Some in Canada consider a Parallel Private Health Care System to reduce Wait Times

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 29th, 2014

Week in Review

People don’t want Obamacare.  And they are getting angry.  Making the Democrats very nervous.  Especially those up for election this fall.  Which is why there is yet another delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act.  To make voters less angry this fall.

This law was never popular.  The American people never wanted it.  The only reason why we have it is because the Democrats pushed it through when they had control of the House, Senate and White House.  And bought off a few recalcitrant Democrat senators (the Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker Kickback, Gator Aid, etc.) to garner the 60 votes necessary to force this unpopular law onto the American people.  So the Democrats could put us on a path towards single-payer.  Which President Obama is on the record preferring.  Single-payer.  But accepted the Affordable Care Act as a means to that end.  So we can one day have a health care system like they have in Canada.  Because things are so much better in Canada (see Waiting times cost B.C. patients $155.5 million last year: Fraser Institute study by Bethany Lindsay posted 3/25/2014 on The Vancouver Sun).

Waiting for medically necessary surgeries cost British Columbian patients about $155.5 million in lost time last year, a Fraser Institute economist claims in a new study.

It estimates that the total cost to Canadian patients of waiting for treatment after seeing a specialist was $1.1 billion in 2013, up from $982 million in 2012. Quebec had the highest cost at $267.7 million.

Author Nadeem Esmail said the report explores a consequence of waiting for care that Canadians don’t often consider…

Esmail said that in order to address the problem of long waiting times, he’d like to see Canada allow more private sector participation in the provision of health care, including the development of a parallel private system…

Overall, British Columbians waited a median 10.4 weeks for treatment after their first appointment with a specialist last year, compared to 9.6 weeks across Canada, according to the study.

Imagine that.  The Republicans were right.  A single-payer health care system leads to rationing of health care resources.  And sick people waiting for their turn for fewer, rationed health care resources leads to, of course, longer wait times.  This is what the Democrats want to force on the American people.  Even when some in Canada are suggesting a parallel private health care system to reduce wait times down from 10 weeks or so.  Which is why the Democrats had to be as devious as possible to pass Obamacare into law.  With shady backroom deals like the Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker Kickback and Gator Aid.  And then lying through their teeth about being able to keep the health insurance and doctors you liked and wanted to keep.  A lie so bold it earned President Obama the Lie of the Year from PolitiFact.

Will this anger boil over this November at the 2014 midterm elections?  Will voters remember how the Democrats lied and made backroom deals to change a health care system we liked and wanted to keep?  Apparently President Obama thinks so.  Which is why he violated the law once again and extended the enrollment period for Obamacare.  Without having Congress rewrite the law.  To make this latest change in the Affordable Care Act (and the 30 or so that preceded it) legal.  But then again, when the media keeps giving the president a pass on his law-breaking activities what incentive does the administration have to act lawful?  It’s kind of like Vladimir Putin taking Crimea.  The way Putin sees it no one is going to do anything when he breaks the law so what incentive does he have to abide by international law?  If anything he’s probably puzzled why President Obama is saying anything at all.  For what’s a little law-breaking between two law breakers?


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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #59: “When the Right partners with business the Left calls it crony capitalism. When they partner with business the Left calls that smart government.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 29th, 2011

The Right likes Capitalism, the Left likes Marxism

Crony capitalism isn’t capitalism.  At best it’s mercantilism.  At worse it’s autocracy.  But the critics of capitalism haven’t the foggiest clue of what capitalism is.  They think it just exploits the working class.  Like Karl Marx said.  Of course, Karl Marx was wrong.  His philosophy has never worked.  Whereas capitalism, true capitalism, has.  Try to point to a successful Marxist country today.  You can’t do it.  Because when you take from those according to ability and give to those according to need you have everyone trying to show as little ability and as great need as possible.  Put yourself in that position.  Do you want to show some genius and work 12-hour days and see all of your earnings go to people sitting at home collecting state benefits?  Or would you rather not work those 12-hour days, relax at home and collect those state benefits?  If these are your choices, you don’t have to answer.  Because everyone is going to choose to stay at home and collect benefits.  Because no one volunteers to be a slave.

