Posts Tagged ‘tort reform’

Another Reason To Love Rick Perry: Because Ambulance-Chasers Loathe Him

August 23, 2011

There’s that old but oh-so-true joke:

Question: What would you call a million lawyers on the bottom of the ocean?

Answer: A good start.

Lawyers routinely are in the hall of shame as one of the most distrusted professionals in America.

America is still the unrivaled leader of the world … in lawsuits.  We are the most litigious society on the face of the earth.  And every single item you buy you pay more for because of lawsuits.  Especially your healthcare, for what it’s worth.

Trial lawyers are like cockroaches, only you can (at least you can still) crush cockroaches without getting sued.

The only time trial lawyers aren’t slime is when they’re protecting you from another trial lawyer.  And of course even the trial lawyer on your side ends up raping you.

Trial lawyers really hate Rick Perry.  Which means he’s got to be a pretty good candidate.

Politico: Trial Lawyers Prep for War on Perry

Trial lawyers really don’t like Rick Perry, and one whose name should be familiar to PJ readers is gearing up to go after Perry as he runs for president:

Democratic Houston trial lawyer Steve Mostyn — who, along with his wife, Amber, donated nearly $9 million to Texas candidates and party committees in the 2010 cycle — said he’s in the process of forming “some federal PACs” to take on Perry. That will likely include a federal super PAC that could take in the kind of massive donations that are permitted in Texas.

Mostyn said his political spending wouldn’t just center on the trial lawyers’ agenda.

“The legal issues are important and near and dear to my heart,” Mostyn told POLITICO. “But more important is the myth that we’re doing great down here when we’re not. We’re falling behind the rest of the country, and the country is falling behind the rest of the world.”

But the “legal issues,” as Mostyn calls them, are far more than incidental to the hostile relationship between Perry and trial attorneys.

The governor has pushed through a string of tort reform laws, including a 2003 measure putting a monetary cap on non-economic damage awards. He passed another law in the most recent Texas legislative session, making it easier to dismiss some lawsuits and putting plaintiffs on the hook for legal costs in certain cases that are defeated or dismissed.

Texas used to be a land of milk and honey for trial lawyers like Mostyn. He made his considerable fortune in mold lawsuits, back when “mold was gold” (also: a giant trial lawyer scam). Mostyn’s firm also made a handsome profit, no one outside the firm knows how much due to the sheer volume of lawsuits they handled, off the last couple of hurricanes that struck Texas. Those lawsuits left the state’s windstorm insurance fund depleted and the state at risk of bankruptcy until Gov. Perry and the GOP legislature shored the fund up in the 2011 session. But the tort reform successes of 2003 and 2011 have really put trial lawyers on the back foot in Texas. Two trial lawyers have emerged as the prime sources of funding for Democrats and left wing causes in Texas: Mostyn and the late Fred Baron. Baron’s name should also sound familiar; before he died, he used a chunk of his fortune to help John Edwards cover up his love child situation. Baron’s money also funds Matt Angle’s “shadow party” that I’ve written about before. That the Baron estate and the Mostyn empire are the prime engines behind nearly all Democrat activity in the state of Texas gives the game away neatly, proving that when the Democrats talk about good government, they’re really talking about government that’s good for trial lawyers. Mostyn even employs a couple of Democrats currently serving in the legislature. Another Democrat trial lawyer likely to be involved in a war on Perry is former state Rep. Jim Dunnam. Dunnam lost in the 2010 wave to newcomer Marva Beck, so he is out of the lege at the moment, but not out of power in Democrat circles. Dunnam built his empire in part on viatical settlements, which are means by which terminally ill people cash in on their life insurance policies before they die. You can look at viaticals as a service to the terminally ill, or a predation on very vulnerable people in their hour of need, depending on your point of view.

So you’re likely to see several PACs appear out of nowhere, funding slick ads and attack web sites casting Rick Perry as a tool of rich devils, or a killer of education, or some other kind of boogeyman who kicks puppies, hates babies and just might be a shapeshifting vampire in the service of the Bilderbergers. Mostyn is very likely to be behind those ads and web sites, and his actual agenda has very little to do with the content of the attacks. He is all about restoring the old order in which trial lawyers were king.

