Friday, September 4, 2009
Obama has repeatedly insisted on the dire need for fundentally restructuring the health-care system because out-of-control costs were bankrupting the Treasury and wrecking the U.S. economy -- yet the Democrats' plans would make the problem worse.
Because it seems so intuitive, it has become conventional wisdom. But like most conventional wisdom, it is wrong. Overall, preventive care increases medical costs, says Krauthammer of the Washington Post.
This inconvenient truth comes, once again, from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):
- In an Aug. 7 letter to Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA), CBO Director Doug Elmendorf writes: "researchers who have examined the effects of preventive care generally find that the added costs of widespread use of preventive services tend to exceed the savings from averted illness."
- For the individual, catching something early generally reduces later spending for that condition; but, explains Elmendorf, we don't know in advance which patients are going to develop costly illnesses.
- To avert one case, it's usually necessary to provide preventive care to many patients and this costs society money that would not have been spent otherwise.
Prevention is not, as so widely advertised, healing on the cheap. It is not the magic bullet for health-care costs proponents of socialized medicine would have us believe.
For purely political reasons, Obama has rejected one of the most effective tools for containing medical costs -- tort reform -- because it would upset a special interest group -- well-heeled plaintiff's lawyers -- that is one of the biggest funders of the Democratic party. Yet tort reform remains a key to paring costs:
- It would put sensible limits on medical malpractice lawsuits that have flooded the courts and forced doctors to practice "defensive" medicine.
- Studies of the effects of such medicine put its price tag at a minimum of $100 billion a year and probably more than $200 billion.
Simply to avoid being sued, doctors order more tests, procedures, consultations, referrals to specialists, and hospitalizations than they otherwise would. Because doctors pay more for malpractice insurance, patients pay more too:
- Nearly $2,000 a year in extra health expenses for an average family, according to the rate of defensive medicine found in a study by Daniel Kessler and Mark McClellan.
- Stuart Weinstein, the former president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, echoes this result. He has calculated that if a doctor delivers 100 babies a year and pays $200,000 for insurance (the rate in Florida), "$2,000 of the delivery cost for each baby goes to pay the cost of the medical liability premium."
Republican senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming has proposed health courts to rule on malpractice lawsuits. You can guess the fate of this idea. Obama's Democratic allies in the Senate blocked it.
image toon - hcare = patient v doctors broken legs over healthcare law suits
Media Virtually Silent About $10 Billion Union Health Care Subsidy Built Into House Version of Health Care Bill
Some of us have been wondering how viable the Voluntary Employee Benefit Arrangements (VEBAs) set up by the United Auto Workers for its auto industry employees really are. This is of particular concern at the VEBAs tied in to General Motors and Chrysler. What happens to the employer stock these VEBAs own will heavily influence whether they have the money to pay promised benefits.
The answer to the viability question must be "not very," because the House version of health care that has made it out of committee has a $10 billion provision tucked into it that would largely work to back the VEBAs up in case GM and Chrysler are never able to stand on their own -- or in case other high-wage, high-benefit companies, many of which are unionized, follow them into serious financial difficulty.
Maybe it's because $10 billion doesn't mean much any more in an era of trillion-dollar deficits, but media coverage of this "little" provision has been very, very light. A Google News search on "retiree health care UAW" (not typed in quotes) came back with only about 25 relevant items of roughly 100 total results earlier this afternoon. Many of those results are outraged editorials and op-eds. There is precious little original news coverage of the topic.
Republicans have been offering major health care reform for the last 40 years. Democrats have defeated such reforms every time, holding out for nothing less than a single-payer, government-run system, with Ted Kennedy in the lead...
[It's not about improving healthcare - it's about extending power.]
Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters nationwide say that it’s more important for Congressmen to hear the view of their constituents rather than explain the proposed health care legislation. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 37% hold the opposite view while 7% are not sure.
The desire for Congress to listen may stem from the fact that voters believe they understand the legislation better than Congress.