In such a world try to imagine how many cellular towers people would install when no one wants to work.  Not many.  Which means no cell phones, no text messaging, no internet on your mobile device and no sitting in your favorite coffee shop Internet hotspot.  For no one will spend the excruciating time, money and effort to create something while he or she is paid less than those with greater need who do nothing.  In other words, there is no incentive to work hard.  So no one will work hard.  Just like you won’t work hard by working overtime hours for free.  And why won’t you?  Because when you work you sell your time to an employer.  It’s your time.  If no one is paying you for it, you’d rather do something fun.  We all would.  Because it’s our unalienable right to pursue happiness.  Like Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence.  And pursue it we do.  Because when it comes to our happiness, we’re all Jeffersonians.  Even Alexander Hamilton.  Even though they often saw things differently.

And one of those things was capitalism.  Jefferson didn’t like bankers.  Especially when they were in tight with the government.  Hamilton, on the other hand, liked the bankers.  Because he knew the difference between money and capital.  Assume everyone has a few bucks in their pockets.  What is that going to buy these individuals?  Not much.  Certainly no cellular towers.  But when you pool that money together you get capital.  And capital can buy cellular towers and the other conveniences of modern society.  And this is capitalism.  There’s a little more to it but the point is capitalism provides incentive.  And incentive stimulates innovation.  People take risks, work hard and create great things.  Marxism, on the other hand, provides no incentive for anyone to innovate.  There are no risk takers and people work the bare minimum they can get away with.  And there is nothing great in a Marxist society except misery, hunger and fear.  North Korea and Cuba are about the last of the Marxist societies remaining.  The Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Mao’s People’s Republic of China are relics of the Cold War.  Now on the ash heap of history.  And all of these countries have/had sealed borders.  People could not leave.  If they tried they often died.  Many still risked it.  Because life was horrible under Marxism.

Jefferson the anti-Capitalist turns to Capitalism

Now whenever you gather money in great big piles you invite corruption.  Especially in government.  Which is what Jefferson feared.  You need money to do things.  And if government had access to great pools of it, they could do a lot of things.  Build armies.  Build navies.  Fight wars.  Grow the size of government.  Increase the size of the federal payroll.  Buy favors.  Sell patronage.  So more and more people became part of a growing, bloated federal government.  Who then had a vested interest in seeing it continue to grow to protect and increase the power and money they had.  All the great cities in the old world (London, Paris, Madrid, etc.) were corrupt.  The bankers were in bed with the politicians.  And the people suffered.  In his beloved France, Jefferson saw firsthand this insidious combination of money and power impoverish and starve the masses.  He saw revolutionary fervor grow in the Jacobin clubs.  And witnessed the outbreak of the French Revolution.  To check the power of the absolute monarchy and instill republican ideals.  And he liked what he saw.

With the backdrop of history, two men (and their followers) pulled America in two directions.  The Hamiltonians wanted to model America after the British Empire.  Rich and powerful.  Jefferson envisioned a nation of citizen farmers.  Simple farmers toiling the land.  Free from the corruption of the banks and the merchants.  With limited government.  Working with a modest federal budget.  Without any debt.  Of course, this all went out the window with the Louisiana Purchase.  When he needed a big whopping pile of money.  And a little extraconstitutional authority as well.  Sort of like a European monarch.  Which he took.  And thanks to a little thing called capitalism, the British and Dutch put together some creative financing for the French and the Americans.  They paid cash to France in exchange for the American bonds they just underwrote.  Some would say it was a bit hypocritical considering his attacks against Hamilton, but the U.S. profited very well from that purchase.  The point being is that even an ardent anti-capitalist like Jefferson had to turn to capitalism to close this deal.  Because there was no other way a young and poor nation could ever come up with that kind of money without borrowing it.

But all politicians aren’t like Thomas Jefferson.  In fact, shortly after the Founding Father generation, government began to grow.  There were political favors.  Pandering.  And corruption.  As the quality of the politician declined more unscrupulous people were attracted to government.  A growing nation needed to grow.  It needed to build things.   Armies.  Navies.  Forts.  Government buildings.  Post offices.  Canals.  Railroads.  As the nation grew it collected more taxes.  It soon had a lot of money to buy these things.  And issuing contracts for these things could be a very lucrative endeavor.  For the unscrupulous politician.  Who would only contract with those who made it worth his while.  The unscrupulous businessman.

