

Wonder what Mary Jo thinks of that.

You know why the nation is so unbelievably divided right now? It’s not because Republicans are smart and democrats are stupid. Here is some truth: Our division comes not from a divide over smarts, or even a divide in priorities or a divide in principles. It is, fundamentally, a disagreement in how quickly one should be distracted.

The typical democrat voter is plenty smart enough to understand conservative principles — at least the obvious ones. The ones, like: If you’re a proponent of womens’ rights across the world, you should have supported the invasion of Iraq. Or…if all the guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Or…if you say yes to all the illegal aliens, you really don’t know what you’re saying yes to — because being illegal is all about nobody knowing who you really are, or what you’ve done. Or…if you’re really tired of seeing gas prices go up, fer Chrissakes, drill baby drill.

These are not esoteric belief systems. They’re fairly obvious. They’re like “two plus two equals four” — if you use the part of your brain that specializes in basic, concrete cognitive thought.

And that’s what the ideological split really is. Our liberals don’t disagree with us about what two plus two is. They disagree about “overriding” concerns. To the liberal mind, there is always something that changes that particular play, by slapping the ball out of bounds. There’s always some exception clause being invoked. Something that turns everything upside-down; something that makes wet into dry, North into South, red into cyan, makes the moral immoral and the immoral moral, makes children wise and the elders childlike, makes a school district struggling with seventy languages into an optimal model for efficient education, a plutocracy into an egalitarian society, yesterday’s no-account bum into today’s “working family,” global-warming into climate-change, Hillary Clinton into a smart attractive woman, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq into some earthly paradise, John McCain into a divider, Nancy Pelosi into a uniter. Everything is transmogrified into the opposite of what it really is. Because of some kind of right-brain-induced logical hiccup.

They don’t really believe the stuff they say they believe. If they did, they really would be stupid. But most of them aren’t stupid; they’re just distracted, and because they’re distracted they’re jealous of anyone who isn’t.

And now a Senator has dropped dead. It’s just another loophole. Another exception clause. In their world, there’s no way to really show proper respect to the dead, except by turning the rules of the universe upside down. In their world, if I really respect you, and you happen to kick the bucket on the day I’m asked what two plus two is, I have to say three. Or five. If I give the same answer to that basic question that I’d give on any other day, I’m not respecting you. And so when Senator Kennedy drops dead, we have to suddenly pretend a stupid idea is a great one.

But it isn’t. Two and two are still four. And the idea still sucks ass.

Best Sentence LXX

Monday, August 24th, 2009

The seventieth award for Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) is hereby awarded to Maggie’s Farm:

Let me get this straight…

We’re going to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose head says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it but exempts themselves from it, signed by a president that also hasn’t read it (and who smokes) with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that’s nearly broke.

What possibly could go wrong?

And don’t you dare say a disparaging word against the government’s ability to “compete” with the private sector, or I’ll call you a birther right-wing whack-job who’s probably a racist.

“Death Panel” is as Good a Name as Any

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Charles Krauthammer exposes an ugly truth about these various efforts we’ve undertaken in the modern age to build our dream Utopian society that works “for the benefit of everyone”: A central pillar to the vision, is now and has always been, one of creating an exclusive club very much like the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Unfortunately, he exposes this ugly truth not by realizing it about others and responsibly pointing it out, but by being a part of it.

Let’s see if we can have a reasoned discussion about end-of-life counseling.

We might start by asking Sarah Palin to leave the room. I’ve got nothing against her. She’s a remarkable political talent. But there are no “death panels” in the Democratic health-care bills, and to say that there are is to debase the debate.

Speaking of debasing the debate…if you pop that link open and read it, you’ll see the next several paragraphs after this snide little salvo, Krauthammer goes on to most articulately make Palin’s point.

The good Dr. Melissa goes after the good Dr. Charles with some points he should have been able to realize on his own. The truth is, even when Krauthammer makes Palin’s point apparently without consciously realizing he’s making Palin’s point while telling Palin to shut up, he fails to capture exactly how bad things might get. But the point isn’t lost on Melissa Clouthier any more than it’s lost on Sarah Palin.

Taken on its own, Section 1233 of H.R. 3200 is not a death panel. It’s more a death recommendation.

Dr. Krauthammer forgets though, that this isn’t the only death-related provision of the bill or of this health care legislation generally. The counseling is an indicator of intent. While a doctor is financially incentivized to have a death discussion, the government program will, by nature of sheer numbers, want people to choose, as President Obama says, a “pain pill over surgery.”

Further, the government, and a bureaucratic board of 27 appointees will be deciding care for people. That is, 27 people will be answering questions like: who receives care? Who qualifies? Who doesn’t? In what circumstances? It will be a bureaucratic answer and bureaucrats, who cannot be sued and have no incentive beyond cutting costs and appeasing political special interests. Individual needs will get lost in the collective good. Some people will die because of these choices.

This Utopian society we’ve been trying to build that nobody living or dead has actually seen…I’m just fascinated with it. During the planning and construction, someone is always being excluded from something. Old people should just die, former Governors of Alaska should just shut up, those people shouldn’t be in this town hall because they’re too well dressed.

We’re trying to find a way to get “everyone” covered, no matter what, so nobody’s excluded.

Before we talk about that, we should have Sarah leave the room.

She has the annoying habit of pointing out that this plan might give us an incentive to kill people.

Which, according to Krauthammer’s own words, is exactly right. She’s gotta go.

I would argue that the entire exercise of building this society is, from the foundation on up, riddled with contradictions. It has no clue as to whether it wants to honor the fundamental God-given right of humans to exist and to fight for that right to exist…it doesn’t know. Because its answer to that is both a yes and a no. Both of them rather emphatic. And so it labors under the heavy burden of an inherent contradiction. It ends up fighting itself. That’s why it’s failing.

When Dr. Clouthier cross-posted this at Right Wing News, Commenter CavalierX cut right to the heart of the matter in one deft motion, like a skilled surgeon wielding a sharp scalpel. Every single syllable of his is loaded with wisdom, you know this to be true because every single syllable of it could have been mine.

I generally like Krauthammer, but he’s an ass if he thinks there’s no such thing as a “death panel” just because the words “death panel” don’t appear in the bill that hasn’t been written yet. Someone’s going to have to make decisions on what qualifies people to recieve what treatments, and you can call it a commission, bureau, cabinet, task force or board — they will decide who lives and who dies. “Death panel” is as good a name as any.

For Now, We Dance

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

And we didn’t get here by saying “Oh, we’re willing to compromise and be moderate…that proves we’re reasonable…” We got here by the opposition being unreasonable. And with everyone realizing that on their own.

A certain faithful reader needed to see that. Now then. On with the dancing.

Split It Up

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Two halves; get the camel’s nose in the tent first, and its enormous dingleberry-coated flea-bitten ass in later.

The White House and Senate Democratic leaders, seeing little chance of bipartisan support for their health-care overhaul, are considering a strategy shift that would break the legislation into two parts and pass the most expensive provisions solely with Democratic votes.