Forty-nine percent (49%) have a favorable opinion of those opposing the health care reforms at town hall meetings. That’s up eight points from 41% a month ago. Thirty-five percent (35%) have an unfavorable view of the town hall protesters, unchanged from last month.
Fifty-nine percent (59%) now say the town hall protesters are citizens reflecting the concerns of their neighbors. That’s up ten points over the past month.
[Why are folks angry and yelling at town halls? When your so-called representatives are, very civilly, lying to your face - a 'change of tenor' is all you're left with. It's the appropriate interim step between 'discussion' and pitchforks...]
Newsweek Editor Plays Psychiatrist – Says Health Care Opponents Suffering from Saddam-9/11 Linkage Delusions
Don't like ObamaCare? Well, more than likely - you're suffering from some sort of psychological delusion according to Newsweek Senior Editor and self-declared psychiatrist Sharon Begley.
Begley, in a piece posted on Newsweek's Web site on Aug. 25, theorized that the widespread opposition to President Barack Obama's health care reform isn't from any legitimate reason, but instead it exists mostly because people are not willing to go against their own beliefs, and have a desire to satisfy their need to think they're beliefs are right.
"Some people form and cling to false beliefs about health-care reform (or Obama's citizenship) despite overwhelming evidence thanks to a mental phenomenon called motivated reasoning, says sociologist says sociologist Steven Hoffman, visiting assistant professor at the University at Buffalo,"
Begley used the analogy that some people refused to dismiss a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terrorist as why people won't dismiss some of the "myths" about ObamaCare.
[She may have a point; I myself am having trouble dismissing many of the myths - especially those written into the legislation...]
It seems that Nancy Pelosi's promise to clean up the House was misunderstood. She was using that term as slang, meaning that under her, the Democrats would make large profits for themselves.
CBS reports that three of the Democrats on the Ethics panel investigating Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel received campaign contributions from Rangel.
Rangel is being investigated on allegations that he failed to report millions in income on his tax returns and filed incorrect financial disclosure statements. The New York Democrat whose district encompasses the upper parts of Manhattan, has refused to step down. Speaker Pelosi, who promised after the 2006 elections to end the culture of corruption, has not placed any pressure on him to do so.
It appears that Charlie has become an angel of late, bankrolling the campaigns of a great many Democrats colleagues... [snip]
Note that CBS is treating this as a local news story in the New York Market.
Ah, the incredible power of the D after ones name when it comes to suppressing bad news. The Democrat now responsible for writing the nation's tax laws appears to have failed to report millions in income and it is only a local news story.
[Last year Ms. Pelosi promised that this investigation would be concluded by Jan. of this year. "The most ethical Congress in history."]
Seoul -North Korea said on Friday that it was in the final stage of enriching uranium, a process that would give it a second path to making a nuclear weapon.
After a series of conciliatory gestures by the North over the past month, the announcement raises the stakes in efforts by the international community to convince the reclusive state to give up its nuclear weapons programme.
[Imagine that we'd taken out, even partially, their development and/or test centers after one warning to cease and desist. Do you think we'd still be playing these empty word games through the UN and China? And what would be the effect to other rouge regimes considering following the same course?]
Brussels - The threat of an Islamist terror attack is still serious and should not be underestimated, the bloc's anti-terrorism coordinator warned Thursday.
'It would be a mistake to believe that the threat level has decreased significantly,'
Gilles de Kerchove told a public hearing of the Interior and Economic Committee of the EU parliament..
[Terrorism? We have it on high authority that it no longer exists - at least not to an extent that we need war against it. He must be referring to "Man made disasters." ]
The man nominated by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to serve as Iran's defense minister is wanted by Interpol in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, The New York Times reported.
Ahmadinejad last week nominated Ahmad Vahidi to serve in his cabinet. Vahidi is one of five Iranian officials sought by Interpol on charges of "conceiving, planning, financing and executing" the 1994 attack, which killed 85 people and wounded about 300 others.