Buying and Selling Favors for Personal Gain

This is crony capitalism.  The joining of business and government in backroom deals.  This isn’t laissez-faire capitalism.  This is the buying and selling of favors for personal gain.  And this is what many people think capitalism is.  Especially those critics on the Left.  Who think in zero-sum terms.  The only way some people can have more money is if other people have less.  Some people are lucky.  Some just aren’t.  Ability and ambition have nothing to do with it.  It’s all based on who you know.  And when money and power is concentrated in too few hands, it shuts out others from the market place.  And that’s just not nice.  Good people will be unable to make other and more important things.  So unless someone smart steps in and coordinates this economic activity, that activity will be inefficient.  It will build the wrong things.  And the wealth will accumulate in the wrong hands.

These politicians want to partner with business to make the right things.  By the right people.  The things they want to see built.  And not the things they don’t like.  A good example of this today is the electric car.  And the internal combustion engine.  They love one.  And despise the other.  They put in policies to increase the cost of gasoline-powered cars.  And the cost of gasoline.  And provide subsidies to electric car companies to help them build cars no one wants to buy.  And subsidies to consumers to reduce the price on electric cars.  So they’ll buy something they don’t want.

Currently, there is no market for the electric car.  People are buying it now for one of two reasons.  Because of the subsidies.  Or the smugness.  Yet companies are building these cars.  Why?  Well, they’re not doing it to lose money.  They’re making money.  Somehow.  But it isn’t in the market place.  And if it isn’t the market place, it can mean only one thing.  They are getting some sweet federal subsidies to build these cars no one wants.  And this just isn’t capitalism.  It’s another example of crony capitalism.

The Left hates Shareholders, not Corporations

The Left attacks the Right for being the party of the big corporations.  They’re nothing but a bunch of crooks.  The corporations.  And the Republicans.  Republicans pander to the corporations.  They want to deregulate their industries.  While consumer safety suffers.  As does the environment.  And they want to cut their taxes.  Paid for by tax hikes on the poor and working class.  To those on the Left the business corporation is evil incarnate.  Unless they want to partner with them.  And build things together.  Then they’re okay.

The Left hates corporations.  Yet it’s always the left that favors corporatism.  The partnering of business and government.  Like in Mussolini’s fascist Italy.  Or outright nationalization of the corporation.  A complete takeover by the government. Like in Hugo Chavez‘s Venezuela.  It apparently isn’t the corporations per se they hate.  It’s the shareholders.  They have no problem with these corporations making obscene profits.  As long as the politicians can share in these profits.

So there you have it.  The difference between crony capitalism and smart government.  It all depends on the amount of money flowing into the government’s coffers.  If the shareholders keep the full return on their investment then the business and Republicans are practicing crony capitalism.  If the shareholders share their return on their investment with the Democrats, then that’s smart government partnering with business.


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Obamacare and H.R. 2 – The Perfect Match

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 19th, 2011

When Healthcare Insurance becomes Welfare

Well, the Republican controlled House passed H.R. 2 (Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act).  But the Democrat controlled Senate is vowing to defy public opinion.  Harry Reid won’t even bring it up to a vote.  Probably because he’s afraid some of his Democrat colleagues worried about reelection in 2012 may vote to repeal it. 

So they’re rolling out the usual sob stories.  Repealing the bill will kill kids.  Plunge the country into a depression worse than FDR’s Great Depression.  You know, the usual stuff (see House votes on repeal of healthcare law by Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau, posted 1/19/2010 on the LA Times).

The move by House Republicans has spurred a vigorous defense of the law by many Democrats and the Obama administration, even as they were reluctant to do so in the fall campaign. They cited emotional stories of constituents who are benefitting from the law — particularly children who can no longer be denied insurance coverage for preexisting conditions.

Repeal, Democrats said, could cause more than 5 million Americans with preexisting conditions to be denied coverage, and add $230 billion to the deficit in the next 10 years.

