Podcast of my Beyond the Beltway appearance…

Is right here…

Remember to come back an browse while you listen.

If you listen to the entire podcast, you come to a point where both John McCarron and Mike Condrun (the other guests) challenge me by saying “Single Payer isn’t even on the table.”

Who are they kidding?

Shoving it down our throats…

I don’t know what they are banking on, but the arrogance of the Administration is beginning to reach epic proportions. I hope and pray that their defeat will be just as epic.

ObamaCare at Ramming Speed

“The President’s Proposal,” as the 11-page White House document is headlined, is in one sense a notable achievement: It manages to take the worst of both the House and Senate bills and combine them into something more destructive. It includes more taxes, more subsidies and even less cost control than the Senate bill. And it purports to fix the special-interest favors in the Senate bill not by eliminating them—but by expanding them to everyone.

The bill’s one new inspiration is a powerful federal board that would regulate premiums in the individual insurance market. In all 50 states, insurers are already required to justify premium increases to insurance commissioners, who generally have the power to give a regulatory go-ahead, or not. But their primary concern is actuarial soundness and capital standards, making sure that companies have enough cash to pay claims.

It is almost insane adherence to ideology, and a failed ideology at that. Barring some super-secret plan to rig all the elections anyway – Chavez style – these folks are toasting themselves.

American Left exposes Obama’s “Gruber Scandal”

I’ve often opined that America would work better if the ideologues on both side did their best to expose corruption of their own parties, along with keeping an eye on the opposition.

I would like nothing better to purge my party of corrupt, pension-seeking, contract-awarding thugs, even if it depopulated every “R” seat in the State legislature. Therefore, I applaud my ideological opponents over at Salon.com, Huffington Post and FireDogLake for outing this Health Care Reform scandal.

It’s a bit arcane, and probably not a indictable offense, but it does provide a glimpse into how corrupt the entire legislative process has become, especially for the most important legislation. Health Care Reform and Cap and Trade are two major pieces of legislation that seek to regulate about 80% of our lives (directly or indirectly).

These Bills are being written by Big Union, Big Government, and Big Corporation, where all of them are carving up our freedom. There is plenty of time to debate ideology with our friends on the left, but the honest brokers on both sides of the aisle have ample reason to band together to end the cancerous high level corruption of the 3 big collectives above.

Gruber Scandal 1

Gruber Scandal 2

Gruber Scandal 3

Good song, bad video, but very funny

Best News Yet for Republicans

Obama pledges campaign for health-care bill and Democrats

With unemployment hovering in the double digits and House Democrats eager to move on to the politically crucial task of job creation, President Obama pledged Thursday to publicly champion the health-care legislation that in the past year has consumed much of their attention and often made them targets.

Yes, by all means, let’s move to Job Creation right after passing a job-destroying bill.

You GO! Barack. Campaign for your Democrats. Please.

Bending the Cost Curve Down

The graph below shows just how dumb you were to allow your employer to pay your health care.

The High Cost of No Price

A simple chart will help you understand why healthcare spending has gone out of control.

Economists have shown that if a good’s price is zero or decreasing, then the demand for this good will likely increase. In 2008, consumers were only directly responsible for 11.9 percent of total national healthcare expenditures, down from 43 percent in 1965, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This means that someone other than consumers pays roughly 88 percent of all healthcare costs, giving consumers little incentive to mind costs and much incentive to over-consume.

The graph below shows out-of-pocket payments by consumers and spending by Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurers on healthcare from 1965 to 2008. Since the passage of Medicare in 1965, consumers’ out-of pocket spending on healthcare has decreased steadily as a percentage of overall U.S. healthcare spending. While real and nominal out-of-pocket healthcare payments increased over the period, growth in these costs was dwarfed by a much more rapid growth in overall spending. On average, consumers’ out-of pocket healthcare costs increased 6.7 percent each year, while national healthcare expenditures increased by an average 9.8 percent each year.

It’s like the old joke from the 70s. If you think health care is expensive now, wait til it’s free! DOH!!

Cadillacs are lousy cars anyway…

I’m enjoying the irony of Barack Obama potentially enacting a law that hurt 10s of 1000s of one of his biggest constituencies – Big Labor.

If you come to this site often, you know that I despise both 3rd payer, and single payer health care as unworkable schemes that end – badly – with some bureaucrat (government or corporate) rationing your health care. That is why there is no intellectually sound argument against a) getting rid of employer paid health care, and b) providing large tax subsidies for the individualization of health care.

You can debate various details, but any argument against that model is simply wrong.

This brings me to the lamentation of the unions (and you know how I like to hear unions lament). They are lamenting the taxation of so-called “Cadillac Plans.” For those of you who don’t know what that means, it stands for the benefit-rich health insurance plans that large institution buy for either their pampered corporate employees, or the union workers who have the clout to negotiate for them.