I came across the following question: “Are too many laws, lawyers and lawsuits destroying small business in America?”  And there were some short Youtube videos to watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgHFKyiIzzM&feature;=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-N4d8ocJ2s&feature;=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMtrhCUugX0&feature;=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eytbRmrIYZI&feature;=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1MF3lJCwbo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u9JAt6gFqM

Yeah, they sure are.  If you actually want a job, you should join me in wanting these lawyers on the bottom of the ocean where the real sharks can take care of them.

If lawyers hate Rick Perry, that’s all I need to know to really like Rick Perry.

ObamaCare Will Increase Insurance Premiums

December 1, 2009

One of the fundamental promises of Democrats is that their massive takeover of health care would deliver lower costs, delivering an economy of scale.

The problem is that government has never been very good at lowering the cost of anything.  Quite the contrary.

And what has always been true before turns out to be true again.

Let’s get right to the nitty gritty of the CBO report:

“CBO and JCT estimate that the average premium per person covered (including dependents) for new nongroup policies would be about 10 percent to 13 percent higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law. About half of those enrollees would receive government subsidies that would reduce their costs well below the premiums that would be charged for such policies under current law,” the report says.

Now, Democrats are trying to argue that about the “about half of those enrollees” who would have lower premiums due to receiving government subsidies.  But understand: the costs are objectively higher by 10-13% than they would have been had we done absolutely nothing at all.  The mere fact that some people are getting transfer (i.e., welfare) payments from the government (i.e., from still more government taxing and borrowing) doesn’t in any way change that fact.

Stop and think about it: it would be a lot cheaper for the government to provide people with subsidies based on the lower costs of doing nothing else to mess with the health care system.  It is an outright fraud for Democrats to say they will lower costs.

I like the way Mitch McConnell put it:

“The bottom line is this: After 2,074 pages and trillions more in government spending, massive new taxes and a half-trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare for seniors, most people, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will end up paying more or seeing no significant savings,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement. The health insurance industry’s lobbying arms also proclaimed that the report confirmed their similar warnings.

This is just a terrible bill, and a terrible philosophy.

Democrats have done absolutely NOTHING that will reduce the costs of healthcare.  They are diametrically opposed to tort reform, which would lower the costs of premiums by lowering doctors’ exposure to risks, simply because the sharks – I mean lawyers – who sue everything that walks, crawls, swims or flies are a major Democrat special interest group.

In the same way, Democrats talk about “increasing competition,” and yet they are fundamentally opposed to actually doing anything of the sort.  A primary reason healthcare costs have increased so much is due to the fact that insurance companies are specifically forbidden from being allowed to compete across state lines.  Republicans want competition; Democrats do not.  Rather, Democrats want to continue to mandate special interests-based coverage by dictating to insurance companies what coverage they must offer.

The other thing is that Democrats talk about the fraud they are offering is “deficit neutral.”  It is no such thing.  They played budget gimmicks, taxing for four years before having to pay out any benefits.  If you look at the costs of the NEXT ten years – when benefits will actually be paid out for all ten years – the cost will be $2.5 trillion, rather than the $848 billion that the Demcorats talk about in their tax-for-ten-year-spend-for-six plan.

Taxes will be raised by over $500 billion.  Medicare will be cut by $500 billion.  $500 billion is another way of saying half a trillion dollars.  That’s how the Democrats get their “savings”: they bleed it from taxpayers, and they steal it from their previous commitments to senior citizens.

The Democrats’ bill raises taxes, guts Medicare, and raises premiums.  You can start to understand why the Dean of the Harvard School of Medicine gave the bill a failing grade.

The Republican Health Care Plan, In A Nutshell

October 8, 2009

Radio talk host and author Mark Levin explained the Republican health care plan in a nutshell to a caller who demanded, “Where’s the Republican plan?”