Think for a minute why insurance companies exclude preexisting conditions.  Better yet, let’s say you own an insurance company.  You make money by collecting insurance premiums.  You pay claims out of those paid premiums.  Now, the key for this to work is that more people have to pay premiums than collect claims.  If not, you will run out of money and go out of business.  See?  It’s business.  Your income (paid premiums) has to be greater than your costs (claims).  Ergo the exemption of preexisting conditions.  If you didn’t exclude them, people would only buy insurance when they’re sick and need benefits.  Costs (claims) would be greater than your income (premiums).  And your insurance company would go out of business.

Allowing preexisting conditions.  It sounds nice.  In a touchy feely caring kind of a way.  But it will kill the insurance industry.  Then the government will have to step in and make healthcare insurance welfare.  Supported by an ever growing tax burden.  Like in every other nation with nationalized health care.  So they’re being a bit disingenuous by pulling on the old heartstrings.  Then they just flat out lie.

“Democrats have made a firm commitment that we would judge every proposal that comes to the floor by whether it creates jobs, strengthens the middle class, and reduces the deficit. The repeal of patients’ rights fails on all three counts,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said before the vote.

The Economically Challenged:  Nancy Pelosi and her Constituents

What they call deficit reduction is a huge tax increase and a gutting of Medicare.  But raising taxes doesn’t create jobs.  If it did we would never cut them during bad economic times.  We cut them because lowering taxes creates jobs.  Even Obama admitted this in the big compromise to extend the Bush tax cuts.

When you kill jobs you crate unemployment.  With fewer people working there are fewer people paying taxes.  This is one of the reasons why we have record deficits now.  We have record unemployment rates that just go on and on and on with no end in sight.  (The other is the explosive government spending corresponding with this fall in tax revenue).  Making this problem worse will add to the deficit, not reduce it.

Higher taxes and unemployment and a reduction of Medicare benefits is not going to help anyone in the middle class.  It’s going to make their lives that much harder.  So Pelosi is wrong on all three counts.  Of course, it’s hard to blame her.  It must be the water in her district.  Makes people economically challenged.  For her constituents all think like she does.  At least the 80% or so that keeps voting for her.  No, passing H.R. 2 will be the best thing to happen to the middle class since the 2010 midterm elections.

Obamacare is so Good that it Insured the Uninsured – Even before it was Passed

And the lies keep coming.  This from Karen G. Mills, administrator of the Small Business Administration, on January 18, 2011.

Every day America’s entrepreneurs and small-business owners are finding more ways to access affordable health care insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. We have some very important data recently, which is that after years of dropping coverage, the number of small businesses offering health insurance to their workers is actually going up. This is according to the Kaiser Family Foundation: nine percent more small businesses with less than 200 employees provided coverage in 2010 compared with 2009, and for those with less than 10 employees, the expansion in coverage was even bigger. It was 13 percent.

Funny.  Because small business (and unions) have been asking for Mini-Med plan waivers.  Because the cost to comply with Obamacare would otherwise force some 1.5 million people off of their current health care plans.  So how does Ms. Mills reconcile this fact with the rosy statement above?  Why, you lie about polling results (see Small business and the health care repeal by Glenn Kessler posted 1/19/2011 on The Washington Post).

Mills, to her credit, cited her source, the Kaiser Family Foundation 2010 annual survey of Employer Health Benefits. And her statistics are correct. It’s just that they have nothing to do with the new health care law.

First, the survey was taken between January and May of last year, so much of the data was collected before the law even passed… Second, the Kaiser report specifically says the analysts were puzzled by the shift in small business figures, but were pretty sure it did not mean more firms were signing up to provide health insurance to their employees… “A possible explanation is that non-offering firms were more likely to fail during the past year, and the attrition of non-offering firms led to a higher offer rate among surviving firms.”… A third problem is that the data set for small firms is too small to be significant.

So the administrator of the Small Business Administration, Karen G. Mills, is making less than honest statements.  She’s saying that polling data shows Obamacare is already having a positive impact on small business.  With the poll numbers taken before the passage of Obamacare, this is just impossible.  It would appear that Ms. Mills, the Small Business Administration, is not a friend of small business.  Because she lied about the poll results.  Put the two together and one must conclude that Obamacare is not good for small business.  If not, why would she lie?