Let’s start with this.

Cadillac Plans are bad. OK? They lead to massive over-utilization, and thus can never be priced high enough to actually cover their costs. Therefore, while I would hope that ObamaCare never passes in any form, the idea that a Democratic Congress and President are about to pass an awful, majority-ending, bill that taxes Caddies out of existence is a silver lining in this otherwise big, stinky cloud.

Labor angry over Obama-backed insurance tax

A Monday evening meeting at the White House between Obama and about a dozen heads of the country’s biggest labor unions capped a day when two union leaders fired broadsides at Obama and Senate Democrats over their plans to pay for overhauling the nation’s health care system with a tax union leaders fear could hurt their workers.

The 40 percent tax would fall on employer health plans worth more than $8,500 for an individual or $23,000 for a family. Although Obama terms them “Cadillac” plans, union leaders say numerous working-class Americans who’ve negotiated good benefits in exchange for lesser pay would be hurt.

The president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, warned that Democrats risk catastrophic election defeats similar to 1994 if they fail to come up with a health bill labor likes.

“A bad bill could have that kind of effect — a place where people sit at home” — as happened in 1994, when Democrats lost 54 House seats and eight in the Senate, costing them control of Congress, Trumka told reporters.

The ultimate irony is that Obama won a few battleground states running against McCain’s plan to tax Cadillac Plans to pay for individual subsidies. Here is the unvarnished truth, everyone. If you don’t take the responsibility for managing your own health care, you deserve to be swatted around by a bureaucrat. The problem is that I don’t deserve to suffer because of your intellectual abdication over your own life.

Grow UP! Ration your own health care.

Obama’s Lie

When Obama stated (on national television) that he is against “Single Payer” health care, he was lying. There are plenty of You Tube Videos to prove that.

He also campaigned on making sure “you won’t lose the insurance you have.” He lied about that too. There never was a way to achieve any of his goals without destroying the private health insurance market.

You Will Lose Your Private Health Insurance

So let’s get straight what the real essentials of the bill are-and how disastrous they are. Three provisions constitute the vicious heart of the Democrats’ health-care overhaul.

The first is “guaranteed issue” and “community rating.” This is the requirement that insurance companies have to offer coverage to people who are already sick, and that they be limited in their ability to charge higher rates for customer who pose a higher risk. The extra expense to the insurance companies of covering people with pre-existing conditions will get passed on to existing customers in the form of higher premiums. But why spend years paying these inflated premiums for insurance you’re not using, when you can get exactly the same benefits by waiting until you actually fall ill? The obvious result is that million of people, especially healthy young people, will quickly realize that there is no reason to buy health insurance until they get sick.

Following the usual pattern of government intervention, the health-care bill offers another intervention as the solution for the problem created by the first. The “individual mandate” requires everyone to buy health insurance and subjects us to a tax if we fail to do so. But this is an especially onerous new tax, the first tax not tied to any kind of income or activity. It’s not a tax on stock-market profits, say, or a tax on buying cigarettes. It’s just a tax for existing.

So fearing a public backlash, Congress didn’t have the guts to make this new tax very large-only $750. Yet actual insurance can cost more than $3,000 per year-and as we shall see, this legislation goes out of its way to drive up those rates by mandating more lavish coverage. So we end up getting the worst of both worlds. This provision won’t actually drive anyone to buy health insurance and prop up the risk pools for those who are insured. All it will accomplish is to create a brand new form of tax.

But the biggest power-grab in the bill is the government takeover of the entire market for health insurance. The bill requires all new policies to be sold on a government-controlled exchange run by a commissioner who is empowered to dictate what kinds of insurance policies can be offered, what they must cover, and what they can charge.

Right now, your best option for reducing the cost of your health insurance is to buy a policy with a high deductible, which leaves you to pay for routine checkups and minor injuries (preferably from savings held in a tax-free Health Savings Account) but which covers your needs in catastrophic circumstances-a bad car accident, say, or expensive treatment for cancer. This is the kind of coverage I have.

But the health-insurance exchange is intended to eliminate precisely this kind of low-cost catastrophic coverage. Its purpose is to force health-insurance companies to offer comprehensive coverage that pays for all of your routine bills-which in turn comes at a higher price. So under the guise of making health insurance more affordable, this bill will restrict your menu of choices to include only the most expensive options.

So there we have the real essence of this bill. It restricts our choice of which insurance to buy and pushes us into more expensive plans. At the same time, it destroys the economic incentive to purchase insurance in the first place and replaces insurance with a free-floating tax on one’s very existence.

What these people are doing is evil. Not wrong, but evil.

