Archive for the Health Care Category

When a Shutdown’s Not a Shutdown.

Posted in Conservatism, Economy, Environment, Health Care, Media, Politics with tags , , on October 8, 2013 by Cannon

Mark Steyn brilliantly puts the government shutdown crisis in perspective.  To wit:

This week’s “shutdown” of government, for example, suffers (at least for those of us curious to see it reduced to Somali levels) from the awkward fact that the overwhelming majority of the government is not shut down at all. Indeed, much of it cannot be shut down. Which is the real problem facing America. “Mandatory spending” (Social Security, Medicare, et al.) is authorized in perpetuity — or, at any rate, until total societal collapse. If you throw in the interest payments on the debt, that means two-thirds of the federal budget is beyond the control of Congress’s so-called federal budget process. That’s why you’re reading government “shutdown” stories about the PandaCam at the Washington Zoo and the First Lady’s ghost-Tweeters being furloughed.

Nevertheless, just because it’s a phony crisis doesn’t mean it can’t be made even phonier. The perfect symbol of the shutdown-simulacrum so far has been the World War II Memorial. This is an open-air facility on the National Mall — that’s to say, an area of grass with a monument at the center. By comparison with, say, the IRS, the National Parks Service is not usually one of the more controversial government agencies. But, come “shutdown,” they’re reborn as the shock troops of the punitive bureaucracy. Thus, they decided to close down an unfenced open-air site — which oddly enough requires more personnel to shut than it would to keep it open.

When the Democrats had control of both the House and Senate. as well as the White House, they pushed through the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.  No Republican voted for Obamacare.  If Obamacare were to come before lawmakers today, it certainly would not pass.  Yet, all we hear from supporters of the act is that it is established law, and debate should cease.  It sounds a lot like global warming (a.k.a. climate change).  Carbon’s destroying the environment.  It’s settled science, so shut up.

Do you get the feeling that we’re living in a time where molding perception is far, far more common that facing reality?  The federal government is running record deficits, piling up record debt.  Current entitlements are set to go broke in the years to come.  Just north of 63% of adults are participants in the labor force.  That’s the lowest rate since 1978.  However, we have to enact another huge entitlement we can’t afford because it’s “established law.”  Really?  That’s your best argument?  Obama’s unilaterally handed out exemptions even after the law was “established.”

Democrats are depending on most Americans being ignorant of what’s really going on.  They shutdown elements of the government which are easily highlighted in the media.  Hopefully, turning veterans and other citizens away from “an area of grass with a monument in the center” won’t just reflect negatively on Republicans.  It should reflect negatively on us all.  Some of us are being manipulated while others are willing perpetuators of a narrative that favors bolstering future political support through government programs over solving a fiscal dilemma that will certainly cause massive amounts of pain in the near future.

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Obamacare, Government Shutdowns, and Republican Disunity

Posted in Conservatism, Economy, Health Care, Politics with tags , , , , , , on October 5, 2013 by Cannon

So, you can’t get signed up for Obamacare.  It’s probably not President Obama’s fault.  It’s just like when Apple has some teething issues with one of its products.  It’s not the Congressional Democrats who are to blame.  They just want to fund government although they blow up every attempt to fund certain elements because Republicans won’t cave to funding Obamacare.  It’s not like Congress has been diligent in passing budgets over the last few years.  Now, the government is somewhat shutdown.  No doubt, numerous people are being affected.  Many Republicans preach that Republicans will ultimately pay the price for the shutdown.

I’m inclined to believe that the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, is a stepping stone to a system that’s totally government controlled, devoid of any quasi-market aspects.  If people can’t get signed up due to wacky websites  and employers continue to respond to incentives and direct employees into the government exchanges, there will be a push for government to step in and just give everybody health insurance.  It’s a scary thought, I know.

