Is the Road to National Health Care through Incompetence or Deviousness?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 19th, 2013

Politics 101

The American Left is always trying to Expand the Role of Government in our Lives

Hillary Clinton tried it.  When her husband was president.  Give us national health care.  But there was terrific blowback.  Because people didn’t want it.  For they were afraid it would take the best health care system in the world (it’s the United States the richest people in the world go to for their more serious health problems) and do, well, what Obamacare is doing to it now.

The American left is always trying to expand the role of government in our lives.  To make people more dependent on government.  Because once they are they will soon discover something very beneficial to the left.  They will learn that they need government.  And once they do they will keep voting for the party that promises to expand government ever more.

This is why the left so wants national health care.  For it makes people need government.  To stay alive.  And that pays big dividends at those annoying things that come around every 2 years that the left hates.  And thinks is beneath them.  Elections.

The Lesson the American Left learned from the Failure of Hillarycare was to Lie Better

Liberals are a bunch of elitists.  They think they are better and smarter than the rest of us.  Which is why they feel they have the right to tell us how to live our lives.  For in their eyes we’re just too stupid to know what’s best for us.  Much like the British nobles felt about their petulant North American colonists.  They’d have preferred we appreciated all that the Crown was doing for them.  Thank them.  And shut the hell up.  This is the mindset of the American left.

The British Crown did not like their American colonists questioning the established order of power.  Neither do liberals.  For they believe that they are a privileged class.  And should live under a different set of rules.  Like they continue to show us all the time as they implement Obamacare.  As they forced the majority of Americans to lose the health insurance, doctors and medicine they liked and wanted to keep waivers went out to those connected to the liberal ruling class.  And actual members of the ruling class.  Such as those Congressional staffers getting illegal subsidies for their gold-plated health care plans while ordinary Americans lost their bare-bones plans because the Affordable Care Act made them unaffordable.

Was this an unintended consequence of the Affordable Care Act?  Well, being that the promise that if you like your health insurance, doctors and medicine and wanted to keep them but now can’t as the year’s biggest lie, it makes one think.  If they lied why did they lie?  To do what was best for the American people?  Or was it because they learned a powerful lesson from the failure of Hillarycare?  That the people don’t want national health care.  So if that’s what you want you can’t tell the American people that.  No.  You lie to them.  Which is why President Obama and his fellow Democrats lied.  Because they knew the American people didn’t want the [deleted expletive] they were shoveling.

The American Left looks upon us with the same Contempt as the British Nobility looked upon the American Colonists

Originally the Affordable Care Act included a public option.  National health care for those who opted for national health care.  But this just didn’t pass the smell test.  For there were Democrats who had one of those nasty things they hated coming up.  An election.  And these Democrats knew that their constituents, though they voted Democrat, would not go for national health care in sheep’s clothing.  So they had to remove the public option from the bill.  For it was just too painfully obvious what their ultimate intentions were.  Which left them with Plan B.

People like their health insurance, doctors and medicine.  And you’re not going to usher in national health care when they have these things.  For they know that the VA and Medicaid (examples of national health care already in America) is second-class health care.  I mean, those rich people coming to the United States for their more serious health problems aren’t demanding to get into the VA or Medicaid programs.  So to get national health care you first have to destroy the private health insurance system.  And candidate Obama told the SEIU that it may take awhile (see The Fix Is In: From ObamaCare Set-Up To Single-Payer Solution by Larry Bell posted 11/26/2013 on Forbes).

“But I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out or 15 years out or 20 years out…”

So is the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act just incompetence?  Or is it part of a devious plan to get what they always wanted?  National health care?  By first destroying the private health insurance that gave people the health insurance, doctors and medicine they liked and wanted to keep?  If it’s incompetence that isn’t good for the American people.  For these same incompetent people will now be in charge of our health care.  With our lives literally hanging in the balance.  Or are they just devious?  Which also isn’t good for the American people.  For it means they look upon us with the same contempt as the British nobility looked upon the American colonists.  Who only cared about what was best for their privileged class.  And not the American people.

The problem the left has is one of timing.  Yes they hold the American people in contempt and believe they are privileged.  But because of elections they have to be careful about letting these truths out.  Because if they lose the Senate and don’t get the House back in the next election it could throw a wrench into their plans.  They need to destroy the private health insurance industry.  But doing so will make people hate them.  And vote against them.  So on the one hand they have to get people dependent on government as soon as possible.  To get them to need government.  But if they move too fast they may anger the people so much that they may lose in the upcoming thing a privileged class hates.  And thinks is beneath them.  An election.  Which may cause them to lose their power.  This is the dilemma the left faces in the rollout of Obamacare.  The degree to which they [deleted expletive] the American people.


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Despite President Obama’s Promises People are losing the Health Insurance and Doctors they wanted to Keep

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 24th, 2013

Week in Review

During the Obamacare debate President Obama promised people that if you liked your health insurance you could keep your health insurance.  And if you liked your doctor you could keep your doctor.  Turns out that wasn’t true (see UPS to drop 15,000 spouses from insurance, cites Obamacare by Jessica Chasmar posted 8/21/2013 on The Washington Times).

Citing Obamacare, the United Parcel Service plans to remove 15,000 spouses from its health care plan because they are eligible for coverage elsewhere.

Rising medical costs, “combined with the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, have made it increasingly difficult to continue providing the same level of health care benefits to our employees at an affordable cost,” UPS said in a memo to employees, Kaiser Health News reported…

The health law requires large employers to cover employees and dependent children, but not spouses or domestic partners, Kaiser reported.

There’s a good chance that the new health insurance the spouses get may be in another network.  Meaning not only did they lose the health insurance they liked.  There’s a good chance they may have to find new doctors.  Two promises the president broke.  So is he a liar?