The idea is the latest effort by Democrats to escape the morass caused by delays in Congress, as well as voter discontent crystallized in angry town-hall meetings. Polls suggest the overhaul plans are losing public support, giving Republicans less incentive to go along.

Democrats hope a split-the-bill plan would speed up a vote and help President Barack Obama meet his goal of getting a final measure by year’s end.

The important person behind this story is one Senator Grassley of Iowa, who has lately upset the democrat talking point about the angry-town-hall-people being just a bunch of drunks and bigots and gun nuts who can’t stand having a black President. Looks like that dog won’t hunt no more.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, a key Republican negotiator in the quest for bipartisan health-care reform, said Wednesday that the outpouring of anger at town hall meetings this month has fundamentally altered the nature of the debate and convinced him that lawmakers should consider drastically scaling back the scope of the effort.

After being besieged by protesters at meetings across his home state of Iowa, Grassley said he has concluded that the public has rejected the far-reaching proposals Democrats have put on the table, viewing them as overly expensive precursors to “a government takeover of health care.”

Grassley said he remains hopeful that he and five other members of the Senate Finance Committee can draft a better, less costly plan capable of winning broad support from Democrats and Republicans. But as the group, known as the Gang of Six, prepared to continue talking via teleconference late Thursday, Grassley said the members may be forced to reassess the breadth of their efforts in light of public concerns.

Lost in the din is the connection between whatever is to be done, and a solution to a problem. Why are we doing this again? Something about the status quo being unacceptable?

How many times in human history has a status quo been rejected because of its unsuitability, so that a “fix” may be implemented that is even more unsuitable…much discomfort ensues, and those with long memories wax nostalgic for the formerly-unsuitable status quo. We like to pretend that’s never ever happened, I notice, when in reality it’s happened quite a lot.

When I listen for people saying “When we do X, it will solve problem Y because of effect Z” all I hear is crickets. The solution itself is entirely undefined, and once it is defined it will be a solution in search of a problem if there ever was such a thing. All that’s been solidified is that action is required, nobody knows what, but the entity to do the acting is Congress. And it’s gotta do something really big, right now.

You know, there’s no way in this universe this can possibly be a good thing.

Kind of like grabbing the stupidest monkey that can be found, strapping him into the pilot’s seat of the mightiest Harrier jump-jet available, making sure it’s gassed all the way up, and doing whatever it takes to get the primate airborne in sixty seconds or less wherever the population density is the thickest.

Update: The Onion presents us with the happenings in an alternative universe in which, perhaps, the situation is just a little bit happier:

After months of committee meetings and hundreds of hours of heated debate, the United States Congress remained deadlocked this week over the best possible way to deny Americans health care.

“Both parties understand that the current system is broken,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Monday. “But what we can’t seem to agree upon is how to best keep it broken, while still ensuring that no elected official takes any political risk whatsoever. It’s a very complicated issue.”

“Ultimately, though, it’s our responsibility as lawmakers to put these differences aside and focus on refusing Americans the health care they deserve,” Pelosi added.

Failure of Capitalism, Reform, and “Status Quo”

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

BroKen, who blogs at Rick’s place, has somehow made David Axelrod’s e-mail list. He didn’t intend to do that, he’s not sure how he did it, but now that he’s on it he’s damn sure not getting off of it. But that’s alright because he’s getting some great blogger material out of the situation…

The latest word from Mr. Axelrod concerned health care reform. He lists eight ways the reform gives stability and security, eight myths concerning the reform, and eight reasons reform is needed. I agree that reform is needed and he wants me to spread his information around, so here goes.
[E]very mandate either limits the insurance company’s income or increases their cost. A simpleton might think it’s great that the government will make those “evil” insurance companies get less and give more. But half a minute’s thought and you realize that the insurance companies will certainly find a way to pass increased costs on to their customers (you and me.) If they don’t, they will go bankrupt. Any reform that drives up insurance costs is really anti-reform!
Perhaps the government will not force you to drop your insurance. But if the government sets rules so that private insurance is more costly, most people (most employers) will seek a cheaper alternative. Therefore, the “public option” planned by the government will certainly drive out private insurance leaving only one source for insurance, the government. So, you won’t keep your insurance after all.

Once again, I graciously volunteered my wisdom, although BroKen already nailed down the highlights of what needed nailing down.

A simpleton might think it’s great that the government will make those “evil” insurance companies get less and give more. But half a minute’s thought and you realize that the insurance companies will certainly find a way to pass increased costs on to their customers (you and me.) If they don’t, they will go bankrupt.

Yup, you go to the head of the class.

But it isn’t the case just with the Obama healthcare plan. It’s true of every single piece of “reform” ever proposed by democrats, with regard to anything. And the rocket-fuel for the reform that is the public’s disaffection with the status quo, always seems to have been caused by the failure of “private industry” to provide a quality product for a reasonable price…for years and generations…which, in turn, was caused by…some other legislation that was proposed and negotiated and rammed through by democrats.

I’m speaking generally here. Health care, the tort system, education, auto manufacturing, steelworking, anything with a labor union. democrats throw around those two words “status quo” — and what they mean by that, is “the situation as I and my democrat buddies have made it.” They mean that, whether they realize it or not.

Every single failure of capitalism in this country that has necessitated reform, was caused by something that really wasn’t capitalism.

Now, this is not obscure stuff. As BroKen said, it requires “half a minute’s thought” and it may require even less than that.

One is not entirely sure exactly where to put one’s hopes: Do the democrats intend to wreck the free market one industry at a time, by creating these “failures of capitalism” through anti-capitalist legislation and then using the resulting failures as evidence that even more “reform” is needed? Or are they so stupid they can’t comprehend the history of what’s been going on, what they have been doing, what the eventual result has to be of their new rules that make relatively simple transactions artificially unworkable and expensive?

Do they just plain not give a damn? If not, what else is it they’re trying to get done, that always seems to provide “free” stuff for the desired constituents over the short term, but over the longer term is constantly pushing modest elements of The American Dream further and further out of reach for those who haven’t made up their minds to depend on government for everything?

Or are we dealing with some kind of “protection racket”? Is this just a way of sending a message to those of us who don’t want to be wards of the state? Kind of a “That’s a nice life ya got there, be a shame if something happened to it.”

A Short Course in Brain Surgery

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Single-payer compassion.

As noted before, we’ve been rushing off in a direction from whence those who are already there, are running headlong in the opposite direction — hands flailing over their heads, screaming, for good reason.


Credit goes to Ed Wallis, Comment #5.

Word Games

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

The democrats have been playing them and Melissa’s been noticing:

Because “government-run health care” — both the phrase and the actuality of the idea — go over like a lead balloon with the American people, the Democrats have chosen new language hoping to obscure their intent to remake the health care system. The new language key word: “reform.”

Reform is a good word. It sounds like making something that’s okay a lot better. You know, get rid of the bad stuff, add some good. Unfortunately, the changes in the system are not reforms which suggest refinements. Rather they’re wholesale changes that will remake the very fabric of American society should they be implemented.