Yes, Nancy, Let’s Pass H.R. 2 to Find out what’s in It

Remember how they passed Obamacare.  Quickly.  With backroom deals (the Louisiana Purchase, the Corn Husker kickback, etc.).  And, of course, without reading it.  Nancy Pelosi said they’d have to pass it to learn what was in it.  Why?  Because they were afraid that if people knew what was in it the people would pressure their representatives and senators to not pass it.  What other reason could there be?

But in the new spirit of civility, let’s extend an olive branch to Nancy Pelosi.  Let’s follow her advice.  Let’s pass H.R. 2.  Then let’s see what will happen.  If the recession turns into depression, if the deficit continues to grow, then we’ll concede that she was right.  Then we can reinstate Obamacare.  Increase taxes.  Gut Medicare.  Ration health care.  And make this nation the liberal paradise they so long for.  But first let us pass H.R. 2 to see what’s in it.


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H.R. 2 “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act”

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 7th, 2011

Real Deficit Reduction Starts with the Repeal of Obamacare

The rallying cry last year was ‘repeal Obamacare’.  Those who promised to make that a priority are now sitting in Congress.  Some of those who voted for Obamacare are not.  The people have spoken.  The candidates have promised.  And now they are going to deliver.  At least they’re going to try.

The Republicans new and old are getting down to do the people’s business.  H.R. 2, aptly titled “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” will try to do just that.  But the Left is digging in their heels.   First of all, they aren’t all that keen on the title of H.R. 2 (see Health repeal message-war ramps up by Brett Coughlin posted 1/7/2011 on the Politicol).

The White House released talking points and a “fact sheet” about the law, leading with how it creates jobs — a rebuttal to the title of the bill, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.”

But they’re only getting started.  They then step it up.  And do what they do best.  Be disingenuous.

The White House stays on message about the law saving money, citing the Congressional Budget Office official estimate that the reform law reduces the federal deficit by $124 billion over 10 years. By contrast, the CBO said the House Republican package that repeals the law costs $230 billion.

So repealing a law that will extend benefits to every man, woman and child will add to the deficit?  Funny.  When I buy more stuff I pay more.  Because more stuff costs more money.  Doesn’t it?  If I buy an iPhone for my kid I pay for one iPhone.  If I buy an iPhone for everyone’s kids, I pay more.  So I’m pretty sure about this.  More stuff costs more.

So what kind of math is CBO using?

Robbing Medicare to Pay for Obamacare

Well, it ain’t calculus.  It’s just a variation on their old go-to formula.  Tax and spend.  With a twist.  They actually include spending cuts (see BREAKING: CBO Says Repealing ObamaCare Would Reduce Net Spending by $540 Billion by Philip Klein posted 1/7/2011 on The American Spectator).

The Congressional Budget Office, in an email to Capitol Hill staffers obtained by the Spectator, has said that repealing the national health care law would reduce net spending by $540 billion in the ten year period from 2012 through 2021. That number represents the cost of the new provisions, minus Medicare cuts. Repealing the bill would also eliminate $770 billion in taxes. It’s the tax hikes in the health care law (along with the Medicare cuts) which accounts for the $230 billion in deficit reduction.

So, yes, more stuff does cost more.  $770 billion in new taxes.  And $540 billion pulled out of Medicare.  (Which puts the cost of Obamacare at $1.31 trillion dollars).  Do the math ($770 – $540 = $230) and you get your $230 billion in deficit reduction.  A combination of one big-ass tax and a gutting of Medicare.  Now I understand their math.  They just told a bunch of lies.

AARP’s Backroom Deal to Endorse Obamacare

But didn’t the seniors oppose Obamacare?  I remember them fuming at the town hall meetings during the run up to Obamacare.  They were spitting mad, telling their representatives to keep their hands off of their Medicare.  To which their representatives replied not to worry.  Look, they said, AARP supports Obamacare.  And they only support things that are good for you old coots.  I’m paraphrasing, of course.