John McCain doesn’t like Ted Cruz, the opportunist.  Kim Strassel and Brit Hume don’t believe in Cruz and his followers, either.  Sure, Cruz is gaining contributions from like-minded parties and raising his political profile.  I’m all for people on Capitol Hill taking a stand against another debt fueling entitlement.  The current Republican leaders haven’t done all that much in the way of winning elections and holding Democrats’ accountable.  I know Hume has 115 years of experience in Washington alongside Mitch McConnell, McCain et al.  Here, we have the problem.  A good portion of America doesn’t believe in the “conservative” contingent that’s been entrenched in Washington for what seems like an eternity.  Next time you conservatives of the Potomac want to give the rest of right-wing America advice on winning in D.C., you could do it with a little more humility and little less quoting of old saws.  These are fiscally tenuous times for the United States.  It’s important that we make every effort to distinguish ourselves from those who support a semi-socialist paradigm, the same paradigm which has put European countries on a downward economic trajectory.

Demonizing Republicans and Tea Partiers

Posted in Health Care, Media, Politics with tags , , , , , on March 25, 2010 by Cannon

Most media outlets (and I use that term loosely) have been less than subtle in trashing the tea party movement ever since they identified it as a threat to their collective left-wing agenda.  Since the passing of ObamaCare, that effort has only intensified.  However, with Republicans working to integrate much of the tea party element into their own base of support, these outlets are also doing their best to make the GOP look like those “crazies” whom they associate with the tea partiers.  We’re talking about the minuscule outer fringe.  Timothy Egan of the New York Times (surprise, surprise) illustrates my point by engaging in this rather trite exercise:

From the leader of the opposition, at least, was expected a level of decorum. But instead, Rep. John Boehner, the Republican who wants to be the next speaker of the House, predicted “Armageddon,” and shouted “Hell, no!,” his perma-tan turning crimson in rage.

Most of these vignettes are isolated incidents — a few crazies going off in a vein-popping binge. But the Republican Party now has taken some of the worst elements of Tea Party anger and incorporated them into its own identity. They are ticked off, red-faced, frothing — and these are the men in suits.

Having welcomed Tea Party rage into their home, and vowing repeal, the Republicans have made a dangerous bargain. First, they are tying their fate to a fringe, one that includes a small faction of overt racists and unstable people. The Quinnipiac poll this week found only 13 percent of Americans say they are part of the Tea Party movement.

I suppose Egan should get some credit for acknowledging that the most distasteful of his examples are “isolated incidents.”  Like his characterization of John Boehner’s speech, the Times writer’s assessment of the GOP opposition is completely off the mark.  While Egan sees Republican opposition as a hurdle in front of the liberal quest for better health care through the strong arm of the federal government, much of the country sees that quest for what it is:  a fantasy.  More specifically, it will cost trillions of taxpayer dollars, further empower the federal government and likely damage the positive aspects of the current health care marketplace.

WSJ.com’s James Taranto takes on a supposed examination of the right-wing fringe contingent that’s taking over the Republican Party:

“Scary New GOP Poll,” reads the headline at The Daily Beast. In the article, “Wingnuts” author John Avlon declares that “Obama Derangement Syndrome–pathological hatred of the president posing as patriotism–has infected the Republican Party.” The poll, he claims, “demonstrates the cost of the campaign of fear and hate that has been pumped up in the service of hyper-partisanship over the past 15 months. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing the United States in the process.”

There’s another methodological problem, which points to the nexus between the science and the art of polling. The survey includes only people who actually answer the crazy questions asked. So if your reaction to the guy on the street at the top of this column was to step up your pace and get away from him (which corresponds to saying “this is nuts” and closing your browser window), your opinion would not affect the outcome–but if you happen to be a Republican, Harris’s methodology imputes to you a likelihood of holding crazy views.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the survey was designed to make Republicans, and only Republicans, look unhinged. The press release states: “The very large numbers of people who believe all these things of President Obama help to explain the size and strength of the Tea Party Movement.” This presupposes that the tea-party movement centers on crazy beliefs about Obama, a view that the poll provides no evidence to support.

For balance, such a poll might have included a series of crazy statements about polarizing Republican figures like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin. This would at least give some indication of whether Republicans have a greater propensity than Democrats to believe “scary” things.