Just as an example, John David Lewis, a college professor read the bill and came up with some questions, the answers from the bill, and the implications.
What is described in the bill here is not simply a reform. The tax code, legal system, hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, and the patient experience are radically changed. Radical change does not suggest reform. It suggests transformation.

The administration, by pushing toward taking the “public option off the table,” is taking quite a gamble here but they really don’t have much of a choice. The country simply isn’t going for it. The hope now is to pass a “Camel’s Nose In Tent” bill so that the government can take over this industry at a later time. That’s good for the hardcore fringe statist crowd, but the matter remains about how to get large numbers of suckers and chumps to go for it. The point to the public option was to get “everyone” covered and take care of those 47 million mythical paupers wandering our streets with their inflamed appendices hanging out of their bellies because they can’t get health care.

Now, the pitch has devolved into something more absurd: There is a pressing urgency in getting our health care system screwed with, just for getting it screwed with.

I look at the “faith” people seem to have in state run health care, and I notice every single one of the advocates either have some kind of exit strategy which would spare them from having to put up with it for their own health care needs, or else they live in another country that has state run health care already. I can’t escape the notion that perhaps, when your own system of values burps out only a tiny bit of value for human life, your tendency is to become resentful of anyone else who places more value on human life. I also can’t escape the notion that this entirely explains this push toward a government/healthcare intermixing that doesn’t really offer anyone any benefits that anyone is willing to openly discuss.

I’m pretty pleased at this point with America’s current, if only momentary, return to her roots. Bureaucrats deciding for us what crooks can enter our homes, what organs will exit our bodies, and later what thoughts are in our heads? No thanks, this is America! And not a single tear shed over how many other “wise” countries have already accepted what we’ve rejected. Well done, America. Let’s lock it in place: How about a “Separation of Hospital and State” amendment? Maybe it’s time.

What Exactly Is a “Strategist” Anyway?

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Coulter and Serpenthead.


Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Yeah, we’ve amputated something alright…

Demagoguery. It can be a subtle thing. Who can possibly argue against the wisdom of preventive medicine?

I’d sure like to know where Our Holy Savior is getting His numbers.

Leave Barack Alone!

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

On Thursday, James Taranto discussed the Obama healthcare plan and how it was being “promoted”…

If the plan were good, you would expect its proponents to be staking their arguments on its merits. Instead, they are turning this into a debate about the plan’s opponents. A telling video clip of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) on MSNBC’s “Hardball” has been making the rounds:

So all of this is a diversion by the people who want to, frankly, hurt President Obama. You’ve heard the Republican senator Jim DeMint say it: Let’s make this “Obama’s Waterloo,” let’s break him. That’s what this is about.

And by the way, I saw some of the clips of people storming these town hall meetings. The last time I saw well-dressed people doing this was when Al Gore asked me to go down to Florida when they were recounting the ballots, and I was confronted with the same type of people. They were there screaming and yelling, “Go back to California,” “Get out of here,” and all the rest of it–until I finally looked at them and I said, “You know what? Your hero Ronald Reagan is from California. You should show a little respect.” And then they quieted down.

So this is just all organized. Just go up on the Web site, Chris. You in the media have to take a look at what’s going on here. This is all planned. It’s to hurt our president, and it’s to change the Congress.

Most of the ensuing criticism has centered on Boxer’s weird fashion commentary. This may reflect no more than a regional difference: Californians tend to be more casual in their sartorial standards than regular people. Still, it’s a head-scratcher why Boxer would think it is to her opponents’ discredit that they are “well-dressed”–i.e., that they look respectable.

This golden-stater says — hey waitaminnit. Don’t go looking to me for an explanation about what my aging-hippie-girl senator was raving about. In fact, if DeMint is looking for a way to hit back, if you’re ever in conversation with the gentleman from South Carolina Mr. Taranto, you might recommend to him that the campaign commercials be made to directly address this strange culture war we have raging under the surface. Who deserves attention? People who request it respectfully, dressing like they have something important to say that’s of interest to more people than just themselves? Or the folks with whom Boxer apparently feels more of a kindred spirit, the assholes who block bridges with bicycles during rush hour? She seems to live in a world in which you don’t deserve attention until & unless you dress down. This is an apt illustration of the decision that was made last November, to put the kids in charge of the dinner menu, what’s on teevee, bedtime, et cetera. Remind the voters again, please. Boxer looks like she’s ready to help you remind everyone what she & hers are all about.

Taranto continues…

But what caught our attention was the plaint that ObamaCare opponents want “to hurt the president.” It reminds us of those hilarious “Leave Britney alone!” videos that were the rage on YouTube a couple of years back. How exactly does Boxer expect this to persuade anyone to support the legislation? Just imagine the thought process: I don’t want higher taxes and government rationing of medical care. But doggone it, I’m for it anyway, because I don’t want to hurt the president!
So, let’s review the arguments:

• Republicans are bad, they lost the last election, and they have partisan motives for wanting to stop ObamaCare.

• People who are angry about this are crackpots who display swastikas and other invidious symbols. Also, their anger is insincere, and they are shills of the RNC. They wear nice clothes, and this is not to their credit.

• Some of the arguments against ObamaCare are false, according to Obama.

• If ObamaCare is defeated, Obama would be hurt.

Is there any argument for ObamaCare? In all the material we reviewed for this item, only this, from the Obama email:

Every day we don’t act, Americans watch their premiums rise three times faster than wages, small businesses and families are pushed towards bankruptcy, and 14,000 people lose their coverage entirely. The cost of inaction is simply too much for the people of this nation to bear.

In other words, the “crisis” is so urgent that any thoughtful deliberation would entail intolerable delay. This is the same old argument that has already failed.

If this is the best the president can do, he deserves to lose resoundingly. If that hurts him, there’s always aspirin.

If I wanted to motivate large numbers of people to make wrong decisions on a regular basis, I would take this list of ways to make such a thing happen and start fleshing it out.

I’d demand people support my dumb ideas, for any number of conceivable reasons that had nothing to do with the content of the ideas. Prove you’re not a racist. Don’t hurt that guy. So-and-so might get mad at you if you oppose my dumb idea. We’ll have riots…

I’d end up behaving exactly the way the democrats really do behave. All the time. It seems to always be a question of “here’s today’s reason why you should do this…and notice I’m not discussing what’s going to happen if it goes through, I want to talk about everything else.” I miss the days when the bullshit was of a different grade, one that pretended to be concerned about what was going to happen to us. “Don’t let Reagan stockpile more nukular weapons, he’ll get everyone blown up” comes to mind. What happened to that?

To repeat: Is there any argument for ObamaCare?

Krugman on the Town Hall Rent-a-Mobs

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Paul Krugman does his bit to make sure the powerful have a voice that will prevail against the powerless…

There’s a famous Norman Rockwell painting titled “Freedom of Speech,” depicting an idealized American town meeting. The painting, part of a series illustrating F.D.R.’s “Four Freedoms,” shows an ordinary citizen expressing an unpopular opinion. His neighbors obviously don’t like what he’s saying, but they’re letting him speak his mind.

That’s a far cry from what has been happening at recent town halls, where angry protesters — some of them, with no apparent sense of irony, shouting “This is America!” — have been drowning out, and in some cases threatening, members of Congress trying to talk about health reform.