If you are looking for a strategy to stop this bill, forget calling your senator, and focus instead on funding opponents of Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, Dorgan, and Bayh (and/or any other so-called moderate). Once you’ve made a donation, call their office and tell them you will donate even more if they pass this bill.

It is my most fervent hope that someone in the Republican Party is working on a strategy to a) stop this, and b) base an entire campaign strategy not on its repeal, but its “improvement” under a new president and Congress in 2010 and then 2012. Running on “Repeal” will rally Republicans, but running on its “Improvement” will allow the party to make the case that they can get the issue right. We have to produce the proper alternative.

If the Democrats are stupid enough to pass such a destructive and evil bill, it is the responsibility of the Republican party to convince the electorate to punish them severely. This is a vile bill, and I hope you all work to stop it by virtually any means you can.

Framing the Health Care Debate in Republican’s Favor

Today’s lesson in Framing is brought to you by the word “Rationing” and the number “3″.

Here is how it works. There is no reducing health care costs in America with out rationing. It’s just that simple. Observe.

Rationing, the Unspeakable, But Honest Solution

The honest solution is a word that cannot be spoken: rationing. Our system already rations health care based on the individual’s ability to pay. Insurance companies ration some tests and procedures based on age, risk factors and what often seems like whim. This ad hoc rationing doesn’t work very well, and nothing in any of the reform bills even tries to address the basic consensus that makes spending continue to rise: Put a lid on everybody else’s costs, but don’t touch mine.

The writer is 100% correct on “rationing.” In a rich nation where either the government or the insurance company pays for care, the main driver of costs is going to be our massive overutilization of health care. We all want PSAs, mammograms, not to mention the massive over use of testing driven by law suits and defensive medicine.

No rationing, no savings.

So here is how Republicans can frame the debate, and steal this issue from the Democrats.

Here is the simple question to be asked by every Republican at every town hall meeting.

“Who do you want rationing your health care? The Government, the insurance company, or you? Wouldn’t you rather be the one in control of rationing your own care? That’s our plan, and we’ll start you off with a $4,000 tax credit to do so.”

America over-utilizes health care. Each of us are better suited to control that utilization than any bureaucracy, be it Government or Private.

For every health care sob story…

…There is one of these


Health Reform’s Moral Hazard

For years Dr. Linda Halderman operated a general surgery practice in California’s San Joaquin Valley, where she treated patients ranging from those with serious, life-threatening conditions to those seeking elective, cosmetic treatments. In a recent piece in Investors Business Daily, Halderman recounted the story of a woman patient who had not had a mammogram in several years even though her family had a long history of breast cancer. “But I don’t have insurance,” the woman told Halderman when the doctor asked why she had neglected to get a test that costs $90. Yet the woman was in Halderman’s office for $400 Botox treatments that she was paying for.

In her piece Halderman recounted stories of patients who were enrolled in Medi-Cal, the state subsidized health plan for the poor in California, but paid upwards of $1,000 in cash out of their own pockets for laser hair removal procedures, and patients who sat in her waiting room entertaining themselves with expensive IPods and mini- DVD players yet balked at $5 insurance co-pays. She described patients who “considered health care a lower budget priority than decorated skin and expensive toys.” Other doctors who commented on her piece online told similar stories.

This is the awful perversity of having 3rd Payer/work-based systems. People become morally lazy and intellectually stupid, and we are supposed to pay for it.

Here is a idea…how about you suffer for the lack of your interest in your own life, you idiot!

It makes me a little angry that conservatives are forced to take the rap (sometimes deservedly so) for being hard-hearted, when vast numbers of American citizens clamor for “free health care” they are to “soft-brained” to avail themselves of.

I do not wish ill will on anyone, but for a person who spends $400 to inject poisons into their face based upon their vanity while forgoing a $90 mammogram, I can only say this. I pray for your deliverance from your own stupidity.

OTOH, if you end up dying of breast cancer, a pox on your soul if you (or any other liberal weenie) blames America, George Bush, Republicans, or corporate greed for your idiocy.

Now, nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed by a Quinnipiac poll say it is government’s responsibility to ensure that everyone has “adequate health-care.” But does providing $90 mammograms to an uninsured person who would rather spend $400 on Botox treatments amount to a responsibility of government?

This is what you deserve if you believe that a government or a corporation should be responsible for your health care. You have a Constitutional right to be stupid, but you have no moral right to make me pay for it. I don’t have a problem paying a tax here and there to provide access to health care for my less fortunate fellow citizens.

But for the 66% of you who think you deserve it!!! You can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. You deserve nothing from me. You ought to consider it a gift from people who are smarter than you.

This is what getting rich (as a nation) gets you. An un-warranted sense of entitlement.