Well, AARP did endorse Obamacare.  And it does gut Medicare.  So why would they do this to the old coots?  Well, a good place to start would be to follow the money (see ObamaCare endorsements: What the bribe was by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann posted 11/6/2010 on The Hill).

The AARP got a financial windfall in return for its support of the healthcare bill. Over the past decade, the AARP has morphed from an advocacy group to an insurance company (through its subsidiary company). It is one of the main suppliers of Medi-gap insurance, a high-cost, privately purchased coverage that picks up where Medicare leaves off. But President Bush-43 passed the Medicare Advantage program, which offered a subsidized, lower-cost alternative to Medi-gap. Under Medicare Advantage, the elderly get all the extra coverage they need plus coordinated, well-managed care, usually by the same physician. So more than 10 million seniors went with Medicare Advantage, cutting into AARP Medi-gap revenues.

Presto! Obama solved their problem. He eliminates subsidies for Medicare Advantage. The elderly will have to pay more for coverage under Medigap, but the AARP — which supposedly represents them — will make more money. (If this galls you, join the American Seniors Association, the alternative group; contact

So that’s why.  They screwed their dues paying members so they can extort higher insurance premiums from them.  Boy, I’d hate to see what a group that isn’t paid to protect them would do to them.  Then again, I guess we’re going to see that real soon as Obamacare kicks in.  If it kicks in.

Obamacare Result in Higher Unemployment and a Longer Recession?

So they’ve been lying through their teeth and making backroom deals.  Tax and spend as usual.  Well, not quite as usual.  Because they have taken the spending thing a bit too far (see Deficit must fall to prevent economic crisis, Bernanke warns by Neil Irwin posted 1/7/2011 on The Washington Post).

If federal debt were to rise at the pace assumed in a plausible scenario analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office – such as extending most of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts as spending rises at a steady rate – “diminishing confidence on the part of investors that deficits will be brought under control would likely lead to sharply rising interest rates on government debt and, potentially, to broader financial turmoil,” Bernanke said. He added that the high borrowing rate would limit private investment and push up the nation’s foreign debt, hurting U.S. incomes and standards of living.

There won’t be any income or standards of living if there are no jobs.  And just how is the jobs front after the stimulus they passed to keep unemployment under 8%?  It’s dropped unemployment all the way down to 9.4%.  But the drop probably has less to do with new jobs than it does with people just throwing in the towel in their job search.  So what’s the forecast?  According to Bernanke, bad.

“With output growth likely to be moderate in the next few quarters and employers reportedly reluctant to add to payrolls,” it will take five years before the unemployment rate has returned to a more normal level, he said.


Repeal Obamacare:  Real Deficit Reduction

It would appear that Obama, Pelosi and Reid are trying their all to destroy this country.  The economy is still in the toilet.  And, according to Bernanke, it’s going to stay in the toilet for another 5 years.  Or more.  And it will only be 5 years if we reduce our deficit.  If we don’t do that, all bets are off.  According to Bernanke.

Hmmm, deficit reduction.  If I’m not mistaken, there are two ways to cut a deficit.  I believe you can raise taxes.  Or cut spending.  One is good for the economy.  And one is bad for the economy.  So what to do?  Umm.  Of course, when you’re trying to revive an economy to pull it out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, you’re not going to do that by raising taxes.  No.  That doesn’t work.  Which leaves only one choice.  You have to cut spending.

Someone needs to knock the Left upside the head (figuratively, of course) and tell them to stop with the raising of the taxes already.  And the lying.  Yes, the deficit is too high.  But it didn’t get too high because of tax cuts.  It got too high because of spending.  I mean, if they didn’t spend so damn much all this talk about raising taxes would be a moot point.  Taxes are a function of spending.  Spend more; tax more.  Spend less; tax less.  More stuff costs more.  Less stuff costs less.  You know, that really is a difficult concept to grasp.  Unless you’re a Congress person, I guess.


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Death Panels in/out of Medicare, Obamacare still Betting on Death to Cut Costs

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 5th, 2011

Death is more Cost Efficient than Life

First they denied it.  Then they backtracked when everyone could see they were included.  Then they pulled them.  Then they tried to sneak them back (see Administration reverses on end-of-life counseling by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press, posted 1/5/2011 on The Washington Post).