Where to begin?

I always took it as a given that the painting was about “ordinary” citizens, once given the courage to find a voice, being entitled to use it. The man speaking, after all, is in casual clothes that indicate a humble working and social status, and it’s obvious that this was central to Rockwell’s intent. But of course it isn’t central to the intent of Krugman, who wants to champion the cause of the poor, powerless and oppressed Congressmen who are determined to vote bills into law that they haven’t read.

Secondly, if the argument is one about anecdotes that suggest one side or the other is connected to some kind of organizational structure, with the matter settled upon the discussion of the first or second such anecdote, verified or not — that isn’t much of an argument, is it? Is this how the nation’s most prestigious economist decides things? I suppose that beats the snot out of “every single idea on the ideological spectrum is better than the idea to its immediate right, but not as good as the one to the immediate left” which is how I previously thought Mr. Krugman decides what’s wonderful and what’s odious. But it seems to me the former forensic method is simply a thin, purely cosmetic justification for the latter. Could someone place a call to the New York Times and inform Krugman that some of these mobs on the left have been known to benefit from central coordination as well? Judging by his remarks here, it should come as quite the learning experience.

Thirdly, I notice Krugman’s logic defeats itself. If these are isolated cases of nutbars and whack-jobs speaking out at town hall meetings, interrupting these poor, poor oppressed legislators who want so badly to vote on bills they haven’t read…but the real mainstream Americans understand what a wonderful idea it is to have this universal healthcare (in this bill the Congressmen haven’t read)…the solution is quite simple. Just stop holding the town hall meetings. Stop talking to us. Just pass the whole mess into law, and in the next election cycle the constituents can decide whether they thought that was a swell idea or not. After they’ve spent two to four years living with the consequences and had an opportunity to receive the benefits of that wonderful, wonderful state-provided health care.

Stop talking, start doing. That would shut down the enemy’s propaganda machine right then & there, wouldn’t it?

I realize it’s become cliched to ponder “What Would The Founding Fathers Think of X” and everyone wants to resurrect the gentlemen who gave us Independence within some mythical bubble, in which the old white guys in knee breeches and wigs, who seldom agreed with each other on much of anything, magically march in lock-step with whoever’s speaking about it. It’s not an honest way to argue about anything, and we try to stay away from it. Still and all, in this case, I have to wonder what Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams would have to say about what so obviously weighs on Paul Krugman’s mind here — the right, and the ability, of the powerful to speak out over the objections of those who lack any real power to stop them, and are committed to living with what results from the decisions of those powerful people, be it good or bad.

I try to envision a train of thought any one of them would use, just before announcing “and so this economist you have, Paul Krugman, is absolutely right and you should listen to him.” I’m not having much success with this. Such a train-of-thought would suppose that this nation was put together to make sure our elected representatives would be able to pass poorly-thought-out laws upon how the rest of us live out our lives — how our bodies are to be maintained — with an absolute minimum of fuss, hassle, thought or challenge.

Many’s the Krugman column that has inspired me to question: Upon what planet does this fellow live? This one’s just more of the same. Planet Propaganda, I guess. Krugman’s a shill, but that’s just stating the obvious.

It’s a bitch when those democrat-party paychecks don’t clear, huh Paul?

“Carrying Swastikas”

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Crazy Aging-Hippy Cat Lady chirps up yet again…

The radio guys leveled a rather devastating fusillade in response to this a few minutes ago, in one of their opening comments…something along the lines of “you know, if there’s a Nazi somewhere who doesn’t like this health care plan — he’s probably right about that.”

Is there someone somewhere ready, willing and able to hold Speaker Pelosi aloft as a shining, shimmering icon of the high confidence they hold in the people making decisions right now? Just wondering.

Really, really wondering.

Crazy cat lady.


Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Hat tip to E Maua Ola i Moku o Keawe.

We Have to Make Judgments Very Fast

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Arlen Specter’s comment (about 1:40) didn’t go over terribly well with the crowd.

Perhaps this is a great time to review the bullet points of what’s good about the health care system — as it currently exists. Maybe the good Senator would like to make a judgment about that very fast. And, perhaps a refresher review of Crowder’s excellent piece, in which he makes the following point:

We are rushing “very fast” in a direction toward where other countries already are with their health care systems…and simultaneous with that, they’re rushing in the other direction as “very fast” as their little legs can carry ’em.


Ten Reasons Why American Health Care is Better Than You Think

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Hoover Institution, via Maggie’s Farm.

1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.
2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.
3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.
4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.
5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.
6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom.
7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed.
8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians.
9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain.
10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.

One radio doc to whom I was listening, advanced a truth I’ve not yet heard contradicted anywhere, credibly or otherwise: Yes, Americans spend an unprecedented amount of money on health care, but that is because there is an unprecedented presence of inventive and effective new things for us to buy.

And, of course, there is the tort system. I’ve yet to hear of any lately-proposed “overhaul” of our health care industry include meaningful tort reform among its strategies, primary or secondary.

Mark Steyn has a thought to add on the “cost” of health care in America:

It’s often argued that, as a proportion of GDP, America spends more on health care than countries with government medical systems. But, as a point of fact, “America” doesn’t spend anything on health care: Hundreds of millions of people make hundreds of millions of individual decisions about what they’re going to spend on health care. Whereas up north a handful of bureaucrats determine what Canada will spend on health care — and that’s that: Health care is a government budget item.

Congressman From Missouri Tries to Sell Obamacare

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

…and he’s dyin’ up there. Dyin’. You wouldn’t want any stand-up comedian to suffer this kind of indignity even if he’s your worst enemy.

Love that rhetorical question at the end.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin, via Cassy.

Going Bankrupt if We Don’t Spend Money

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

In one of the early jobs many years ago, I was one of two software engineers in a little start-up on Mercer Island that employed us, three-and-a-half salesmen, and nobody else…with a silent partner and ruthless venture capitalist shark thrown into the mix. I swear to fucking God, if I live to be hundred and fifty years old I’ll never forget it. Think Glengarry Glenn Ross on steroids except with the coders as convenient whipping boys, as a replacement for “the leads are shit.” We wrote what the sales guys referred to as “magic code,” and got all of the pressure and none of the authority or ability to do anything to positively impact the situation. No layers between software design and software marketing…none. Actually, there’s a difference between marketing and sales, and this wasn’t marketing. Looking back, that was the number one problem. Lack of buffering layers. Market research…requirements documents…design…project management…all non-existent.

One thing that stands out to me more than anything else, was this plan a couple of them were making together on a Friday afternoon. Wanna go deer hunting? Sure. Hey tell ya what. Let’s leave the rifles at home, and talk the deer into committing suicide.