For better or worse, there will always be people at each end of the political continuum with over-the-top views on certain matters.  What I see in the conflation of the right-wing fringe with the core of the GOP and, really, most who oppose ObamaCare, is an effort to discredit the legitimate arguments against a vast government intrusion by slandering those who are putting forth said arguments.  I mean, that’s a whole lot easier than actually debating the opposition directly, especially if one doesn’t have an answer for their opponents.  This entire left-wing slander initiative should be filed under “if you say it enough, most voters may believe it to be true.”

Sticking With the Paul Ryan/Health Care Theme

Posted in Economy, Health Care, Politics with tags , , , , on March 22, 2010 by Cannon

Here are some new comments from Congressman Ryan via National Review Online:

“We need to establish a set of metrics and benchmarks to measure the sector going forward, keeping a close eye on all of the Democrats’ claims,” Ryan says. “From cost to quality, we will need to be vigilant in making sure that their assertions are actually substantiated with facts, and I have every reason to believe they won’t be.” Repealing Obamacare should be the goal, he says, “but with the political plurality you need to do that — a new president, 60 senators, and a majority in the House — that is a pretty tall order.”

“Our offense will be hammering them for wrecking the health-care system, their demonization of the insurance companies, and their push for government control. That is the future fight,” Ryan predicts. “They’ve got a president here until 2013 and the votes in the Senate to support this for a few years, but it’s not over. As we work to repeal, we must recognize that we’re fighting a different and distorted progressivism. They want to hook people up to entitlements and delegate more power to unelected bureaucrats and technocrats to micromanage the economy — a government full of Peter Orzags. Yet their fatal conceit is also a rational gamble to establish a new culture of dependency.”

Obviously, I’m on board with all of this.  I’m happy to see that Ryan and I are on the same page, but that’s really no surprise.  It’s just the same old thing out of the “progressives.”  Ironically, progress isn’t part of their plan.  It’s important that all those who cringe at these types of government power grabs stay in the game, and prove, in the end, that this is not the course our great country should take.  There are ways to achieve real progress without an oppressive federal government actively involved in making personal decisions for its citizens.  Another state-sponsored Ponzi scheme will fail to yield the results which Democrats claim.  It’s now time to prove that this unfortunate piece of legislation was, in fact, a mistake.  Though many types of manipulation were utilized to sugarcoat Obamacare for the public, the truth is all that will be needed to bring it down.

Progressives’ Love for Old Fashioned Entitlements

Posted in Conservatism, Economy, Health Care, Politics with tags , , , , , on March 21, 2010 by Cannon

It’s odd that leftists call themselves “progressives” while they continue to utilize the oldest tricks in the book in hopes of capturing constituents.  Way back in the 1930’s, FDR used Social Security as a payoff of sorts for voters.  Lyndon Johnson continued in the 1960’s with Medicare and Medicaid.  Now we have Obama, Pelosi and company bringing us this massively expensive health care bill.  Just another stab at utopia.  It’s another entitlement we’ll have all kinds of hell getting out from under once it’s proven that we can’t cure all our ills with the magic wand of the federal government.  I have no doubt this is the conclusion that most reasonable people will draw at some point in time.

You can give people health insurance or make them purchase it or whatever.  You can tax “the wealthiest among us” under the guise of helping those who are less fortunate.  However, you cannot improve actual health care by providing insurance.  It’s not the same thing, but, then again, this isn’t about saving people or improving the lives of American people.  This is more about a desire to shape the country into one where the educated elite decide what’s best for everyone.  One might call it a power grab.  Underestimating the intelligence of the general public is a mistake that leftists continually make.  The country is swinging back to the right.  My only hope is that we can undo some of the damage created by these misguided attempts at central planning.  Sadly, its this type of damage that conservatives have failed to remedy, and many times have contributed to, in the past.

There’s nothing “progressive” about nationalized health care.  It’s from an old old playbook.  One that should be burned and forgotten.