Of course, he is.  The whole point of Obamacare is to set the stage for a single-payer health care system.  AKA national health care.  President Obama even said he was a proponent of single-payer, universal health care.  But we couldn’t get there immediately.  As he told the AFL-CIO before he was president (see Obama on single payer health insurance uploaded to YouTube).  So all the while he was promising we could keep what we liked he was lying to us.  For single-payer is what he wanted.  It’s what he always wanted.  And he promised to deliver it if they won the White House and Congress.  Which they did.  For the first two years of his presidency the Democrats had control of all three branches of government.  And passed Obamacare along straight party lines.  But they had to buy some votes.  There was the Louisiana Purchase.  And the Cornhusker Kickback.  But to get other Democrats who had elections coming in 2010 they had to get rid of the public option.

The public option was basically single-payer health care.  Which was a bridge too far for key Democrats.  So they dropped it.  Once they did they got the crucial 60th vote in the Senate to prevent a Republican filibuster.  But the public option hasn’t gone completely away.  They just have a more devious way to implement it.  Via the state exchanges.  Just another name for single-payer health care.  So it’s no surprise that we’re slowly but surely losing the private health insurance we had and wanted to keep.  And our doctors.  Because that was the plan all along.


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Obamacare and the United States Postal Service to have a lot in Common

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 29th, 2011

Obama Slams the United States Postal Service (USPS)

Back during the Obamacare debates, way back in 2009, the public option was still on the table.  President Obama tried to soothe people’s worry about the public option putting private insurance out of business.  He said it was ridiculous to worry about such a thing.  Because federal monopolies can’t do anything well.  And that private business will always provide a more superior service than a government provided service.  Strange way to advance his case for more government involvement in health care.  But he said it.  And gave an example of a poorly run government monopoly providing no threat whatsoever to its private counterparts.  The United States Postal Service (see The President and the Postal Service by Ed O’Keefe posted 8/11/2009 on The Washington Post).

“I mean, if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It’s the post office that’s always having problems.”

President Obama is right.  FedEx and UPS are doing just fine.  And, just as he said, it is the USPS that is having the problems.  As always.  To quote Obama.

FedEx is Profitable

FedEx’s shipping volume in their fiscal third quarter set a record.  And their revenue and margins are looking pretty good, too (see FedEx offers strong outlook for this quarter and beyond by Lynn Adler, Reuters, posted 3/17/2011 on msnbc).

FedEx Express volumes were at an all-time fiscal third-quarter high, and “Ground is knocking the cover off of the ball with both volume and yield gains,” [John Koczara, portfolio manager at AMBS Investment Counsel] said.

“We expect continued positive yield trends to improve revenues and margins in the fourth quarter and in fiscal 2012,” said Alan Graf, [FedEx] chief financial officer.

One thing for sure, it doesn’t look like the public option, the USPS, is giving FedEx any problems.  Confirming what Obama said.  FedEx is doing just fine.  Score one for the private company.

UPS is Profitable

Now, FedEx is good, but there is someone even better.  And it isn’t the USPS (see UPS Profit Tops Estimates, Sees Record in 2011 by Reuters posted 2/1/2011 on CNBC).

United Parcel Service, the world’s largest package delivery company, reported a quarterly profit that beat estimates and forecast record-high profits in 2011, sending its shares up 4 percent.

Doesn’t look like the public option, the USPS, is causing any heartburn for UPS.  Unless they consume too much champagne and caviar courtesy of their record profits.  Score another one for the private company.

The USPS is Sucking Air

With FedEx and UPS booming you’d think that the USPS would be booming, too.  So are they?  Are they posting record profits in the latest quarter?  Not quite (see Sun is setting on rural post offices by Kevin Murphy posted 5/28/2011 on Reuters).

The postal service is losing $23 million a day and is $15 billion in debt, its allowed limit, said Rich Watkins, spokesman for its Mid-America District. The service has cut about 100,000 positions through attrition in the past three years and consolidated sorting and other operations, he said.

The postal service is in such bad financial condition that it may not be able to make a $5.5 billion prepayment for future retiree health benefits due September 30, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told a Senate subcommittee last week.

Unlike the private companies, FedEx and UPS, who are doing very well, the USPS is sucking air.  That’s private company: 3; government monopoly: 0.  Which is pretty amazing considering that they have a legal monopoly enforced by the federal government.  Only they can deliver letters.  Unfortunately, they do that so inefficiently that postal customers have found alternatives.

The U.S. agency has lost business to electronic mail and to private sector competitors like FedEx and the United Parcel Service.

That’s the problem with a monopoly.  Always trying to do something the way they did it a generation ago.  Meanwhile, people have turned to email and text messaging.  And paying their bills on line.  Because it’s cheaper.  And easier.  No postage required.  No envelopes.  No trips to the post office.  No muss.  No fuss.  And you can send pictures and video in today’s digital world.  You can’t do that with first class mail.  At least, not with a lot of additional cost.

Of course, they can compete with FedEx and UPS.  Because you can’t send packages electronically.  But the one thing the USPS can do well they still can’t do as well as FedEx and UPS.  We need to fix the USPS.  It needs to be reformed.  To meet the needs of today’s generation.  And tomorrow’s.  But that’s one thing that a government monopoly just can’t do well.  Change.  Or be efficient.  Or provide a service that people demand.

The Public Option will be a lot like the USPS

President Obama was right in 2009.  The government can’t do anything well.  And when they compete against private industry they fail miserably.  In fact, these government run enterprises are so bad that only government intervention can maintain their monopoly.  For awhile.  Because when something is that bad, even government intervention can’t prevent the inevitable.