I think, twenty years ago, I was gaining some insight into the planet on which Vice President Joe Biden lives: Selling things to people that will ultimately hurt them, is a form of sport. The Big Reveal? You’re much better off buying something from someone who doesn’t care one bit about you, than you are buying something from a guy like Joe Biden. And you know why that is? Because the guy who doesn’t give two shits about you, will sell you stuff that will make himself a profit…which may be to your benefit, or it may be to your detriment. It’s random. And because it’s random, there is opportunity for you to jump in there and leverage control of the situation. You can say to yourself, “this guy claims to be representing my interests, but I can tell he’s a bullshitter; nobody else is representing my interests so I’ll take care of that part of it.”

But guys like Joe Biden go a few steps beyond this. I’ve met them before. They aren’t true bullshitters, because they care enough about your interests to sell you things reliably contrary to them. They talk the deer into committing suicide. That is where the sport is, you see.

“And folks look, AARP knows and the people with me here today know, the president knows, and I know, that the status quo is simply not acceptable,” Biden said at the event on Thursday in Alexandria, Va. “It’s totally unacceptable. And it’s completely unsustainable. Even if we wanted to keep it the way we have it now. It can’t do it financially.”

“We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation,” Biden said.

“Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’” Biden said. “The answer is yes, that’s what I’m telling you.”

Because talking the deer into running off to live another day, would be boring.

And telling us that yes, the way to go bankrupt is to spend money and the way to avoid it is to save money — that would also be boring. So it’s out of the question. Salesman Joe has to have his fun.

Out comes the irony. Poison is healthy, the way to outrun a monster is to walk really slow, you have to spend all the money you can grab to avoid bankruptcy, and dumping a bucket of gasoline over your head & lighting a cigarette is a wonderful skincare technique. Gotta sell those ice cubes to the Eskimos to have your fun. Leave the rifles at home, talk the deer into offing themselves.

The issue here is the difference between the liar and the bullshitter. As Harry G. Frankfurt wrote in one of our favorite hardcovers, On Bullshit,

What bullshit essentially misrepresents is neither the state of affairs to which it refers nor the beliefs of the speaker concerning that state of affairs. Those are what lies misrepresent, by virtue of being false. Since bullshit need not be false, it differs from lies in its misrepresentational intent. The bullshitter may not deceive us, or even intend to do so, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be. What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to.

This is the crux of the distinction between him and the liar…A [liar is] responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it…For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

Joe Biden. Liar. Not bullshitter.

Are you still glad you kept that hockey mom outta there? Have any doubts left that she might, perhaps, maybe, just maybe, have been a tad more economical?

What Problem Are We Solving?

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

NY Daily News dissembles this number of which we’ve heard so, so much…47 million. As in, uninsured. What’s in that number? The answer may surprise you.

Maggie’s Farm, linking to the above, ponders that which tends to go unpondered as these hardcore lefty proposals are debated: Exactly what problem is this bill supposed to be solving?

What a silly question to be asking right now, Maggie’s Farm. You’re supposed to actually pass the bill…watch everything go sour for a decade, maybe a whole generation…and then ask that when it’s far too late. You’re breaking form.

Nevertheless, Boortz has an answer in his latest newsletter, but don’t read it. Not unless you think you can handle it. Remember what Jack Nicholson said about the truth…

The Democrats want to make people more dependent on government. They are going to do this by offering something that more Americans now value above all: stability. Americans think they want freedom. What a crock. Americans will whine about their freedom to choose which sports team to root for or which Hollywood gossip magazine to buy. But when freedom requires any ounce of personal responsibility, people immediately wipe their hands clean and want someone else to do it for them. This is where the Democrats come in .. the Democrats will make sure that the government is there to do the things the people of this country no longer feel is their personal responsibility. The reason why the Democrats are willing to do this is also simple: power. Ensuring votes. Not hard to figure out, is it?

The New York Times has a thought-provoking entry (hat tip again to Maggie’s) about why health care m-u-s-t be rationed:

You have advanced kidney cancer. It will kill you, probably in the next year or two. A drug called Sutent slows the spread of the cancer and may give you an extra six months, but at a cost of $54,000. Is a few more months worth that much?

If you can afford it, you probably would pay that much, or more, to live longer, even if your quality of life wasn’t going to be good. But suppose it’s not you with the cancer but a stranger covered by your health-insurance fund. If the insurer provides this man — and everyone else like him — with Sutent, your premiums will increase. Do you still think the drug is a good value? Suppose the treatment cost a million dollars. Would it be worth it then? Ten million? Is there any limit to how much you would want your insurer to pay for a drug that adds six months to someone’s life? If there is any point at which you say, “No, an extra six months isn’t worth that much,” then you think that health care should be rationed.

Somewhere in the basement of some liberal headquarters, perhaps the DNC, perhaps the Speaker’s Office in the House of Representatives, perhaps the White House, where all the old stuff is stored, someplace between a giant portrait of Sam Rayburn and a stack of unpaid bills…I’m convinced there is a chart, and there may not even be any dust on the chart. I’m thinking across the bottom of the chart, there are days, maybe weeks, marking off the time some bold new initiative like health care has been in the public eye…one…two…three…four…etc. And then on the left side, counting up, there’s a percentage of interested voters who have figured out The Truth. The curve is something that starts out on the left side, a third of the way up that Y-axis, and then snakes up farther north, toward 100%, as you go out to the right. That curve is of pressing interest to your typical democrat politician. I envision a chart that has gobbled up reams of data to verify the accuracy of this curve, one that is revised constantly. So maybe it’s not in the basement after all. Just well hidden, very well hidden.

What is The Truth that people figure out? That some 30 percent of us already know, and that more and more of us learn as we debate back and forth on the latest “gimme”? Simply this: That the government doesn’t really have money; it spends only what it has taken from others, plus what it borrows on the credit of others. Which naturally means that one man’s “right” is another man’s burden. That when we debate these proposals, we aren’t debating how to make life more secure, we are in fact debating how to make our country less free.

Hillary-care was debated for an extended period of time, IIRC. Someone was saying quite a lot about it in ’93, and they didn’t nail the lid on that boondoggle until ’94. That really is what killed it. People talked for awhile about how wonderful it would be when no one “would have to worry about health care.” And then someone mentioned a rule…someone mentioned another rule…before you knew it, there were all these pages and pages of rules, naturally some noise was made about them, and people got concerned. It started to look like what it was: Just another hardcore liberal democrat way of making people dependent on government for their daily needs.

This time, they’re going to do it the right way by golly. Get that reeking shit sandwich sold and shoved down our throats before we even know what we’ve swallowed.

And then hussle down to the basement, and get that chart updated.

Crowder Checks Out Canadian Healthcare

Monday, July 13th, 2009

You’ve got to watch this from beginning to end, folks. Especially about two-thirds of the way through where he starts exploring how the Canucks go about financing these “free” health services. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

This is what gets me so pig-bitin’ mad about almost anything that’s got to do with government services — down here. I’m looking across the desk at this government bureaucrat…usually one who’s renewing my registration tabs. And what’s the story every single time?

I’m frazzled.

He’s frazzled.

I’m having a bad day.

He’s having a bad day.

He’s got control of what’s going on…because…once upon a time, someone had a vision of a perfect Utopian society wherein everyone is the same.

His shitty mood — is the difference between life and death.

My shitty mood — means nothing. Less than nothing.

