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Archive for June, 2009

Source: Coloradoan.com

David L. May • davidmay@fcchamber.org

The situation was very funny. Well, except for the blood.

The man (now forever known as Ed the Hothead) had just sliced another ball, the third of the round. It flew off the 11th tee to land who knows where. Thrice scorned by the Gods of Golf, Ed was monumentally ticked off. With an inarticulate roar, he pirouetted on his left foot and threw his driver at the golf cart, unleashing the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Smacking into the cart with a resounding thwack, the club broke into two pieces. The head skittered off across the grass, while the headless shaft was reborn as a javelin. Powered by Ed’s indignant treatment, it reversed course and sliced a bloody furrow in the Mighty Heaver’s brow.

Mercurial Ed gasped, slapped a hand to his mangled head and saw that golf had further wronged him. He went volcanically berserk. Every club in his bag became a tool for remodeling the cart, plowing up the tee box and ornamenting the course. Then his empty golf bag became a cylindrical tumbleweed hopping end for end down the fairway.

In the end, it was an impressive toll – four broken clubs, $758 in damage to the cart, a $250 fine from the club, 15 stitches, a ruined day and three friends who start their favorite story with “Do you remember the day Ed killed the golf cart?” Worst of all, Calmed Down Ed was forever regretful.

Unintended consequences, indeed. An imperfect game of golf became a memorable disaster.

I know some Eds who are taking up their clubs in righteous indignation to redecorate the American health-care system. Feeling betrayed and frustrated by health care, they are pummeling it vigorously about the head and shoulders. The unintended consequences will be to destroy arguably one of the best health-care systems in the world.

The “nationalized health-care” reform proposals now being floated in Congress would diminish access and quality of health-care services for 95 percent of Americans for the sake of providing coverage for the other 5 percent. Adding insult to injury, it would cost you and me $1.6 trillion (trillion!) over the next decade. (For more information that debunks the top myths about health care, visit the Pacific Research Institute’s Health Care Web site at health.pacificresearch.org/).

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Source: Wall Street Journal

In a desperate scramble to pay for the soaring costs of President Obama’s health care plan, the Senate Finance Committee is contemplating taxing for the first time the health insurance benefits workers get from their employers. One approach would tax the benefits only of workers earning over $100,000. An alternate proposal would tax the value of health care benefits that exceed a cap.

But the taxes wouldn’t be applied equally. Union members serving under collective bargaining agreements would be exempt, even though they often have the richest and most extensive packages of benefits. Union officials have told Democratic leaders of Congress that because collective bargaining agreements can last several years, they should be exempt from any tax because contracts can’t be changed quickly enough to avoid it.

The real reason, of course, is that unions have political clout and are exercising it. The exemption is “a means of making sure that unions are foursquare behind any reform bill that comes out,” Henry Aaron, a Brookings Institution scholar, told the Washington Examiner.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

By DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. and LEE A. CASEY

Is a government-dominated health-care system unconstitutional? A strong case can be made for that proposition, based on the same “right to privacy” that underlies such landmark Supreme Court decisions as Roe v. Wade.

The details of this year’s health-care reform bill are still being hammered out. But the end result is sure to be byzantine in complexity. Washington will have immense say over how, when and through whom Americans are treated. Moreover, despite the administration’s public pronouncements about painless cuts in wasteful spending, only the most credulous believe that some form of government-directed health-care rationing can be avoided as a means of controlling costs.

The Supreme Court created the right to privacy in the 1960s and used it to strike down a series of state and federal regulations of personal (mostly sexual) conduct. This line of cases began with Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 (involving marital birth control), and includes the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

The court’s underlying rationale was not abortion-specific. Rather, the justices posited a constitutionally mandated zone of personal privacy that must remain free of government regulation, except in the most exceptional circumstances. As the court explained in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), “these matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and the mystery of human life.”

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Source: AmericanThinker.com

By Randy Fardal

The Obama media seem to be wringing their hands over the possibility that President Obama’s attempt to nationalize America’s healthcare could go down in flames, despite ABC’s upcoming White House telethon.  Politico reluctantly acknowledged that a trillion dollars does seem like an awfully large number to most voters:
 
That is why Democrats admit that it was a public relations disaster this week when the Congressional Budget Office issued a report this week concluding, from a partial draft of a Senate health committee bill, that the plan would cost $1 trillion over 10 years but only provide coverage for 16 million of the estimated 50 million Americans who are uninsured.
 