Which begs the question why did Obama use the USPS-FedEx/UPS analogy to promote the expansion of government into the private health insurance industry?  What’s his argument?  Don’t worry about the public option.  It’ll be as horrible as the USPS that it won’t harm the private insurance market.  But we will pattern the public option after the USPS.  Because only the public option will provide affordable, quality health care.

Yes, the public option will be that remarkable.  It’ll be both horrible and the best thing since sliced bread.  Depending on who the government is talking to at the time.


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Seeing the Bleak Future of Obamacare in the UK and Canada

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 6th, 2011

The UK and Canada look to the Private Sector to Rein in Health Care Costs

The UK founded the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948.  That’s over 50 years ago.  And you know what they say?  Practice makes perfect.  So the UK must really have this national health care thing down, right?  Delivering everything President Obama promises to deliver with his Obamacare.  Affordable yet quality health care for everyone.  For the problem the Americans have been having is that they don’t have a national board yet to limit health care costs.  To tell providers how much is enough.  To swat them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and say, “Bad, health care provider.  Bad.  You have to learn to stop being so greedy.”  Like they must be doing in the UK (see Kill or cure by The Economist posted 5/5/2011 on The Economist).

THE government has put its ambitious health-care reforms on hold, while David Cameron tries to calm a bout of anxiety in his coalition. However, many hospitals are already finding that a combination of rising costs, heavy debts and looming budget cuts is forcing them to seek mergers with stronger institutions or even private-sector takeovers. Even less palatable for the coalition—and patients—there are worries that as the government seeks to save £20 billion ($33 billion) in hospital running costs over the next four years, some closures may be inevitable.

Iain Duncan Smith, a predecessor of Mr Cameron as Conservative leader, last month signed a petition outside 10 Downing Street against closures of the emergency and maternity units of a hospital in his London constituency. Trafford hospital near Manchester—the birthplace of the National Health Service (NHS), where its first patient was treated on its founding in 1948—is considering privatisation, among other options, to resolve its debt crisis. In London, three big hospitals, including the historic St Bartholomew’s, are contemplating joining up into one “superhospital”.

Well, that’s odd.  You see, the UK has a national board to control health care costs.  So they shouldn’t have rising costs.  Heavy debts.  Looming budget cuts.  Mergers.  Or private-sector takeovers.  But here the UK is.  Doing exactly these things.  It makes one wonder why the Americans want to go down this road when the UK has demonstrated that it is the wrong road to go down.  Unless it’s not about providing affordable yet quality health care for everyone.  But the government taking over one-sixth of the nation’s economy.  Whatever the consequences to the quality of health care.

Given how Britons cherish the NHS, privatisations of hospitals might prove as controversial as closures. The government wants a “mixed economy” in the health service, citing Hinchingbrooke hospital in Huntingdonshire as an example of its readiness to bring in private-sector innovation. It will shortly become the first NHS general hospital to be franchised to a private company. Indeed, in Canada’s generally well regarded health service, hospital treatment is often provided by charitable or private operators, with the state paying the fees—so there is no reason why more private-sector involvement in Britain’s NHS would put its principle of free treatment for all at risk.

So things may not be that bad.  The NHS may just become more like the Canadian health care system.  In Canada, the Canada Health Act (CHA) determines how the government reimburses private health care providers for their services.  And it is these private health care providers who hire doctors and nurses.  And funds their retirement.  They are not government employees.  Like in the UK.  Canada is more like the USA.  Only with a single insurance company, i.e., a public option.  So the Britons don’t have to worry about change per se in paying for health care.  It will still ultimately come from tax dollars.  And they will have the same problems they currently have in the UK (see Canada’s health care crisis is an economics problem, not a management problem by Brett J. Skinner, President and Director of Health Policy Studies and Mark Rovere, Associate Director of Health Policy Studies Fraser Institute, posted 4/19/2011 on Troy Media).

Government health spending is growing at unsustainable rates, while patients are facing shortages of medical resources and declining access to necessary medical care.

The Canadian health system has been run as a government monopoly since 1970. It doesn’t really matter which level of government tries to manage the system, our experience shows that political planning doesn’t work. Adding federal management would be as effective at averting disaster as rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship.

So, yes, the UK is looking to the Canadian system as a lifeboat for the NHS.  Unfortunately, the lifeboat they chose also happens to be sinking.

This cost crisis is happening despite significant government efforts to centrally restrict spending on health, which has resulted in shortages that create long waits for access to necessary medical goods and services.

The Fraser Institute’s annual survey of Canadian physicians shows that, in 2010, patients waited approximately 18.2 weeks from the time they obtained a referral from a general practitioner to the time they received treatment from a specialist. Although health spending consumes a larger share of provincial revenues each year, Canadians are waiting 96 per cent longer for surgery than they did in 1993 when the average wait was only 9.3 weeks long.

The problem is that both the NHS and the CHA have the same problems.  Adopting a system more like the other doesn’t get rid of those underlying problems.  There is something they both can do, though.  Use less government.  And more market forces.

The real solutions are quite simple: user fees and private insurance options would introduce economic incentives for efficiency that would regulate supply and demand, shift costs off the public system and offer a sustainable source of additional resources.

The US has private insurance options.  For now, at least.  But they wrote Obamacare to put them out of business to get the public option in through the back door.  A two-step process to get the US to a national health care system.  So they can have the same problems as their dear friends in Canada and the UK.

National Health Care makes Unhappy Health Care Providers

The problem with a single-payer system is that there is no competition to keep costs down.  That’s what a free market economy does.  Keeps prices down.  That’s why one store can’t sell a TV set for $2,500 when another sells the exact same set for $750.  Because consumers will not pay more for the same thing.  That’s what competition does.  Makes people honest.  Without competition, though, you have to trust someone.  Or some panel.  To set fair prices.  And fair salaries and benefits.  And when costs are too high the only options available are to ration services.  Or pay health care providers less.  Or make them work longer hours for the same pay (see NHS reforms push third of GPs to head for exit by Laura Passi posted 5/5/2011on PulseToday).