In the course of two minutes, Levin proceeds to lay out the essence of the Republican health plan (which Democrats have deceitfully and maliciously claimed did not exist in all their ‘party of no’ rhetoric), and revealed the stupidity of the Glenn Beck “There’s no difference between the parties” foolishness:

Transcript:

Caller: I guess my question, sir, is where is the Republican plan?

Levin: Yes, there is a plan, sir, and it’s been repeated, and it’s been put out there, it’s on the internet.  They don’t control the media in this country.  They don’t get a fair break from the media in this country.  Which is why I explain the plan over and over again.  You ready?  You got a pencil?  Let’s write it down, shall we?

1) Tax credits so individuals can purchase their own health policies rather than paying that money to the federal government.

2) Expanding health savings accounts – like the 401Ks – so you can put more money aside, tax free, for catastrophes and other needs.

3) Right now you can’t purchase insurance across state borders because the various interest groups have larded up their laws so that if you purchase a policy in Ohio it doesn’t comply with a policy in Pennsylvania.  You can eliminate that.  And you should.

4) Tort reform.  Which will save a fortune.  You cap – talk about cap and trade – you cap awards to actual medical costs, and related expenses.  So it’s not ‘hitting the lottery’ each and every day.

And I can go on with three or four more points.  But these basic free market efforts – to unravel so much of what the government, and the regulatory bureaucracies have done – would open up the system.  We’re talking about 12 million people – 12 million Americans – who don’t have health insurance.

Caller: The point that I’m trying to make is that it’s not for you or the other folks that are on the radio…  You actually hear nothing from the Republicans…

Levin: Sir, this is a Republican proposal.  It’s a conservative proposal that the Republicans have embraced.  They have asked to meet with Obama to discuss it.

Look folks.  I know the Republicans have screwed up.  I know there are people out there saying the two parties are exactly the same.  They’re not exactly the same.  We’ve got a Marxist in the White House, a Marxist in the House, an idiot in the Senate.  Don’t tell me they’re exactly the same!  They can do better, but they’re not the same.

Now, these are truly great free market ideas that will provide lower-priced high quality health care AND preserve our liberties.  And the Democrat pseudo outrage that “Republicans weren’t offering an alternative” was just that.

I loved an ironic mock response to the basic Republican proposal:

It’s stupid. You’re a racist. You’re a homophobe. You’re a warmonger…  Make my car payment.  Feed me.  Change my diaper.

Nailed it.

A CNS article lays out the facts that never seem to get laid out in the dishonest mainstream media propaganda:

Republicans Have Offered Three Alternative Health Care Reform Bills
Monday, August 24, 2009
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress — while pushing their own health care overhauls — have criticized Republicans as offering only opposition and no ideas for reform, but the GOP, despite the lack of media attention, has introduced three health care bills.

The three Republican bills total almost 400 pages and have been on the table since May and June.

In May, Republicans in the House and the Senate formed a bicameral coalition to produce the130-page “Patients Choice Act of 2009.”

In June, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) introduced the “Health Care Freedom Plan,” a 41-page proposal.

And in July, the Republican Study Committee, under the leadership of Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), unveiled the “Empowering Patients First Act,” a 130-page plan.

Some of the provisions included in one or more of the bills include: investing in preventive medicine, an overhaul of Medicaid, reduction of abuse and fraud in the Medicare program, supplemental health insurance for low-income families, tax credits for health insurance, and a ban on federal funds being used for abortions.

However, supporters of the Democratic plans have accused Republicans of trying to derail attempts at reforming health care without having a plan of their own.

“There is no Republican health care plan out there,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told Talk Radio News Service on July 31 about what he called the Republican-backed “misinformation campaign” that is slowing health care reform.

He said Republicans are satisfied with the status quo and “don’t want to show the American people where they stand on these issues.”

At a White House briefing on Aug. 18, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs criticized Republicans for not wanting to make the health care system better.

“Only a handful seem interested in the type of comprehensive reform that so many people believe is necessary to ensure the principles and the goals that the president has laid out,” Gibbs said.