It’s that glaring contradiction that just wears on me. It would improve my outlook so much if the pencil-pushing bureaucrats just admitted it: They are there to support, and they benefit from, a society structured more like something straight out of Robin Hood. Those who work for the Sheriff of Nottingham, are the aristocrats who get to crush us lowly peasants on a whim. Just admit it! I can stand having to do business with someone who thinks he’s way better than I am…believe me, I have some experience in that matter…as long as he just admits it. It’s this phony-baloney, pretend-game at “I’m building an egalitarian society like something you’d see on Star Trek” that I can’t stand. It makes the veins bulge out right in the middle of my face, it really does. Just this craven dishonesty. Nothing at all unlike what Crowder found north of the border…again and again and again. It really does something to me. Something ugly.

And I’ve got some laminated pictures from old drivers’ licenses to prove it.

Your New Obamacare World: Humans Optional

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Obamacare: Slowly but surely making American citizens, God and George Washington’s special sovereign two-legged creatures, into disposable chunks of meat.

Reporting from Washington — President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don’t stand to gain from the extra care.

In a nationally televised event at the White House, Obama said families need better information so they don’t unthinkingly approve “additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care.”

He added: “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”

Not quite your “Soylent Green is People!” society…but it’s a big step in that direction.

Obama said he has personal familiarity with such a dilemma. His grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given less than nine months to live, he said.

She fell and broke her hip, “and the question was, does she get hip replacement surgery, even though she was fragile enough they were not sure how long she would last?”

Obama’s grandmother died two days before he was elected president in November. It was unclear whether she underwent the hip-replacement surgery.

The event, hosted by ABC News’ Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer, gave Obama a prime-time forum to promote his healthcare overhaul. A total of 164 guests were invited. ABC pre-screened questions, though the White House was not made aware of what they would be.

Republicans described the event as an “infomercial,” faulting ABC for giving the president such valuable TV time in the midst of a high-stakes partisan policy discussion.

The audience — which included doctors, patients, health insurers, students and people with ailing relatives — clearly was unhappy with the current healthcare system. Gibson asked for a show of hands to see how many wanted to leave the system unchanged. No one raised a hand.

Ah, the “status quo is unacceptable” argument. Best way to garnish up a bad idea!

I didn’t always think so. Just last winter we were starting to argue hot and heavy about the savings and loan bailout and I wrote to my aging-liberal-hippy-female-ditz senators to tell them how I wanted them to vote, just like I’m supposed to. They wrote back and told me how the vote should go. I think it was Boxer; not entirely sure, it gets hard to tell them apart. Anyway, I was just impressed with how the letter was covered top to bottom, repeating over and over again that the status quo was unworkable and something had to be done.

That worked out just swell, didn’t it?

Maybe…just maybe…that is not exactly the cream-of-the-crop of decision-making methods. “Status quo is unacceptable! I’m going to put sugar in my gas tank!”

In fact — maybe this line of thinking is so conducive to bad decision making, that it’s about to saddle us with a universal healthcare system that our Replacement Jesus isn’t even going to use.

Without question, the most damaging moment for Obama came when he acknowledged that in spite of the rationing implicit in his public health care plan, he would still pay out-of-pocket to obtain the best health care for his family. As reported by ABC’s Jake Tapper, “President Obama struggled to explain today whether his health care reform proposals would force normal Americans to make sacrifices that wealthier, more powerful people – like the president himself – wouldn’t face.”

Though it is not in the standard Republican playbook, the opponents of Obamacare should argue that his program is fundamentally unfair and at odds with America’s egalitarian commitments. Assuming that Republicans are correct, and the creation of a public-plan will lead to the collapse, rather than invigoration, of private health insurance, the end result of Obamacare will be a massive shift from an employer-based system of private health insurance toward government-provided care.

Whether you’re pro-single-payer-healthcare, or anti-, or sitting on the fence wondering what to do…which I suspect most folks are…this is an important point to be pondered. Government health plans always, always, always ration care. Always.

Only by expanding government control of health care can we bring down its cost. That’s the faulty premise of the various proposals for health reform now being batted around Washington. The claimed cost control depends on politically safe ideas such as preventive care or the adoption of electronic health records. And neither — even according to the Congressional Budget Office — will do much to reduce spending.
President Obama objects when people use the word “rationing” in regards to government-run health care. But rationing is inevitable if we simply expand government control without fixing the way health care is reimbursed so that doctors and patients become sensitive to issues of price and quality.

Like Medicare’s recent decisions to curtail the use of virtual colonoscopies, certain wound-healing devices, and even a branded asthma drug, the board’s decisions will be one-size-fits-all restrictions. Such restrictions don’t respect variation in preferences and disease, which make costly products suitable for some even if they are wasteful when prescribed to everyone.

Moreover, these health boards prove that policy makers know they’ll need to ration care but want to absolve themselves of responsibility. Some in Congress and the Obama administration recently tipped their hand on this goal by proposing to make recommendations of the current Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) legally binding rather than mere advice to Congress. Any new health board’s mission will also expand over time, just as MedPAC’s mandate grew to encompass medical practice issues not envisioned when it was created.

The idea of an omnipotent board that makes unpopular decisions on access and price isn’t a new construct. It’s a European import. In countries such as France and Germany, layers of bureaucracy like health boards have been specifically engineered to delay the adoption of new medical products and services, thus lowering spending.

In France, assessment of medical products is done by the Committee for the Evaluation of Medicines. Reimbursement rates are set by the National Union of Sickness Insurance Funds, a group that also negotiates pay to doctors.

In Germany, the Federal Joint Committee regulates reimbursement and restrictions on prescribing, while the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare does formal cost-effectiveness analysis. The Social Insurance Organization, technically a part of the Federal Joint Committee, is in charge of setting prices through a defined formula that monitors doctors’ prescribing behavior and sets their practice budgets. In the past 12 months, the 15 medical products and services that cleared this process spent an average 35 months under review. (The shortest review was 19 months, the longest 51.)

In short, other countries where government plays a large role in health care aren’t shy about rationing. Mr. Obama’s budget director has acknowledged that rationing reduces costs. Peter Orszag told Congress last year when he headed the Congressional Budget Office that spending can be “moderated” if “diffusion of existing costly services were slowed.”

Medicare can already be painstakingly slow. Appealing to it takes patients an average 21 months according to a 2003 Government Accountability Office report (17 months involve administrative processing). Layers of commissions and health boards would delay access still further.

Obama’s doctor doesn’t agree with Obama on Obamacare:

David Scheiner, an internist based in the Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park, has a diverse practice of lower-income adults from the nearby housing projects mixed with famous patients like U.S. Sen. Carol Mosely Braun, the late writer Studs Terkel and, most notably, President Barack Obama.

Scheiner, 71, was Obama’s doctor from 1987 until he entered the White House; he vouched for the then-candidate’s “excellent health” in a letter last year. He’s still an enthusiastic Obama supporter, but he worries about whether the health care legislation currently making its way through Congress will actually do any good, particularly for doctors like himself who practice general medicine. “I’m not sure he really understands what we face in primary care,” Scheiner says.
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Scheiner takes a few other shots too. Looking at Obama’s team of health advisors, Scheiner doesn’t see anyone who’s actually in the trenches. “I have a suspicion they pick people from the top echelon of medicine, people who write about it but haven’t been struggling in it,” he says.