The first part of Pulse’s State of the Profession Survey, published this week, paints an alarming picture of GPs’ working lives, suggesting they are being forced to work longer hours, are spending less time with patients and are struggling to meet expectations as a result. Almost half of the 576 GPs who responded to the poll reported they were suffering from stress.

But it is the fallout from the Government’s far-reaching NHS reforms that appears to have pushed the number of GPs looking to quit to the highest level for more than a decade, with 71% claiming morale had fallen as a direct result of the health bill and only 9% saying it had risen. Just 18% said they believe general practice is currently moving in the right direction.

Here’s a news flash.  Being a nurse is hard.  Being a doctor is hard.  Telling them that they have to work longer and harder for less pay just isn’t going to get people to go into medicine.  Or stay in medicine.

BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum told Pulse he feared low morale could lead to an exodus of senior GPs.

He said: ‘Morale isn’t that good when it comes to things like pay, the threats to pensions and the various other things that are going on in the NHS.

Yes, we want you to sacrifice and give all you can so we can live healthier lives.  But we don’t want you to get rich in the process or enjoy life.  Your reward should be knowing that we can live a long and healthy life so we can get rich and enjoy life.

Dr Julia Hodges, a GP in Elephant and Castle, south London, was one of many to blame the fall in morale on the NHS reforms: ‘A lot of people feel quite betrayed because the story was that there would be no major top-down reorganisation, and then suddenly the biggest changes since the inception of the NHS are being discussed. I feel the changes are badly thought out and so destructive. Inevitably there has to be more rationing, more cuts, more waiting lists. I think it’s going to be really unpleasant to try and commission services when the budget is shrinking rapidly.’

Yeah, it has to be this way.  Because when there is no competition, the only way to cut costs is for someone or some panel to determine who they are going to pay less.  Or who they are going to make work harder for the same amount of pay and benefits.

It’s about the Power and the Money

When it comes to the health care debate in the United States, people have to understand it’s not about providing affordable and quality health care for everyone.  It’s all about political power.  And the money.  The utopian solutions pointed to in the UK and Canada are not the utopias some think they are.  Their cost problems are worse than the American cost problems.  But does that dissuade the defenders of Obamacare?  No.  Which should tell you everything you need to know about their true intentions.


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Rich Liberals Champion the Poor to Maintain their Privileged Lives

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 2nd, 2011

Per-Vote-Subsidy replaces Corporate and Union Money

Canada has a spoils system when it comes to public financing of political campaigns.  The big pile of public money ‘donated’ by the Canadian taxpayer is divided between the parties by vote.  The more votes a party gets, the more tax subsidies that party gets.  The Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, wants to do away with these subsidies (see Harper vows to scrap per-vote subsidies by News Staff posted 4/1/2011 on

Currently, political parties receive a $2-per-vote subsidy, but Harper has long opposed the system, which was brought in by the Liberals when corporate and union donations were banned.

He said Friday that political parties already enjoy “enormous tax advantages” and taxpayers should not have to support parties they don’t support with their votes. Harper added that the subsidy only helps to ease the way for frequent elections.

Interesting.  Unlike the United States, Canada does not allow corporations or unions donate to political parties.  And when that ban went into place, the liberals brought in the per-vote-subsidy.  It takes money to win political contests.  And when you shut down two big sources (corporations and unions), that money has to come from somewhere else.  So the liberals decided to get that money from the taxpayer.  Fair, right?  I mean, without these subsidies, political power falls to the rich.  And that’s not fair, is it?

The Liberals are the Rich trying to Buy Political Power

When they banned corporate and union donations that left private donations.  From actual people.  So I guess we would have to see how that money flowed to see whether the per-vote-subsidy is fair and serves its purpose.  To keep the rich from wielding political power over the poor (see Analysis: Fears about scrapping per-vote subsidies wildly off target by Patrick Brethour, Vancouver, posted 4/2/2011 on The Globe and Mail).

Data compiled by the website show that funds raised by the parties largely come from small donors, in amounts that would make few Canadian households cringe…

Take the Conservative Party in 2009, which raised… an average [per person] donation of $174.60…

The story is pretty much the same with the other parties: the NDP, with an average donation of $169.11; the Bloc Quebecois, average $102.63; Green Party, $123.21; and the Liberals, with an average of $239.23, the highest of the major federal parties.

Looking at the average per-person donation, it appears the liberal donors are richer than the conservative donors.  Kind of goes against everything the liberals tell us.  That conservatives are nothing but a bunch of rich fat-cats who want to use the poor as footstools.  Either that or conservatives are just cheap bastards.

The same picture emerges when looking at the distribution of donations by size. For the Conservatives, about 10 per cent of the funds raised came from those giving between $1,000 and the maximum of $1,100; conversely, two-thirds came from those giving $400 or less. The NDP were similar, with 7 per cent coming from the highest donated amount, and 70 per cent coming from donations $400 and under. The Liberals – who have fulminated against the perils of the rich controlling the political process – were actually the party most dependent on big donations, with 35 per cent of their cash coming from donors giving between $1,000 and $1,100, while sub-$400 donors accounted for just 38 per cent of the funds the party raised.

In fact, the Liberals outperformed among big donors, raising $3.2-million to the Conservatives’ $1.7-million. The Tories made up that ground, and more, with small donors.