In May, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said his bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), puts a priority on patients and their ability to oversee their own health care choices.

“As a practicing physician, I have seen first-hand how giving government more control over health care has failed to make health care more affordable or accessible,” Coburn said. The ‘Patients Choice Act’ will provide every American with access to affordable health care without a tax increase, more debt or waiting lines.”

“The American health care system needs a complete transformation,” Burr said. “The ‘Patients’ Choice Act’ will finally enable Americans to own their health care instead of being trapped in the current system, which leaves people either uninsured, dependent on their employer, or forced into a government program.”

The “Patients Choice Act” has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, which is set to release a Democratic-crafted bill from that committee when Congress returns after Labor Day.

In June, DeMint, chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, introduced the “Health Care Freedom Plan,” which was analyzed by the Heritage Foundation. The conservative policy think tank said DeMint’s bill could reduce the number of uninsured by 22.4 million people in five years.

It also provides grants to help people with pre-existing conditions gain access to affordable insurance, and allows Americans to purchase health savings accounts to pay for insurance.

“The time has come for Americans to regain control of their health care choices, and the ‘Health Care Freedom Act’ empowers every American with the freedom to choose and own a plan that is best for them,” DeMint said.

DeMint’s bill also has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

In July, Price, who is also a practicing physician, introduced the “Empowering Patients First Act.”

Today, we present a solution for health care reform that offers more patient-centered choices and care of the highest quality,” Price said. “The ‘Empowering Patients First Act’ is a budget neutral proposal based on the fundamental principle that personal medical decisions should be made by patients in consultation with the doctors rather than unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington.”

Price’s bill also emphasizes preventive health care, tax credits, reduction of fraud and abuse in existing federal health care programs, and health care programs tailored to meet the needs of Native Americans and U.S. military veterans.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as to the committees on Ways and Means, Education and Labor, Oversight and Government Reform, and the Judiciary, Rules, Budget, and Appropriations committees.

There are differences between the legislation offered so far by Republicans. The “Empowering Patients First Act,” for example, is the only one of the three proposed bills that specifically prohibits federal funds being used for abortion.

The fate of the Republican proposals is also uncertain, with the Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress and Obama in charge of signing whatever final health care reform legislation lands on his desk.

If the Democrats are so patently dishonest that they are deceitfully working to prevent the American people from knowing that these bills even exist, then what else are they lying about?  If you start examining their rhetoric and their proposals, you’ll find plenty of lies.

In any event, since the mainstream media is as dishonest as the Democrats whose agenda they propagandize, please tell your neighbors, friends, and co-workers that- contrary to the liberal lie – the Republicans really DO have a viable health care plan.

Wall St. Journal Bursts The Obama Bubble: ObamaCare Is All About Rationing

August 19, 2009

Reading through this article, you begin to come to two conclusions: 1) the problem with the costs of health care is NOT that there is too LITTLE government involvement in health care, but rather too MUCH, namely due to stupid government regulations that end up raising costs by undermining individual responsibility; 2) the people who most stand in the way of legitimate health care reform that would really work is Democrats and their special interest allies, such as organized labor.

ObamaCare Is All About Rationing
Overspending is far preferable to artificially limiting the availability of new procedures and technologies.

By MARTIN FELDSTEIN

Although administration officials are eager to deny it, rationing health care is central to President Barack Obama’s health plan. The Obama strategy is to reduce health costs by rationing the services that we and future generations of patients will receive.

The White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a report in June explaining the Obama administration’s goal of reducing projected health spending by 30% over the next two decades. That reduction would be achieved by eliminating “high cost, low-value treatments,” by “implementing a set of performance measures that all providers would adopt,” and by “directly targeting individual providers . . . (and other) high-end outliers.”

The president has emphasized the importance of limiting services to “health care that works.” To identify such care, he provided more than $1 billion in the fiscal stimulus package to jump-start Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) and to finance a federal CER advisory council to implement that idea. That could morph over time into a cost-control mechanism of the sort proposed by former Sen. Tom Daschle, Mr. Obama’s original choice for White House health czar. Comparative effectiveness could become the vehicle for deciding whether each method of treatment provides enough of an improvement in health care to justify its cost.