Scheiner is critical of Obama’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary–Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who used to work as the chief lobbyist for her state’s trial lawyers association.

“He doesn’t see all the pain, it’s so tragic out here,” he says. “Obama’s wonderful, but on this one I’m not sure if he’s getting the right input.”

Another recovering Obamabot going through the first stages of remorse.

I had two reactions to the ABC Healthcare Infomercial. First, Gibson’s question about “who likes the status quo” or whatever, was a loaded one, a leading one, and a deceptive one. He could just as well have asked “who has some stories to share about government meddling in things, when it actually worked out well?” With a younger crowd of folks that hadn’t yet put in their decades waiting in line at the DMV, maybe he would’ve gotten some public-school indoctrinated talking points about Franklin Roosevelt ending the Great Depression. But that would be it. Even with a cherry-picked audience full of hardcore liberals, it would be a possibility worth entertaining that all the hands would stay down. How come he asked the question he asked, instead of that one? I’m starting to see Charles Gibson as a walking incarnation of what Thomas Jefferson said about bad information: “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”

Jefferson knew his subject matter well. I see a talking point has emerged, again, about millions and millions of Americans who lack healthcare [insurance]. Perhaps the time has come to inspect this.

Dr. Eric Novack testified before the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health about the Obama administration’s proposed health care legislation. Afterward, he told that the Obama administration’s claim that there are 46 million uninsured people in America includes people with different health care scenarios and that combining them togehter in one number is misleading.

“If we start breaking down those numbers a bit–and again these will be round numbers–but about 9 to 10 million of those people are in the country illegally,” Novack said.

Another 15 million are what he called “chronically uninsured,” because of pre-existing health problems or other mitigating factors.

Novack, a self-described “patient advocate” who has written about health reform for the Goldwater Institute and supports legislation in Arizona to protect patients’ right to use and pay for the health care plan of their choice, said another 10 million or so “uninsured” Americans have chosen that status.

“We have young people between 18 and 30, probably about another 10 million or so, they’d rather buy applications for their iPhone than buy health insurance,” Novack said.

He said some of the approximately 46 million Americans referred to by Obama and members of the subcommittee include others who may be eligible for existing government health care programs, such as S-Chip and Medicaid, but don’t sign up.

Hillary and crew were taking the same liberties with the truth fifteen years ago back when the number that was being trotted out was 15 million. They called it “without access to health care,” which could have been called technically correct because if any one of them busted a foot and was hauled into the emergecy room, they’d have to talk to that matronly schoolmarm with the big thick coke-bottle-bottom glasses who would ask to see their health insurance, they’d have none to show, and an awkward situation would develop without this “access to care.” But the foot would have been treated. This, I think, is what Jefferson was talking about.

This is another piece of bad thinking that needs some attention — it’s settled in thick and fast, like fog, since the 1960’s, this notion that if some subclass among us is found to be deprived of something, then on a virtual basis, we all have been so deprived. This is key to Gibson asking who’s happy with the status quo? and seeing not one single hand go up. It is deficient thinking because you could use exactly the performance and exactly the same technique to show the status quo is always unacceptable, with anything. And with the same performance techniques & phony logic, you could then go on to demonstrate that any & all plans carrying that wonderful magic glittering unicorn-phrase of “REFORM,” must be worth trying.

But that isn’t necessarily so.

Numbers Are More Resistant to His Charms

Friday, April 17th, 2009


Franklin Roosevelt gave us the New Deal. John Kennedy gave us the New Frontier. In a major domestic policy address at Georgetown University this week, Barack Obama promised — eight times — a “New Foundation.” For those too thick to have noticed this proclamation of a new era in American history, the White House Web site helpfully titled its speech excerpts “A New Foundation.”

As it happens, Obama is not the first to try this slogan. President Carter peppered his 1979 State of the Union address with five “New Foundations” (and eight more just naked “foundations”). Like most of Carter’s endeavors, this one failed, perhaps because (as I recall it being said at the time) it sounded like the introduction of a new kind of undergarment.

Undaunted, Obama offered his New Foundation speech as the complete, contextual, canonical text for the domestic revolution he aims to enact.
Obama DeficitIn the New Foundation speech, Obama correctly (again) identifies the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid as the key fiscal problem. But then he claims that Medicaid and Medicare reform is the same as his health care reform, fatuously citing as his authority a one-day meeting of hand-picked interested parties at his “Fiscal Responsibility Summit.”

Here’s the problem. The heart of Obama’s health care reform is universality. Covering more people costs more money. That is why Obama’s budget sets aside an extra $634 billion in health care spending, a down payment on an estimated additional spending of $1 trillion. How does the administration curtail the Medicare and Medicaid entitlement by adding yet another (now universal) health care entitlement that its own estimate acknowledges increases costs by about $1 trillion?

Which is why in his March 24 news conference, Obama could not explain how — when the near-term stimulative spending is over and his ambitious domestic priorities kick in, promising sustained prosperity and deficit reduction — the deficits at the end of the coming decade are rising, not falling. The Congressional Budget Office has deficits increasing in the last seven years of the decade from an already unsustainable $672 billion annually to $1.2 trillion by 2019.

This is the sand on which the new foundation is constructed. Obama has the magic to make words mean almost anything. Numbers are more resistant to his charms.

Actually it’s the “covering more people costs more money” point that I think is worthy of greater emphasis, if only for the reason that so many supposedly smart folks seem to incapable of absorbing the spirit of it even after multiple encounters with it. The mathematical concepts involved are elementary to say the least.

It’s also decidedly off-topic from the larger vision of electing Obama as The Change We Can Believe InTM as a protest against, and retreat from, an expensive invasion of Iraq and (at the time) unprecedented deficit spending. Change from the deficits of George W. Bush…by means of…universal health care. It’s like saving money on your car insurance by switching to a more expensive cell phone carrier.

Massachusetts’ Universal Coverage Law

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Yay! His Holiness is about to take up residence in the White House, where He belongs, and He’s going to start guiding us…especially with regard to requiring us all to get health insurance. With His friendly Congress already seated, it’s a sure thing. Universal health insurance is on the way!

We’re gonna be doing it just like they do it in Massachusetts already…

Small businesses with more than 10 employees were required to provide health insurance or pay an extra fee to subsidize uninsured low-income residents, yet the overall costs of the program increased more than $400 million — 85 percent higher than original projections. To make up the difference, payments to health care providers were slashed, so many doctors and dentists in Massachusetts began refusing to take on new patients. In the state with the highest physician/patient ratio in the nation, some people now have to wait more than a year for a simple physical exam.

The irony is that Massachusetts officials reluctantly admitted that, despite increased enrollment, the state is still far from universal coverage — the original goal of the landmark law. To make matters worse, Massachusetts is grappling with a multibillion-dollar deficit while Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick desperately tries to slow down those still-spiraling health care costs, which he said last week were “not sustainable.”