Paul Ryan’s Health Care Alternative

Posted in Health Care, Politics with tags , , , on March 21, 2010 by Cannon

One of the rallying cries utilized by the Democrats has been that the Republican Party in is “the party of no.”  Certainly, this is correct when discussing the ruling party’s current health care plan.  But to say that Republican’s have offered no alternatives is factually incorrect.  Paul Ryan has worked, over the course of several years, on an alternative.  A short summary is available here.  There are links to more health care information at Ryan’s site.  I’ve become a fan of Ryan’s.  I intend to read more of the congressman’s work.

Though it looks like the Democrats are going to get the current bill through the House (Bart Stupak and others jumping on board as I write), they can’t sincerely say that it’s the only plan.  Democrats still have more to do to transform the bill to law.  We’ll see what happens.  Paul Ryan’s plan is solid and easily understood.  The addition of many moving parts isn’t necessarily a positive.  If you’ve seen Ryan in action, his tight grasp of the issues, especially ones concerning the budget, is obvious.  He’s the guy that Democrats don’t want to debate.

My opinion is that the Democrat plan is a huge mistake fiscally, and it will likely damage what works in our current health care system.  Despite what some liberal “strategists” are saying, the party looks to be in big trouble come election time.  It’s difficult to get the bulk of the American public to agree on much of anything, but Democrats have achieved public consensus in terms of health care.  The public’s disdain for their health care reform is quite apparent.

The Obama-Fox Health Care Collision

Posted in Health Care, Media, Politics with tags , , , , on March 20, 2010 by Cannon

I’m not referring to the former Mexican president, Vicente Fox.  Earlier this week, Bret Baier of Fox News interviewed President Obama.  The topic of conversation, of course, was health care.  What else is there, right?  I’ll start by addressing Geraldo Rivera and others who feel that Baier failed to show the president the proper amount of respect.  If you watch the interview, you’ll see Baier pitch short, to the point questions followed by Obama unleashing long, vague explanations about the virtues of his reform.  On several occasions Baier interrupted the president’s filibuster attempt with hopes of steering Obama back to the question at hand.  That’s what I saw, anyway.  I suppose some are of the opinion that the president should not be interrupted at all costs, and that’s fine.  I just don’t know what the point of an interview is if that rule must be followed.  As Dana Perino – a person vehemently despised by much of the left-wing echo chamber – suggested, the administration should have scheduled a press conference during the hour of Baier’s show.  The Fox audience would have been reached, and the president would have largely avoided difficult questions.

The more important, and unsurprising, conclusion that one can draw from the interview is that Obama isn’t going to get into any specifics about how this health care reform thing is going to achieve its stated goals.  It’s supposed to save money by extracting inefficiencies from the current system.  Amazingly, the federal government hasn’t been able to perform this magic on the postal service, Medicare, Social Security or the plethora of other endeavors ventured into by politicians.  It’s unbelievable that Democrats can tout this selling point with a straight face; it’s so absurd.

But wait, people currently suffering without insurance will have insurance.  The reason why many don’t have insurance is that it’s cost prohibitive.  The president can’t wave a magic wand and make health coverage cheaper while simultaneously increasing the quantity of care.  Someone must pay in some form or fashion.  There have to be people profiting by directly providing care (think doctors and nurses), and there also have to be bodies providing financial backing (think consumers via insurance companies and/or the federal government).  It would seem that the sensible thing to do would be to streamline the system, making it easier for patients to obtain care while cultivating a system that’s attractive for providers.  The Democrats’ answer is to squeeze insurance companies and empower the helping hand of big government to take from some to provide for others.  Despite what proponents of the current plan(s) state, adoption of a bill resembling what’s passed the Senate will lead to both more deficit spending and a permanent drag on the private sector due to the government trying to recoup expenses through taxes of all kinds.  With no natural rationing device like price, the government will have to find a way to ration services unless more health care professionals can be produced to meet the needs of all the new customers.

You just know that there has to be all kinds of taxes, fees, dictates, etc. in what’s probably several thousand pages of political gibberish.  It’s kind of like a credit card application.  There are likely some draconian fees in there if you can just find them.  It does appear that Democrats aren’t going to use the “Slaughter rule.”  The use of the aptly named procedural tactic would be the perfect topping on already unseemly cake.