In the British national health service, a government agency approves only those expensive treatments that add at least one Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) per £30,000 (about $49,685) of additional health-care spending. If a treatment costs more per QALY, the health service will not pay for it. The existence of such a program in the United States would not only deny lifesaving care but would also cast a pall over medical researchers who would fear that government experts might reject their discoveries as “too expensive.”

One reason the Obama administration is prepared to use rationing to limit health care is to rein in the government’s exploding health-care budget. Government now pays for nearly half of all health care in the U.S., primarily through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The White House predicts that the aging of the population and the current trend in health-care spending per beneficiary would cause government outlays for Medicare and Medicaid to rise to 15% of GDP by 2040 from 6% now. Paying those bills without raising taxes would require cutting other existing social spending programs and shelving the administration’s plans for new government transfers and spending programs.

The rising cost of medical treatments would not be such a large burden on future budgets if the government reduced its share in the financing of health services. Raising the existing Medicare and Medicaid deductibles and coinsurance would slow the growth of these programs without resorting to rationing. Physicians and their patients would continue to decide which tests and other services they believe are worth the cost.

There is, of course, no reason why limiting outlays on Medicare and Medicaid requires cutting health services for the rest of the population. The idea that they must be cut in parallel is just an example of misplaced medical egalitarianism.

But budget considerations aside, health-economics experts agree that private health spending is too high because our tax rules lead to the wrong kind of insurance. Under existing law, employer payments for health insurance are deductible by the employer but are not included in the taxable income of the employee. While an extra $100 paid to someone who earns $45,000 a year will provide only about $60 of after-tax spendable cash, the employer could instead use that $100 to pay $100 of health-insurance premiums for that same individual. It is therefore not surprising that employers and employees have opted for very generous health insurance with very low copayment rates.

Since a typical 20% copayment rate means that an extra dollar of health services costs the patient only 20 cents at the time of care, patients and their doctors opt for excessive tests and other inappropriately expensive forms of care. The evidence on health-care demand implies that the current tax rules raise private health-care spending by as much as 35%.

The best solution to this problem of private overconsumption of health services would be to eliminate the tax rule that is causing the excessive insurance and the resulting rise in health spending. Alternatively, Congress could strengthen the incentives in the existing law for health savings accounts with high insurance copayments. Either way, the result would be more cost-conscious behavior that would lower health-care spending.

But unlike reductions in care achieved by government rationing, individuals with different preferences about health and about risk could buy the care that best suits their preferences. While we all want better health, the different choices that people make about such things as smoking, weight and exercise show that there are substantial differences in the priority that different people attach to health.

Although there has been some talk in Congress about limiting the current health-insurance exclusion, the administration has not supported the idea. The unions are particularly vehement in their opposition to any reduction in the tax subsidy for health insurance, since they regard their ability to negotiate comprehensive health insurance for their members as a major part of their raison d’être.

If changing the tax rule that leads to excessive health insurance is not going to happen, the relevant political choice is between government rationing and continued high levels of health-care spending. Rationing is bad policy. It forces individuals with different preferences to accept the same care. It also imposes an arbitrary cap on the future growth of spending instead of letting it evolve in response to changes in technology, tastes and income. In my judgment, rationing would be much worse than excessive care.

Those who worry about too much health care cite the Congressional Budget Office’s prediction that health-care spending could rise to 30% of GDP in 2035 from 16% now. But during that 25-year period, GDP will rise to about $24 trillion from $14 trillion, implying that the GDP not spent on health will rise to $17 billion in 2035 from $12 billion now. So even if nothing else comes along to slow the growth of health spending during the next 25 years, there would still be a nearly 50% rise in income to spend on other things.

Like virtually every economist I know, I believe the right approach to limiting health spending is by reforming the tax rules. But if that is not going to happen, let’s not destroy the high quality of the best of American health care by government rationing and misplaced egalitarianism.