Don Surber delivers the highlights…

The D.C. Examiner examined it after 2 years and found:

1. Subsidies cost $400 million — 85 percent higher than original projections.

2. Premiums that are double the national average (they were already high).

3. Slashed reimbursements which led to…

4. …doctors and dentists refusing to take new patients.

The Examiner noted: “In the state with the highest physician/patient ratio in the nation, some people now have to wait more than a year for a simple physical exam.”

This is just like any other issue. The liberal looks at exciting, good-feeling things like safety, security, new programs, bad things never happenin’ ever again, and making everybody the same, same, same. The conservative looks at boring things like cause-and-effect, historical precedent, and human nature. Mister Average Voter sends his votes wherever Oprah Winfrey tells him to, and we end up doing things the liberal way. Even with a Republican Governor at the helm. Common sense is out; feelin’ good is in.

Then it becomes much more expensive to employ anybody, and the people who are employed, are forced to blow their paychecks on things that should cost one-fifth as much, now that everybody’s required to do everything.

Which they don’t do.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Is His Holiness really going to be forcing us into something like this? Not only with regard to health care, but all other issues with regard to government, services, taxes and subsidies, across the board?

Count on it

Remember what I, and others, said about Atlas Shrugged coming true? Sacrifice for the Greater Good, here we come.

Hat tip to Gateway Pundit and Maggie’s Farm.

Why Healthcare is Not a Right

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Right Wing News had a contest for the best “anti-socialized” post in the blogosphere, with a $50 prize for first place.

What will happen is that bloggers will write posts about socialized medicine. They can write them specifically for the contest or just because that’s what they happen to want to write about today, but once they write the post, they’ll send me an email letting me know that they want it entered in the contest (Yes, I do have to get an email. Sorry, but these are the rules I am working under).

Then, at the end of the week, I will select the best articles from that week on socialized medicine, will rank them, and then will link all the top posts on RWN. Furthermore, all the bloggers that rank will have the satisfaction of getting their work recognized and will get traffic from RWN — but first place will also receive $50.

We didn’t enter in this one…we are The Blog That Nobody Reads, remember? Anyway, we doubt like hell we could’ve done a better job than what took the top honors this week. Richly deserving, IMHO.

Rights really only make sense in the context of a lawful society. Governments are instituted, as a basic matter, to determine where one person’s rights end and another’s begins. For example, you have a right to free speech, but others have a right against defamation. If you say something untrue and defamatory about someone, the government can determine whose right trumps.

From the perspective of the government, a right is something that can be ensured to one citizen without taxing (in the broadest sense) another citizen. For example, the government can ensure your right to free speech without any cost to anyone else. No one has to listen (you do not, for example, have the right to be listened to). Nor does anyone have to publish your work. You do not, however, have the right to a full-page spread in the Wall Street Journal. If, however, you can afford to, you can purchase one and say pretty much whatever you want.

In a (mostly) free and (mostly) just society like ours, rights are plentiful. You have, to name a few, the right to bear arms, the right to your life, your liberty, the pursuit of your happiness. To be sure, however, this does not mean the government must buy you a gun. Nor does it mean government must purchase the things that make you happy. It only means that government cannot restrict these rights without due process of law.

Basic points which draw universal agreement — or damn well should — then, the writer goes in for the kill:

Consider a small society of 100 people, with laws not too dissimilar to ours. Let’s assume 2 of these people are unable, for whatever reason, to afford their own home. Among the other people are a carpenter, a logger, a blacksmith, a painter and a plumber. If the government is to provide those two people with housing, it has to either (i) tax everyone to pay the workmen to build the house or (ii) compel the workmen to build the house for free. Either way, the government must take something of value to provide this need to those who cannot obtain it on their own.

A masterful job of explaining the point from beginning to end. I intend fully to link back to this one in the future…liberally.

Where Are the Softballs?

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

It occurs to me I should probably cite an example of what’s called out in the post previous. The left half of the blogosphere, criticizing the right half with an unflattering and snarky Election-Season Guide, fails to note the beam in its own eye as it points out the brother’s mote.

Liberals are so funny…They’ve always been, in my lifetime, confused about whether an allegation or value system is shown to be lacking in merit because of who believes in it, or whether the personalities are shown to lack merit because of the allegations or value systems in which they believe. Which one of those is a symptom and which one of those is the cause.
Those who rise above it all, lamenting that we all just can’t seem to get along, are the last to get along. Those who decry the lack of tolerance, are the last to tolerate. Those who beseech others to do a better job valuing friendships with those who disagree, are invariably bitter enemies with those who disagree. And those who hold out a utopian hope for a glorious and everlasting terminus to all the name-calling…should they see you holding an opinion they find unworthy…well, fill in the blank.

Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher, is pretty ticked off that ABC asked Obama some tough questions. It’s that old problem with the thin skin of liberals: Certain things feel like abuse, when they’re really not, just because over time you’ve become accustomed to something much less intrusive to your ideas and those who are on record as being sympathetic to them.

And of course, many of them have passed that first milestone to insanity just like Mitchell: Confusion between the subjective and the objective. The protagonist declares one issue “pressing” and another issue “trivial” — it’s like measuring out 77 degrees Fahrenheit, three thousand feet above sea level, or forty-eight inches on a plywood sheet. There’s simply no way anybody, anywhere, can see it any differently right?

In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia. They, and their network, should hang their collective heads in shame.

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the health care and mortgage crises, the overall state of the economy and dozens of other pressing issues had to wait for their few moments in the sun as Obama was pressed to explain his recent “bitter” gaffe and relationship with Rev. Wright (seemingly a dead issue) and not wearing a flag pin — while Clinton had to answer again for her Bosnia trip exaggerations.

Then it was back to Obama to defend his slim association with a former ’60s radical — a question that came out of right-wing talk radio and Sean Hannity on TV, but was delivered by former Bill Clinton aide Stephanopoulos. This approach led to a claim that Clinton’s husband pardoned two other ’60s radicals. And so on. The travesty continued.

An anti-war left-winger sniveling away because suddenly, the alphabet-soup networks are asking debate questions that don’t make his side look all snuggly and warm anymore: Priceless.

Sorry, Mitchell. Obama is still, arguably, the most likely candidate in this race to be the next Leader of the Free World, and the evidence solidly supports the supposition that he’s a vicious bigoted hatemonger, to say nothing of being an articulate dimwit. And he’s a flim-flammer.

You say the questions that reveal this about him, are “trivial.” Were that really the case, there’d be no need for you to point it out. And you probably shouldn’t have. You know, it’s always a questionable venture to write up essays directing people to pay more attention to things you think have gotten way too much attention already. For example, there’s me. I missed something like four-fifths of that debate…by the sixth reference to HELTHCARE, what can I say, real-life beckoned.

But now that I know the donk candidates, for once, got their hindquarters richly handed to them, on a serving platter held aloft by Stephanopoulos no less…why, the YouTube clips are lying around out there in the hundreds, just waiting to be loaded. I can’t wait to do it. Thanks for the tip.