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Archive for July, 2009

Source: Wall Street Journal

By Jonah Goldberg

This is big, what’s happening. President Obama appears to have misstepped on a major initiative and defining issue. He has misjudged the nation’s mood, which itself is news: He rose from nothing to everything with the help of his fine-tuned antennae. Resistance to the Democratic health-care plans is in the air, showing up more now on YouTube than in the polls, but it will be in the polls soon enough. The president, in short, may be facing a real loss. This will be interesting in a number of ways and for a number of reasons, among them that we’ve never seen him publicly defeated before, because he hasn’t been. So we may be entering new territory, with new struggles shaped by new dynamics.

His news conference the other night was bad. He was filibustery and spinny and gave long and largely unfollowable answers that seemed aimed at limiting the number of questions asked and running out the clock. You don’t do that when you’re fully confident. Far more seriously, he didn’t seem to be telling the truth. We need to create a new national health-care program in order to cut down on government spending? Who would believe that? Would anybody?

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Source: Yahoo! Finance

By Calvin Woodward and Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s assertion Wednesday that government will stay out of health care decisions in an overhauled system is hard to square with the proposals coming out of Congress and with his own rhetoric.

Even now, nearly half the costs of health care in the U.S. are paid for by government at all levels. Federal authority would only grow under any proposal in play.

A look at some of Obama’s claims in his prime-time news conference:

OBAMA: “We already have rough agreement” on some aspects of what a health care overhaul should involve, and one is: “It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it.”

THE FACTS: In House legislation, a commission appointed by the government would determine what is and isn’t covered by insurance plans offered in a new purchasing pool, including a plan sponsored by the government. The bill also holds out the possibility that, over time, those standards could be imposed on all private insurance plans, not just the ones in the pool.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

Everyone supports “health reform” as an abstract goal, but that mile-wide consensus is an inch deep when it comes to substance. Increasingly, however, most of the major health industry lobbies seem prepared to concede the mile — as long they get their inch.

The latest example is the American Medical Association’s unqualified endorsement Thursday of the health bill patched together by House Democrats. In a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, the doctors group lays on its “appreciation and support” pretty thick, and pledges to “work with the House committees and leadership to build support.” The so-called tri-committee plan is also the most left-leaning out there, funding its new coverage for the uninsured in part by cutting payments to doctors and hospitals in Medicare and Medicaid.

But lobbyists don’t lobby for less revenue for their members, and Democrats seem to have procured the AMA’s bouquet with what the AMA letter says is the promise of “fundamental Medicare reforms, including repeal of the sustainable growth rate,” or SGR. The SGR is a formula that Congress created in 1997 as a form of fiscal triage, mandating automatic cuts in physician payments if entitlement spending rises too steeply. Next year, they’re scheduled to drop by 21.5%.

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Source: www.ibdeditorials.com

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Reform: Of the many objectionable provisions in the House’s latest medical insurance bill, none is as destructive or morally offensive as the one that declares health care to be a “right.”

A “right,” as we all know, has one key characteristic: It can’t be taken away. Ever. That’s exactly what the new Democrat-sponsored bill would ensure. As the Associated Press put it, the legislation would “for the first time make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans.”

That second word — “responsibility” — is also key. The government will force you to take part in its plan, whether you want to or not. As it turns out, “responsibility” is code for “tax hikes” and “compulsory participation.”

The House plan calls for a 5.4% surcharge on those earning $1 million or more. But the tax will also reach down to families with incomes of $280,000. “Small businesses” will be excluded, we hear, but only those with payrolls under $400,000. Those with more will have to cover their workers or face a “fee” — another tax — equal to 8% of workers’ wages.

“Why should I care?” you ask. “Those people are all rich.” And, of course, they’re the people “responsible” for your new “right.” But even those at lower or middle incomes will face higher taxes under both the House and Senate bills. Individuals who decline to take part will be hit with a penalty of up to 2.5% of what they earn.

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Source: American Thinker

By Frank S. Rosenbloom, M.D

The health care debate in this country is an old story. It began in 1934 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to include government-funded health care in his “New Deal” as part of his comprehensive Social Security legislation.  President Roosevelt was very concerned that the Supreme Court might rule parts of his “New Deal” unconstitutional.  He tried to induce Congress to approve increasing the total number of justices on the Supreme Court to fifteen, attempting thereby to circumvent the judiciary and the Constitution by stacking the Court in his favor. 

Subsequently, government funded health care has been debated in nearly every session of Congress since 1939.

Many people assume that the establishment of Medicare in 1965 was the result solely of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society legislation.  In fact, the establishment of Medicare was the culmination of decades of efforts by progressive liberals, and was seen as a stepping stone to government funded health care for all.  In fact, some of the tactics the government used to pass Medicare were illegal at the time, employing taxpayer money to lobby for political programs.

 

Today President Obama theorizes that a government “option” will increase competition, lower costs, and provide better medical care for larger numbers of people.  In any scientific endeavor the veracity of a theory is determined by whether it is supported by empirical evidence and predictive of future outcomes.  Therefore, we must examine Obama’s assertions in light of the available evidence.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

The White House made a big show last week about “turning the heat up” on Medicare fraud, as Jane Friday — er, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius put it. The dragnet resulted in 53 indictments in Detroit for a $50 million scheme to submit bills for HIV drugs and physical therapy that were never provided, as well as busting up a Miami ring that used fake storefronts to steal some $100 million. As welcome as this is, the larger issue is what such plots say about President Obama’s plans for a new government-run insurance program.

One of the purported benefits of nationalized health care is that it will be more efficient than private insurers since it would lack the profit motive and have lower administrative expenses, like Medicare. But one reason entitlement programs are so easy to defraud is precisely because they don’t have those overhead costs — they automatically pay whatever bills roll in with valid claims numbers.

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