And what do these numbers tell you?  Liberals rely on rich people for their political donations.  Conservatives rely on the little guy, the average working person who can barely afford to donate $200.  And the big corporations and the big unions pour money into liberal political parties.  In ‘soft ways‘ these days.  In Canada.  In the United States.  All around the world.  So much money that it was hard for the little guy to fight against it.  Leaving political power in the hands of the rich.  Much like the liberals say they want to prevent with the per-vote-subsidy.  But, in fact, that’s exactly what they want to do.  Leave political power in their rich hands.

You see, the crony capitalists and the snooty rich don’t like the little guy.  They like the good life that few can enjoy.  And sometimes they need special favors from government to continue that privileged life.  Which is why they donate to liberal parties.  But when they banned ‘hard money’ donations from corporations and unions, liberals had to scramble for other financing.  Because the majority of people don’t support their views.  So they need to ‘force’ donations through these per-vote-subsidies.  For it is the only way they can continue to rule against the will of the people.

The People who Supported Obamacare get Obamacare Waivers

It’s always about the money.  Whenever you’re confused about some political debate, just ask yourself this simple question.  Where’s the money?  Take health care, for example.  The goal of Obamacare was to provide everyone with high-quality yet affordable health care insurance.  Sort of like paying for a Big Mac and getting filet mignon.  Impossible, yes, but that’s what they told us. 

Big Business and the unions were all behind it.  Everyone (employers and unions) wants to dump their health care costs.  That’s why they were anxious for that public option.  Well, they didn’t get the public option.  Not yet.  First Obamacare has to put the private insurers out of business.  Once it does that then the government can step in as the insurer of last resort and, presto, they’ll get their national health care.  But leaves a costly problem for the here and now.

To ‘pass’ CBO, they had to include some onerous requirements.  The new law forced everyone to buy insurance.  The insurers had to cover preexisting conditions.  And they forbade insurance companies to recover their full overhead expenses.  Suddenly affordable insurance was going to become unaffordable.  Or people were simply going to lose their insurance because they couldn’t afford the premiums that were necessary to comply with the requirements of Obamacare.  So many of those who supported this legislation want no part of it.  For themselves, that is.  It’s okay for us.  But not for them.  So they’re asking that the law does not apply to them.  Only us (see List of health reform waivers keeps growing by Jason Millman posted 4/2/2011 on The Hill).

The number of waivers the Obama administration has awarded for a provision of the year-old healthcare reform law grew by 128 in March.

With the new waivers, that means 1,168 businesses, insurers, unions and other organizations have received one-year exemptions from a healthcare reform provision requiring at least $750,000 in annual benefits.

Nancy Pelosi said we needed to pass Obamacare to learn what was in it.  Apparently another 128 insurance plans learned what was in it this past March.  And they want out.  Like the majority of Americans.  Which really begs the question why Obamacare?  It isn’t popular.  They had to pass it quickly before anyone could read the bill.  None of the unions want it.  So why have it?  Because liberals want it.  And why do politicians want anything?  Follow the money.

The Free Market provides High Quality and Low Prices

Hillary Clinton tried to socialize our health care.  Now Obamacare is a short step from doing just that.  Because they said only government could step in and fix our health care system.  That the so-called free market had failed.  Really now?  Because that’s the one thing that has been missing from our health care system.  Market forces.  Doctors providing medical services for a fee that their patients actually pay for.  Not a third party insurance bureaucrat.  But the actual patient.  Until now, that is.  And that free market?  It works.  It’s providing a fully funded quality system that people of average means can afford (see High-end medical option prompts Medicare worries by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, posted 4/2/2011 on the Sun Journal).

Every year, thousands of people make a deal with their doctor: I’ll pay you a fixed annual fee, whether or not I need your services, and in return you’ll see me the day I call, remember who I am and what ails me, and give me your undivided attention.

But this arrangement potentially poses a big threat to Medicare and to the new world of medical care envisioned under President Barack Obama’s health overhaul.

The spread of “concierge medicine,” where doctors limit their practice to patients who pay a fee of about $1,500 a year, could drive a wedge among the insured. Eventually, people unable to afford the retainer might find themselves stuck on a lower tier, facing less time with doctors and longer waits.

People actually paying to see a doctor?  Imagine that?  Just like in the old days.  Before there was a health care crisis.  The patients are happy.  The doctors are happy.  And making a very nice living.  You can’t get much more of a win-win situation, can you?  Who could find fault with this?

The trend caught the eye of MedPAC, a commission created by Congress that advises lawmakers on Medicare and watches for problems with access. It hired consultants to investigate.

I guess the government could.  Big Brother is everywhere.  And he is looking at this free market solution.  And Big Brother is not amused.  People paying for their own medical care?  That’s a problem for those in government.  A big problem.

Several members said it appears to be fulfilling a central goal of Obama’s overhaul, enhancing the role of primary care and restoring the doctor-patient relationship.

Yet the approach envisioned under the law is different from the one-on-one attention in concierge medicine. It calls for a team strategy where the doctor is helped by nurses and physician assistants, who handle much of the contact with patients.

John Goodman, a conservative health policy expert, predicts the health care law will drive more patients to try concierge medicine. “Seniors who can pay for it will go outside the system,” he said.

MedPAC’s Hackbarth declined to be interviewed. But Berenson, a physician and policy expert, said “the fact that excellent doctors are doing this suggests we’ve got a problem.”

You see, one-on-one concierge medicine is bad because it lets doctors work freely with patients.  The government would prefer something along the current lines.  You treat patients.  And then we’ll think about paying you.  And how much we’ll pay you.  Like in the Medicare program now.  That way you’re our bitch.  But if you work outside the system, you and your patients will be free.  And we don’t like that.  Why?  Follow the money.