Mr. Feldstein, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan, is a professor at Harvard and a member of The Wall Street Journal’s board of contributors.

So it’s not private insurance companies’ “excessive profits” that are to be demonized, but the government’s tax rules.  As is usually the case, the reason we’ve got high costs is because government is too involved, and is making things worse.  And again, who is the biggest obstacle to finally fixing the tax rules in a way that will lower costs?  Big labor, a key Democrat ally.

Having Democrats “fix” the system is like having foxes “guard” the chicken coop.

A further culprit in our skyrocketing medical costs are still another powerful Democrat special interest: the trial lawyers.  In exchange for the millions of dollars the trial lawyers give to Democrats, Democrat politicians continue to protect the system that allows lawyers to file frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit.  A simple “loser pays” system – such as the U.K. offers – would cut billions out of the costs of health care.  Instead, not only are doctors’ malpractice insurance costs exorbitant (which doctors must then pass on to patients), but fear of lawsuits leads to a practice known as “defensive medicine.” When 93% of physicians admit to ordering tests, prescribing drugs, or performing procedures to protect themselves from potential lawsuits rather than help their patients, something is just incredibly wrong.

Doctors are literally leaving medicine over the insane costs of medical malpractice.  In certain specialized fields, such as Ob/Gyn, whole regions are losing their doctors.  Insurance premiums for Ob/Gyn doctors are running $250,000 a year – and between higher insurance costs, lower government deductibles, and always high medical school costs, vitally important family care doctors are finding themselves netting less than fast food restaurant managers.

Alan Miller explains another reason why private insurance is absolutely vital to our health care system – and why a government “public option” would be disastrous:

Medicare reimbursements to hospitals fail to cover the actual cost of providing services. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent congressional advisory agency, says hospitals received only 94.1 cents for every dollar they spent treating Medicare patients in 2007. MedPAC projects that number to decline to 93.1 cents per dollar spent in 2009, for an operating shortfall of 7%. Medicare works because hospitals subsidize the care they provide with revenue received from patients who have commercial insurance. Without that revenue, hospitals could not afford to care for those covered by Medicare. In effect, everyone with insurance is subsidizing the Medicare shortfall, which is growing larger every year.

If hospitals had to rely solely on Medicare reimbursements for operating revenue, as would occur under a single-payer system, many hospitals would be forced to eliminate services, cut investments in advanced medical technology, reduce the number of nurses and other employees, and provide less care for the patients they serve. And with the government in control, Americans eventually will see rationing
, the denial of high-priced drugs and sophisticated procedures, and long waits for care.

When we consider that – all protestations aside - some 88 million Americans will be shifted out of their employer-paid private insurance into a “public option” under the Democrats’ plan, we should be very, very worried.

Democrats aren’t doing ANYTHING to reduce the costs of healthcare.  All they are offering is total government control as fiscally-responsible panacea; and that is simply a lie.  Government bureaucracy is not more efficient; it is unimaginably LESS efficient.  The government has never been more efficient at delivering services (remember the $435 hammers? the $640 toilet seats? the $7,600 coffee makers?).  You want efficiency and economies of scale?  How about the government overpaying 618%.  Big government is inherently bureaucratic, inefficient, and corrupt.  And as their costs go up and up and up, the only way they will be able to bring their costs down will be to ration care.

Don’t just listen to me: listen to the man Obama chose to be his health policy adviser, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who said this year:

“Many have linked the effort to reduce the high cost of death with the legalization of physician-assisted suicide…. Decreasing availability and increasing expense in health care and the uncertain impact of managed care may intensify pressure to choose physician-assisted suicide” and “the cost effectiveness of hastened death is as undeniable as gravity. The earlier a patient dies, the less costly is his or her care.”

And:

“When implemented, the Complete Lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuatedThe Complete Lives system justifies preference to younger people because of priority to the worst-off rather than instrumental value.”

Please don’t be so stupid not to think that rationing care – particularly to senior citizens who have already “lived their complete lives” – that rationing won’t be essential to government care.  And we will GET government care unless we rise up now to stop it.