Medicare coverage for voluntary end-of-life planning was part of the original House version of the overhaul legislation in 2009, but it was dropped after Sarah Palin and other Republicans raised the specter of “death panels” deciding the fate of vulnerable seniors. Those charges were later debunked by several non-partisan fact-checking groups.

I keep hearing this.  That they’re not death panels.  They’re actually good things that people want.  But I have to ask this.  Why are they constantly trying to sneak this legislation in?  I mean, Obamacare itself is controversial and unpopular.  The people already hate it.  So why are they hiding these so called death panels that aren’t death panels?

I can think of only one reason.  Cost control.  With Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid all projected to go bankrupt in the not so distant future, there’s no way that Obamacare can escape that same fate.  Unless sick people die quicker.  Before the government spends a fortune trying to extend their lives. 

Yes, it’s a grim prospect.  But that’s the only way you can save cash-strapped programs that incur costs from sick and dying people.  You stop spending money on sick and dying people.  That way you can take in more money than you pay out.  Do that and these programs (Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) can stay solvent.  And there is only one way to do this.  You have to ‘let’ people die.  You get them to choose death.  By persuading them that it’s for the best.  For them.  Their family.  And for the country.  In other words, death panels.  Because death is more cost efficient than life.

Obamacare Welfare:  Wealth Transfer from the Responsible to the Irresponsible

This is what they want to hide from the people.  Because it’s just too ghoulish.  It’s something the Nazis did.  Getting rid of undesirables.  Or the stuff of science fiction like Soylent Green.  Only without the cannibalism.  So far, that is. 

I joke, of course.  Then again, no one knows what’s in the Obamacare legislation.  No one read it.  At least, no one that voted for it.  After all, it was the now deposed Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who said we’d have to pass Obamacare to learn what was in it.  So anything can be in it.  We just don’t know.  But we’re learning.

The new regulations have already exploded private health care costs.  Even though they said it wouldn’t.  In fact, everything was supposed to get cheaper.  But when you force private insurers to cover preexisting conditions, they have to act accordingly. 

With preexisting coverage, no one will buy insurance.  They’ll save their money for car payments.  New entertainment centers.  Jet skis.  You know, fun stuff.  Then, if a kid gets leukemia or some other catastrophic diagnosis, then they’ll buy insurance.  Get the picture?  The only people buying insurance will be those with catastrophic medical expenses.  People who will be consuming millions in benefits but only pay a pittance in premiums.  And that ain’t insurance.  That’s pure welfare wealth transfer.  From the responsible.  To the irresponsible.

The House Rules Enabled Corruption and Backroom Deals

And this is just asinine.  So how did they pass something this stupid into law?  Well, have you seen the House rules (see New rules in the House of Representatives by Felicia Sonmez posted 1/5/2011 on The Washington Post)?  Here’re some of the rules back then.  When Congress slipped Obamacare into law.

  1. 1.  No “Constitutional Authority Statement” was required.  A similar statement was required only for bills reported out of committee and was included in the committee report.
  2. 2.  Only bills reported out of committee were required to be “made available” three days before a vote, and they were not required to be posted online.
  3. 3.  Spending increases could be paid for by spending cuts or tax increases.
  4. 4.  Committee chairmen did not have term limits.
  5. 5.  Legislation was not required to be posted online before it was marked up.
  6. 6.  The “Gephardt Rule” allowed the House to automatically raise the debt limit when a joint budget resolution was adopted.
  7. 7.  The Constitution has never been read in full on the House floor.

This is not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind.  Not even Alexander Hamilton (the biggest of the ‘big government’ Founding Fathers).  In fact, he would be as shocked as his arch nemesis, Thomas Jefferson (who thought any central government was too much central government).  (Just to prevent any confusion, Jefferson was in France during the Constitutional Convention and did not participate.  His assault against the Constitution escalated after ratification.)

The Constitution means something.  It’s the Rule of Law for the central government.  The Constitution has to authorize everything the central government does.  Why?  Because that’s the law.  And we’re a nation of laws.  At least, we used to be.