Follow the Money for the Money Never Lies

Politics is always about the money.  Always has been.  Always will be.  Because it takes money to gain and maintain political power.  Whether you’re running a political campaign.  Or supporting a campaign with your union dues in exchange for political favors (such as legislation that limits competition so unions can maintain their high wage and benefit packages).

Liberals are a minority of the population.  Wherever you are.  The majority of people don’t belong to a union or work for the government.  This majority has jobs.  They take care of their family.  And want Big Brother to leave them alone.  Union dues from a small percentage of the population can greatly influence elections, though.  They can’t donate directly.  But that money finds its way to liberals.  Liberals in the U.S. desperately need this money.  In fact, union dues have become so important to the ruling liberal elite that they created an entire new class of union-paying people.  The public sector union class.  Who has but one purpose.  To launder tax dollars from taxpayers to the Democrat Party.

The 2010 mid-term elections shook up the political establishment.  Conservative governors are fighting back against this new political class.  And the liberal left is attacking these governors.  Even President Obama sent activists to Madison, Wisconsin, to protest against Governor Walker as they voted to make their public sector workers live more like the rest of the people in Wisconsin.  This is why Obamacare is so important to the left.  Health care is 17% of GDP.  That’s a lot of money.  That’s why the public option is so important.  Why nationalized health care is so important.  Because of this money.  Liberals want this money to pass through Washington.  Where they can easily skim a little off the top for their political needs.  And to live well.  Without actually having to work.  Like that majority that pays all those taxes.

Life’s greatest question can be easiest answered by following the money.  For the money never lies.


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Broke and Inefficient: Medicare, Social Security, Liberalism and (soon to be) Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 15th, 2010

The Washington Post Thinks President Obama can be Great.  If he Quits being President.

The Washington Post says the American people have rejected President Obama and his policies.  But they still think he’s the bee’s knees.  The great man can still be great.  If he quits (see Opinion | One and done: To be a great president, Obama should not seek reelection in 2012 by Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell posted 11/14/2010 on The Washington Post).

Obama himself once said to Diane Sawyer: “I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.” He now has the chance to deliver on that idea.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama spoke repeatedly of his desire to end the red-state-blue-state divisions in America and to change the way Washington works. This was a central reason he was elected; such aspirations struck a deep chord with the polarized electorate.

But that’s not the reason the people elected him.  They simply didn’t know any better.  No one knew anything about him.  He had no track record.  No experience.  A barren resume.  Questionable associations with radicals.  And he went to church run by a racist and anti-American pastor. 

The liberal mainstream media simply failed to vet this candidate.  And now that he has governed as one would expect with such a past, the people have rejected him at the 2010 midterm elections.  As they would have during the campaign.  Had the media vetted him like they vet Republican candidates.  But they didn’t.  Because they were already in love with him.

Should the president do that, he – and the country – would face virtually no bad outcomes. The worst-case scenario for Obama? In January 2013, he walks away from the White House having been transformative in two ways: as the first black president, yes, but also as a man who governed in a manner unmatched by any modern leader. He will have reconciled the nation, continued the economic recovery, gained a measure of control over the fiscal problems that threaten our future, and forged critical solutions to our international challenges. He will, at last, be the figure globally he has sought to be, and will almost certainly leave a better regarded president than he is today. History will look upon him kindly – and so will the public.

No.  They won’t.  President Obama wasn’t succumbing to pressure from his liberal base.  He wanted to remake America into a quasi-socialist state like those social democracies in Europe.  The American people don’t.  Hence the 2010 midterm election results. 

More Obamacare Waivers to Companies that can’t Afford Obamacare

Obama lied during the 2008 presidential campaign.  He said he was a centrist.  He said he didn’t want to nationalize health care.  Well, after winning he said elections have consequences.  There would be no reaching across the aisle.  It would be his way.  Because the Republicans lost.  And what did he want more than anything else?  A Big Government takeover of health care. 

And he lied again.  He said they would provide health care to more people and bring total costs down.  Well, Obamacare forced private insurers to provide more benefits.  So, of course, they raised their premiums.  Some dropped children-only policies because Obamacare basically made those pure unfunded welfare.  And McDonald’s asked for, and got, waivers for their min-med plans.  As did others.  Why?  Because Obamacare increased the cost of those plans so much that they would have dropped health insurance for their employees without the waivers. 

Obamacare is forcing higher costs on others, too.  To date the government has issued another 111 waivers (see Approved Applications for Waiver of the Annual Limits Requirements of the PHS Act Section 2711 as of November 1, 2010 from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website).  And because the unions didn’t get the public option to offload their health care burdens, a lot of them want out of Obamacare.  They can’t afford it.  And if they can’t, you know others without big legal staffs who have no idea what’s coming can’t afford it either.

Medicare:  Broke and Inefficient

Besides out of control costs what can we expect with government managed health care?  Well, I guess we can look at government managed health care we have now.  Medicare.  And what’s it like working in that government run system (see Doctors brace for possible big Medicare pay cuts by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, posted 11/13/2010 on Yahoo! News)?

“My frustration level is at a nine or 10 right now,” said Wagner, who practices in San Antonio. “I am exceptionally exhausted with these annual and biannual threats to cut my reimbursement by drastic amounts. As a business person, I can’t budget at all because I have no idea how much money is going to come in. Medicine is a business. Private practice is a business.”

Yeah, well, she’s probably just another greedy doctor.

Last summer, when Congress missed the deadline for an extension, Wagner had to tap her line of credit to pay the salaries of her nurses and office staff. Medicare is only a fraction of her practice, but the cancer surgeon said private insurance companies also held up payments waiting to see what would happen. “I didn’t get a check in the mail for almost a month,” she said.

Well, maybe not.