Vahidi was also the head of the secret Quds Force, an arm of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States for aiding attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
Superior piece in the Wall Street Journal from former Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams on the escalating tension between Israel and the US.
Numerous AT writers and bloggers have been saying much the same thing for months. Every move Obama has made regarding Israel seems to have been designed to show the Arab world that he is putting pressure on our ally. This is not likely to bring about peace any more than coddling the Palestinians will. Obama's policies are wrecking the relationship between Israel and the US and far from gaining any influence, Obama is making America less relevant.
Read the whole piece by Abrams for some excellent history of our relations with Israel.
[Highly Recommended > ] READ MORE
TRIPOLI-Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi blasted Israel at a special African Union summit on Monday on the eve of celebrations to mark his 40-year rule, accusing the Jewish state of causing all the woes facing Africa.
Israel is "behind all of Africa's conflicts,"
Kadhafi told some 30 African leaders gathered under a huge tent at Tripoli airport for the summit focused on the continent's trouble spots, including Sudan's Darfur and Somalia...
[Both of which are under murderous attach by Muslim extremists. Typical.]
image toon intl israel - Gadhafi not MJ impersonator
President Obama's "green jobs" czar could become a mounting liability for the Obama administration, as the latest revelation about Van Jones shows his belief that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks may have been an inside job.
Jones joined the "9/11 truther" movement by signing a statement in 2004 calling for then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and others to launch an investigation into evidence that suggests
"people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war."
The statement asked a series of critical questions hinting at Bush administration involvement in the attacks and called for "deeper inquiry." It was also signed by former Rep. Cynthia McKinney and Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans... [snip]
"You can't nominate all of these czars ... and then say, well, you know, I'm not responsible for all these people," ... "People will start to blame Obama."
[Another extreme appointment.]
We have written often about Mark Lloyd, who has since his July 29 appointment been reveling in the position created just for him, "Chief Diversity Officer" at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
As we have repeatedly stated, Chief Diversity Officer Lloyd is virulently anti-capitalist, almost myopically racially fixated and exuberantly pro-regulation.
In his 2006 book entitled Prologue to a Farce: Communication and Democracy in America, he calls for an all-out "confrontational movement" against private media. He wants leftist activists - through incessant political pressure - and the government - through the creation of a totally untenable operating environment of fees, fines and regulations - to work together to force the commercial broadcasters out, to be replaced by public broadcasters.
And in his tome, Lloyd had this to say about the First Amendment:
"It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.
"[T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance."
Note Lloyd's use of the word "democratic" to describe the "governance" he seeks to promote. It's the same word he uses to describe the work Hugo Chavez is doing in Venezuela.
What Lloyd says about Chavez is more than a mite frightening:
"In Venezuela, with Chavez, is really an incredible revolution - a democratic revolution. To begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela.
"The property owners and the folks who then controlled the media in Venezuela rebelled - worked, frankly, with folks here in the U.S. government - worked to oust him. But he came back with another revolution, and then Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country.
"And we've had complaints about this ever since."
"The property owners and the folks who then controlled (read: OWNED) the media rebelled" in 2002 against Chavez's "incredible...democratic revolution." You bet they did - they were watching Chavez seize their property and nationalize their industries.
And this is where Lloyd gets really dangerous given his new gig: "But he (Chavez) came back with another revolution (in 2006), and then began to take very seriously the media in his country."
Well let's see; what does Lloyd mean by this? How exactly did Chavez "beg(i)n to take very seriously the media in his country" when he "came back with another revolution?"
- NGOs Warn of Restrictions in Pending Venezuela Law
- Associated Press - May 7, 2009
- Prominent Venezuelan nongovernmental organizations warned Thursday that a bill being drafted by lawmakers loyal to President Hugo Chavez could be used to financially strangle groups that criticize the government.