Democrats’ Effort To Fearmonger Path To Socialized Medicine Has Been Tried Before

August 18, 2009

In the mainstream media narrative, Sarah Palin is demonized as “about half a whack job” and her statement about “death panels” is literally interpreted in a way I’d love to see them apply JUST ONCE to the Constitution.  Conservatives were denounced as an “angry mob,” as “un-American,” and as exhibiting Nazi characteristics by the Democrat Speaker of the House.

The media loves to talk about rightwing fearmongering.

I’d like to say a little more about leftwing fearmongering.

How about the one that we need to pass health care reform in order to get our economy out of the toilet?

A smattering of various Obama “warnings” fearmongering health care:

- “We must lay a new foundation for future growth and prosperity, and a key pillar of a new foundation is health insurance reform.”

- Obama cast retooling the U.S. health-care system as crucial to the nation’s economic success. Reform would help rein in the national deficit and rebuild the economy, he argued, in a way that would help middle-class workers, whose wages have stagnated in recent years largely because of spiraling health-care costs.

- WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama warned on Thursday that the United States would not rebuild its economy unless political leaders joined him immediately on a perilous political drive for healthcare reform.

- President Obama warned Wednesday night that health-care reform is central to rebuilding the economy “stronger than before,” and without congressional action on health-care reform, “We’re guaranteed to see Medicare and Medicaid basically break the federal budget.”

And our last Obama “warning”:

“The country has to reform its health care system or else not only are you going to continue to have people really going through a hard time, we’re also going see a continuing escalation of our budget problems that can’t get under control,” Obama told Moran. “I think America has to win it here.”

In the dialogue surrounding health care, Obama warned against “scare tactics,” which he said are fostering anxiety and serving to distract Americans from the plan’s principles.

What’s nice about the last one is that it includes fearmongering on the one hand with warning against “scare tactics” on the other.  Obama tells us one the one hand that our economy will plummet unless we implement ObamaCare, and then demonizes everyone who has a different fearmongering message.

It doesn’t matter that Obama’s urgings that we pass health care “reform” will lower our costs and boost are economy are entirely false:

Under questioning by members of the Senate Budget Committee, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, said bills crafted by House leaders and the Senate health committee do not propose “the sort of fundamental changes” necessary to rein in the skyrocketing cost of government health programs, particularly Medicare. On the contrary, Elmendorf said, the measures would pile on an expensive new program to cover the uninsured.

Though President Obama and Democratic leaders have repeatedly pledged to alter the soaring trajectory — or cost curve — of federal health spending, the proposals so far would not meet that goal, Elmendorf said, noting, “The curve is being raised.” His remarks suggested that rather than averting a looming fiscal crisis, the measures could make the nation’s bleak budget outlook even worse.

It also doesn’t seem to matter that, given that the “reforms” Obama is seeking wouldn’t take effect until at least 2013, there is little reason to rush headlong into anything other than opportunistic partisan demagoguery.  And yet Barack Obama was out there rushing “reform” and calling August 1st “the people’s deadline” even as polls showed “the people” overwhelmingly wanting Congress to take time crafting health care legislation.

Interestingly, these tricks of fearmongering health care “reform” in the name of averting economic calamity and trying to rush the process through have been tried before.  Think Bill Clinton, First Inaugural Address, 1993:

But all of our efforts to strengthen the economy will fail—let me say this again; I feel so strongly about this—all of our efforts to strengthen the economy will fail unless we also take this year, not next year, not 5 years from now but this year, bold steps to reform our health care system.

In 1992, we spent 14 percent of our income on health care, more than 30 percent more than any other country in the world, and yet we were the only advanced nation that did not provide a basic package of health care benefits to all of its citizens. Unless we change the present pattern, 50 percent of the growth in the deficit between now and the year 2000 will be in health care costs. By the year 2000 almost 20 percent of our income will be in health care. Our families will never be secure, our businesses will never be strong, and our Government will never again be fully solvent until we tackle the health care crisis. We must do it this year.