Social Security:  Broke and Inefficient

How about Social Security?  Sure, that’s been flirting with bankruptcy for like forever.  But it works, doesn’t it?  On the benefit side?  Providing a swift and life-saving safety net for those most at risk?  Yeah, pull the other (see Social Security judges facing more violent threats by Sam Hananel, Associated Press, posted 11/14/2010).

Judges who hear Social Security disability cases are facing a growing number of violent threats from claimants angry over being denied benefits or frustrated at lengthy delays in processing claims.

And how long are they waiting?

Nearly 2 million people are waiting to find out if they qualify for benefits, with many having to wait more than two years to see their first payment.

Wow.  Even renewing your driver’s license is less painful than that.

Obamacare:  Soon to Become Broke and Inefficient

And this is what President Obama wants to give us.  He wants to take over health care and make it like Medicare and Social Security.  Chronically on the verge of bankruptcy.  And grossly inefficient. 

The social democracies of Europe are imploding under their own weights.  People are rioting.  Cities are burning.  And while they desperately try to reverse direction, Obama is dragging a reluctant America in the other direction while whistling a happy tune.  And unless history is a product of our liberal public school system, there’s no way in hell it will look kindly on the man that so greatly damaged America.

It’s not the partisanship causing the trouble in Washington.  It’s an ideology.  Liberalism.  Which is broke and inefficient.  It’s time to get rid of it.  And a good place to start would be to repeal Obamacare.  If he did that, perhaps history would look kindly on him.


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As Usual, the Democrats are Trying to Deceive the Voters to Get Reelected

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 24th, 2010

Yes, I Voted for Obamacare.  But I’m Really a Reagan Democrat.

America is a center-right country.  That’s why liberals don’t run as liberals during elections.  They lie.  And deceive.  They morph into something the people actually want.  Which isn’t who they are.  They move to the center.  They sound like conservatives.  Even invoke Ronald Reagan’s name during the election.  The leftist of liberals are all Reagan Democrats at election time.  Once the polls close, though, they go right back to castigating Reagan and his policies.  And scold us that we can’t return to the failed policies of the past.

Bill Clinton ran as a New Democrat.  But once in office he governed so far to the left that he lost both houses of Congresses at the midterm elections.  Barack Obama, too.  Well, is about to.  Lose super majorities in the House and the Senate.  Why?  Because he campaigned as a centrist.  And has governed as the most liberal president to date.

Obama did not run on the platform of nationalizing our health care.  But that’s the path we’re on.   Obamacare is forcing insurance companies to raise their premiums to comply, setting the stage for further attacks against these greedy corporations.  Some are dropping children-only policies because of the mandate to insure those with preexisting conditions.  With that mandate, no parent will spend money for insurance until their child needs health care.  Obamacare is full of such legislation that has but one purpose.  To kill the private health insurance industry.  To make way for the public option.  And, eventually, nationalize health care.  But he didn’t campaign that way.  Because the voting public clearly didn’t want this.

Don’t Look at My Liberal Legislative Accomplishments.  I’m Actually Against Everything I Voted For.

You see, liberals cannot be honest during campaigns.  They can’t say that their economic policies will make the recession worse.  And prolong it.  Which they have.  They can’t say they are going to raise everyone’s taxes.  Which they will after their commission reports after the election.  They will say that there is no choice but to raise taxes on everyone to reign in the out of control deficit spending.  And they can’t say that we will lose our doctors or the health insurance we like and want to keep under Obamacare.  Which we will.  They can’t be honest about these things and still win elections.  So they lie.  And they deceive.

And now here we are.  At the midterm elections.  If you have been following the campaigns across the country, you’ve no doubt noticed something.  Or, rather, noticed something that’s not there.  That is conspicuous by its absence.   Obama and his Democrat controlled Congress passed an enormous amount of liberal legislation in not quite two years.  And nary a Democrat is running on their impressive liberal legislative accomplishments.  In fact, some are now campaigning against their own legislative record.  Why?  Because they governed against the will of their constituents.  And it’s election time.  So now it’s time, once again, to lie.  To deceive.  And they found a new game this year.  Thanks to the Tea Party.

Oh, these people hate the Tea Party.  They came up with that pejorative ‘tea bagger’ to describe these people.  They did everything they could to mock and belittle these people.  Because these people scare them.  They’re educated.  They understand the issues.  And they know who these liberals are and see through all their lies.  So what’s the logical thing for these liberals to do during this election season?  Why, support Tea Party 3rd party candidates. 

Hello, I’m Devious.  Democrat Candidate for Office.  And I want to Deceive You

The Democrats are heading for a shellacking this November.  They’re desperate.  Especially poor old Harry Reid.  The consummate professional being beaten by some Tea Party hack.  Well, that’s how the Left views it.  So they’re turning up the devious this election.  The following quote comes from an article by Jim Rutenberg published 10/22/2010 at The New York Times on line (see Democrats Back Third Parties to Siphon Votes).

Democrats are working behind the scenes in a number of tight races to bolster long-shot third-party candidates who have platforms at odds with the Democratic agenda but hold the promise of siphoning Republican votes.

And, you’ve guessed it, these 3rd party candidates are balloted as ‘Tea Party’ candidates.  They’re competing against the Democrat candidate.  And the Tea Party endorsed Republican candidate.  That’s right, the actual Tea Party, the grassroots movement with that name, doesn’t endorse these ‘Tea Party’ candidates.

Democrat operatives are actually calling people, identifying themselves as registered Republicans, to promote these 3rd party candidates.  They’re trying to deceive registered Republicans into voting for the more conservative ‘Tea Party’ candidate in lieu of the ‘liberal’ Republican candidate.  If they deceive enough registered Republicans with this trick, they may just be able to Ross Perot their election (Perot was the 3rd party candidate that swept Bill Clinton into office).