The fact that Congress has never read the Constitution in full on the House floor is worrisome.  Why haven’t they?  Are they trying to bury the restrictions it places on Congress?  It would appear so.  And that lawmakers look at it as more of a nuisance than as the foundation of our nation.  Something that checks their power and spending sprees.  Which tax and spend Big Government types just don’t like.

The other rules just invite corruption and backroom deals.  The very thing Jefferson warned about.  And he was right.  Because that’s what it took to pass Obamacare.  They bribed Congress people to vote for it.  The Cornhusker Kickback bribed Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson.  The Louisiana Purchase bribed Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu.  And a laundry list of bribes to other people and organizations.  Hidden in the bowels of the health care reform bill.  Which was fast-tracked into law before anyone read it.  Thanks to the rules of the House.

The New 112th Congress to Revise House Rules to Stop the Corruption and Backroom Deals

But all is not lost.  The new 112th Congress is proposing to change the rules.  They even plan to read the Constitution in full on the House floor.  It may be the first time some will learn what’s in it.  And that’s good.  Here are some of the other changes (these numbers correlate to the numbers above):

  1. 1.  All proposed bills must be accompanied by a “Constitutional Authority Statement” that notes the specific section of the Constitution that empowers Congress to enact the legislation.
  2. 2.  All bills must be posted online for three days before they are put up for a vote.
  3. 3.  Spending increases have to be offset by cuts of an equal or greater amount elsewhere and cannot be paid for by tax increases.
  4. 4.  Committee chairmen have a six-year term limit.
  5. 5.  The text of legislation must be posted online 24 hours before it is due to be marked up in committee; the House Rules Committee is exempt from this rule.
  6. 6.  A new rule eliminates automatic debt-limit increase upon passage of joint budget resolutions.
  7. 7.  A full reading of the Constitution will take place on Thursday, the second day of the 112th Congress.

It’s a start.  It might stop some of the Founding Fathers from spinning in their graves.  Probably not Jefferson, though.  It’s going to take a whole lot more to soothe his distraught spirit.

Revised House Rules a Good First Step.  Repealing Obamacare a Good Second Step.

So maybe with the new Congress and the new House rules (if adopted) will prevent another corrupt bill like Obamacare from sneaking through backrooms and into law.  Good.  But that’s just a start.  Now we have to address Obamacare itself.  We need to repeal it.  For a plethora of reasons (see New Congress Begins Fight to Repeal Obamacare and Get Health Care Reform Right by Kathryn Nix posted 1/4/2011 on Heritage’s The Foundry).  Many already know some of these reasons.  But it’s good to keep talking about them.

The negative effects of Obamacare will be felt by all Americans. The new law includes several new taxes and penalties for businesses that threaten to kill job growth and further damage the economy. Budget gimmicks and double counting of savings mean Obamacare will increase federal deficit spending significantly.

Obamacare does nothing to reform the systemic problems and unfunded liabilities represented by Medicare and Medicaid. Instead, the new law uses savings in Medicare to fund a new entitlement that experts expect to greatly exceed its projected cost. Obamacare does not fix Medicaid, which already performs poorly, but adds more to its ranks as a means to reduce the uninsured.

Obamacare increases premiums and overall health spending in the U.S. Instead of allowing insured Americans to keep their current coverage, the new law will cause millions to change or lose their health plans. Last but not least, Obamacare will increase federal control of every aspect of the health sector, increasing the role of bureaucracy in the practice of medicine and interfering in the doctor–patient relationship.

If you want more detail, you can find them in Impact of ObamaCare at The Heritage Foundation.   

If we repeal Obamacare, the death panels become a moot point.  And our deficit and debt crises become that much easier to manage.  As will the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid crises.  So let’s do it.  Repeal Obamacare.

Give Grandma a Chance

Obamacare is bad.  We should repeal it.  Death panels and all.  Instead of putting all our eggs into the ‘death’ basket, we should give living a chance.  But we need to get away from welfare.  And move into insurance.  Pay our own way for expected, routine costs.  And buy insurance to protect our finances from unexpected, extraordinary costs.  And allow insurers to compete across state lines, tort reform, etc.  You know, the usual, sensible stuff.

Come on.  Give Grandma a chance.  Repeal Obamacare.


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