The Washington Post reported that the CBO cost estimate for another draft version of the bill is $1.6 trillion.  In the same story, Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) was quoted as saying the price tag easily could reach $2 trillion.  For sake of argument, let’s assume the middle estimate of $1.6T is valid and it would cover 16 million Americans.
 
 
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By: Dale Hurd

There had never been as much political momentum to fix America’s healthcare system.  I use “had” because the wheels have already begun to come off the healthcare reform express that rolled into Washington so confidently. The remedy put forward by the White House and top democrats– an expensive big government solution– scares even members of their own party.

So, after all the sound and fury from Obama about how we have no choice but to fix our healthcare system, I’m betting this effort ends as past efforts, with a whimper.

There’s no question that our healthcare system needs fixing, but how? We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world, some 47 million do not have coverage, and quality of care is uneven. And most of us know of someone who has been financially ruined or taken to the brink by high healthcare costs.

Yet the United States still provides the highest-quality health care in the world. 18 of the last 25 winners of the Nobel Prize in medicine either are U.S. citizens or work here. With no price controls, free-market U.S. medicine provides the incentives that lead to innovation breakthroughs in new drugs and other medical technologies.

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Gird yourself up, doctors. Prepare to join Oil, Pharma, Insurance, Finance, and Automotive as the next group of terrible villains who are victimizing the American people. Prepare for the hue and cry of the media against you and your ‘greed’. Prepare to watch as your motives are purposefully distorted. Prepare to be accused of actually wanting to deny those who are sick and harm those who are well.  Steel yourself for pictures of ill children and elderly accompanied by commentary from reporters about how broken the American system.  Do not be surprised or alarmed but most of all DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED.

There are a lot of reasons to oppose a system that concentrates control in the hands of bureaucrats- too numerous to review in this column.  I will talk about the one reason that the media and politicians will talk about though- GREED.  Doctors will be accused of greed- just wanting to make money.  Sure, there are some greedy doctors out there just as there are greedy cab drivers, professional athletes, waitresses, and accountants.  There are even greedy politicians- greedy for power and influence and the spoils that come therefrom.  So do not allow yourself to be so easily characterized.

Three things about medicine make it a relatively highly paid field: First, it is a high value-added product and as such is more expensive than low value-added products; second, there is a huge investment involved in becoming a physician both in terms of time (7-12 years after college) and money.  Large investments require a higher rate of return to justify them and attract participants; third, the pool of people who are capable of doing the job and actually want to do the job is small.  One of the reasons the profession is able to attract capable people is the prospect of higher earnings in the future.

Do not be made to feel guilty about making good money, doctors- the product is valuable, the job is hard and the investment is large.

But do not forget, doctors, that this debate is about more than money- it is about FREEDOM.  In particular, it is about the patients and their freedom.   The freedom to own and live their lives without the all-invasive oversight and influence of government.  A government that claims to be doing things for them but in actuality is doing things to justify its own existence.

Let me say this to the Patients, though- do not fall for the usual political gimmick- divide and conquer.  Do not allow yourself to be driven by envy and class warfare- they rot your souls and make you pawns in the hands of a demagogue.  You are smarter and better than that.  In your heart you should rejoice that America is the sort of place in which people can work hard and enjoy the legitimate fruits of their labors in free exchange with others.  For in such a place, the sky is the limit for you and your children.

Get ready, doctors, this battle is not for the faint of heart…

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Source: Wall Street Journal

By STEVEN A. BURD

Effective health-care reform must meet two objectives: 1) It must secure coverage for all Americans, and 2) it must dramatically lower the cost of health care. Health-care spending has outpaced the rise in all other consumer spending by nearly a factor of three since 1980, increasing to 18% of GDP in 2009 from 9% of GDP. This disturbing trend will not change regardless of who pays these costs — government or the private sector — unless we can find a way to improve the health of our citizens. Failure to do so will make American companies less competitive in the global marketplace, increase taxes, and undermine our economy.

At Safeway we believe that well-designed health-care reform, utilizing market-based solutions, can ultimately reduce our nation’s health-care bill by 40%. The key to achieving these savings is health-care plans that reward healthy behavior. As a self-insured employer, Safeway designed just such a plan in 2005 and has made continuous improvements each year. The results have been remarkable. During this four-year period, we have kept our per capita health-care costs flat (that includes both the employee and the employer portion), while most American companies’ costs have increased 38% over the same four years.

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