Whether they do or not it sure says a lot about the Left.  They just can’t win elections honestly.


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Obamacare: Stupid or Devious?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 1st, 2010

The passage of Obamacare is cutting quite the swath of destruction in its path.  Businesses had to book million dollar charges to comply with the new legislation.  The requirement to insure children with preexisting conditions has caused insurance companies to drop plans for children.  (Not because they are ogres.  But because no one will buy insurance for their kid until they’re sick or injured.  So the cost of these plans will have to equal the actual medical costs.  So what’s the point?  If you’re paying actual costs just pay them directly to the health care provider.  And cut out the middleman.)  And now McDonald’s may drop their mini-med plans.  Because these low-premium policies have the same overhead as comprehensive plans.  Which means they spend more of the premium on overhead costs (as a percentage) than the big comprehensive plans.  So they can’t meet the required medical-loss ratio (the percent of premiums they must spend on actual health care benefits).

The idea was to prevent the ‘evil’ health insurance companies from paying huge bonuses to their people to keep costs down.  But bonuses are the least of their cost worries.  The Obamacare mandate to cover an additional 32 million people is a much bigger cost worry.  Especially when there is no cap on benefits and they’re required to cover all preexisting conditions.  And you know what?  It can’t be done. 

Oh, there will be a doctor shortage, too.  Especially when we add another 36 million or so to the Medicare program.  (If you’re doing the math, that’s an additional 68 million new patients that will need doctors.  Can you say rationing and ‘death panels’?  Someone will have to decide how to use these limited resources.  Replace the hip of an 89 year old grandmother?  Or do the appendectomy on the 21 year old man?)

Obamacare is a train wreck.  You have to ask yourself how did they make such a mess of it.  Well, there are two possible answers.  Either they’re just stupid and these are all unintended consequences.  Or this was the plan all along to kill the private health insurance industry.  So the devious bastards could get their public option/national health care they’ve wanted all along.

You can read McDonald’s May Drop Health Plan by Janet Adamy on the Wall Street Journal on line for more detail.  McDonald’s has denied this, however.  You can read the AP’s Health care law may hamper limited insurance plans by Tom Murphy on Yahoo! Finance for their denial.  Whether or not McDonald’s is considering dropping their mini-med plans (unless they get their exemption) doesn’t change the fate of these mini-med plans under Obamacare.  Those mandated medical-loss ratios could push these very popular plans into extinction.

Lying or stupid.  Either way it’s bad for us.


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Look Out – Here Comes the Public Option

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 24th, 2010

Insurance or Welfare?

People must think insurance companies can crap money.  The truth is, though, they can’t.  They take a little bit of money from the many so they can make big payments to the few.  That’s insurance.  You pay a little to protect yourself from big, unexpected medical costs.  Like an accident.  Or a disease.

Years ago I worked in a small company.  One of my duties was managing our healthcare.  The older employees (especially those with children) always did the responsible thing.  They enrolled.  The young single men didn’t.  Employees contributed to the plan.  And, well, a young man had better uses for that money.  But when one knocked up his girlfriend and saw the pregnancy costs, he came a running to enroll. 

Insurance doesn’t work when you only buy the policy when you have a known expense coming.  If we all did that look at what would happen.  Everyone paying a premium will be collecting a benefit far greater than their premium.  And it just can’t work that way.  I mean, where is the insurance company going to get the money to keep paying benefits that exceed the amount they collect in premiums?  There’s only one way.  Jack up premiums.  Or decline coverage.  Well, two ways.  To stay in business, insurance companies, as well as every other business in the world, gotta have revenues that exceed their costs.  If they don’t, they go belly up.

We’re Not Stupid

Obamacare’s mandates began to kick in this week.  On Thursday (9/23/2010), insurers must wave pre-existing conditions for children.  Also, they can no longer limit the amount of health care a person receives per year or in their lifetime.  (See Insurers Dropping Some Coverage For Children by Matthew Sturdevant on the Insurance Capital blog.)  This means you don’t have to buy insurance for your kid anymore.  If he or she gets sick or is hurt in an accident, THEN you visit your friendly insurance agent and enroll your kid into a plan.  And the open-ended benefit limit?  Yeah, you try to work something like that in your household budget.  House payment, property insurance, car payment, car insurance, utilities, groceries, cable and sundry expenses…$3,500 per month.  And the unknown, open-ended, potentially catastrophic expense…$25,000 per month.  Hmmm.  Maybe we should drop the cable.

Now you don’t need to be particularly sharp with numbers to draw the obvious conclusion.  Insurance companies can NOT stay in business under Obamacare.  Even those in Washington know this.  Unless those in Congress are extremely stupid.   So why, then?  Why would they do this when they’ve said all along that we’ll be able to keep our current plans?  Think about it.  It’ll come to you.  Why would they do something that would do exactly what they said it wouldn’t do?  Because it’s what they wanted all along.  To put the private insurance companies out of business. 

‘No’ Means ‘No’.  Unless You’re the Federal Government

The people said ‘no’ to nationalizing our health care.  They said ‘no’ to the watered down version of nationalized health care.  The public option.  But the Obama administration wanted this.  It’s the Holy Grail of Big Government.  So what to do when the people say “no?”  You screw the people and find a way around them.  And you make it look like the insurance companies’ fault.  Make them look greedy.  By writing laws that will put them out of business UNLESS they make huge rate increases.  Threaten and bully them when they do.  Exclude them from the pool because they did.  Then you step in with the public option.  Then, Bob’s your uncle, you got what you wanted.  Control of one seventh of the U.S. economy.

Lying or stupid.  You pick.  Either way it’s a sad commentary on our elected ‘representatives’.


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