- Chavez clamps down on broadcast media
- Irish Examiner - Friday, July 10, 2009
- President Hugo Chavez's government is imposing tough new regulations on Venezuela's cable television while revoking the licenses of more than 200 radio stations.
- Report: Venezuela's Hugo Chávez aggressively seizing control of media
- Miami Herald - August 14, 2009
- An unclassified report lists examples of Venezuelan government efforts to crack down on or seize control of media outlets to stifle criticism.
This entire censorious evolution - from fines, to license rescissions to outright seizures - took place in just over three months. This is Lloyd's definition of Chavez "tak(ing) very seriously the media in his country," as a part of leading an "incredible..democratic revolution."
Please view the Media Research Center and other like-minded entities here in the U.S. as akin to the "Venezuelan nongovernmental organizations" sounding the alarm about the governmental hammer about to fall on dissenting media - in our case conservative and Christian talk radio. We're the ones who've "had complaints about this" backdoor approach to silence the Right from its very inception.
As we draw closer to its execution, we work to ensure that we too do not suffer a Venezuelan fate.
[Another extreme appointment.]
Today Media Research Center (MRC) president publisher Brent Bozell denounced the Obama administration for its plans to delve into the private sector for the purposes of researching and regulating the national news media.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced plans for a two-day workshop in December to examine the state of the news industry - which could lead to recommendations for legislation to regulate print, television, and even online media on everything from changes in anti-trust land copyright law to media tax breaks. Some of the proposals being pushed by opinion leaders include direct government funding of media outlets, while other ideas like relaxing anti-trust regulations would still need government approval.
Mr. Bozell issued the following statement in response:
To the degree that the government inserts itself in the news media, so too do we lose a similar degree of freedom. Every time a news outlet asks for special treatment from the government, that news outlet is compromised.
The Federal Trade Commission has no authority whatsoever to insert itself in the news media. It is not the business of the government to get involved in the free press, period. The 1st Amendment is clear on that.
These Obama socialists are out of control. One by one they are making power grabs on every facet of American life, but everything pales in comparison to any attempt to control the news media.
That's flat out fascism. Hugo Chavez would be proud.
Mount Vernon to award Glenn Beck key to city
The mayor of Mount Vernon has made it official. Mayor Bud Norris says he will give the key to his city to conservative talk show host Glenn Beck on Sept. 26.
Norris says Beck will deliver a short talk that night and become the first person to receive a key to the city in the six years Norris has been mayor.
Protesters from the Skagit County Young Democrats walked outside city hall Tuesday with protest signs, one reading "Change the locks"...
First Africentric school to open Tuesday
At Toronto's new Africentric alternative school – arguably the most controversial public school in this country – even the food guide they will use starting next week will reflect the Caribbean and African cultures of its 85 black and bi-racial children.
By having black teachers as role models and stretching lessons beyond the traditional European focus to include Africa and the Caribbean and other parts of the world, the board hopes the program will be more relevant to black children who sometimes feel disengaged from mainstream schools. None of the five teachers is white, although several are bi-racial, said the principal, and all are female.
"We've done a fairly good job finding teachers who are representative of the diverse population of our school."
[Last I checked, most kids find it challenging to absorb what's already being taught - so 'stretching beyond' traditional European focus means it will come at the expense of, not in addition to, what's generally considered history.
IThis self-segregation is dangerous. It's extremely harmful for every child they subjected to it, and effectively suicidal for any country hoping to remain A Nation.]
New Poster Reveals the Ugly Face of Racism
Don't be misled. These new posters featuring Barack Obama's face imposed over the likeness of Tinky Winky may appear benign, but they're not.
Their intent is far deeper and insidious: to stir ugly racist thoughts in America's subconscious.
On the surface, the posters don't add anything new to the discussion. Obama has been called a “socialist” before. But, subliminally, the posters draw heavily on stereotypes of the worst kind.
Consider the following evidence...