The combination of the rising cost of care and the lack of care and the fear of losing care are endangering the security and the very lives of millions of our people. And they are weakening our economy every day. Reducing health care costs can liberate literally hundreds of billions of dollars for new investment in growth and jobs. Bringing health costs in line with inflation would do more for the private sector in this country than any tax cut we could give and any spending program we could promote. Reforming health care over the long run is critically essential to reducing not only our deficit but to expanding investment in America.

What’s interesting about this is that liberals depict the Clinton years as the time when the streets were lined with gold and every child went to bed in a warm house with a full tummy.

So the point would obviously be, either Clinton was fearmongering health care in a way that did not turn out to be true at all, or the “glorious Clinton economy” is itself a fabrication.  Because somehow Bill Clinton had to flounder along with no health care reform.

We need to put some things into historic perspective: 1) Bill Clinton so mismanaged the country his first two years in office that it led to the largest political tsunami ever experienced in American history as Republicans took over in an unprecedented landslide 1994 election.  2) Many of the benefits that Bill Clinton has received credit for were actually enacted by the Republican Congress (example: welfare reform).  3) Bill Clinton benefited from an economy that was just recovering from a severe recession at the end of the Bush I administration as Clinton took over.  By contrast, George Bush II – like Barack Obama now – had a significant recession handed to him that will count against his average performance.  In President Bush’s case, that recession was compounded by the worst attack on American soil in nearly 200 years  in the 9/11 terror attack.  4) Bill Clinton changed the way unemployment figures were calculated back in 1994 – making comparisons to previous eras appear far more rosy than they really were.  5) The “Clinton Budget Surplus” is in reality a myth.  In actuality, Clinton created a smoke and mirror illusion by transferring “public debt” costs which are calculated as part of the budget over to “intergovernmental holdings” (eg., by borrowing from Social Security) which are not counted as part of the public debt.

I might also point out that Bill Clinton’s famous statement from his State of the Union Speech in January 1996 - “THE ERA OF BIG GOVERNMENT IS OVER” – tacitly recognized the new Republican era, and which in reality was the ultimate reason why the Clinton economy became ultimately successful.

Democrats were wiped out in 1994 as Republicans swept into power when Americans became fed up with Democrat incompetence and massive spending.  And Bill Clinton was wise enough to recognize the handwriting on the wall.  As a result, he transitioned into a fiscal moderate and avoided the fate of his party.

But now the man who recognized that “The era of big government is over” is back to his pre-1994 ways.  Bill Clinton has joined Barack Obama with the very same big spending, big government socialistic mindset that brought the Democrats to such historic disaster in 1994.

There are many things we can do to improve our health care system.  That goes without saying.  But the Democrat’s presentation that opposing their system is opposing “change” or “reform” is simply asinine.  If any change is better than our present course, than we should just nuke ourselves and be done with it: that would be “change,” after all.  We need to recognize that there is good reform and there is bad reform – and government-run health care is simply “bad” reform.

ObamaCare suffers from massive policy problems that go right to the heart of the greater debate surrounding the size of government, the size of Obama’s unprecedented deficits, and the unsustainable size of our debt.  Democrats have a real problem explaining how they are going to spend $1.6 trillion and yet bring down costs – especially given the CBO’s damning analysis.  They have a problem explaining how they’re going to take hundreds of millions out of Medicare and yet not affect the quality of care to Medicare beneficiaries.  And they have a problem explaining how they’re not going to end up transferring over a hundred million Americans out of their employee-based health care and into the “public option” when good analysis sees exactly that happening (and see also here).

The American people listened to Obama fearmonger his way to the gigantic stimulus package that will ultimately cost Americans $3.27 trillion.  The stimulus has been deemed by the American people as being so unsuccessful that fully 72% of Americans now say “returning the unused portion of the $787 billion dollar stimulus to taxpayers would do more to boost the economy than having the government spend it.”  People are turning against what they increasingly recognize as big government socialism.

Obama_Economy_Pork-debt

We need to STOP health care “reform” until it includes tort reform such as loser pays, until it includes an end to state and federal mandates, until it includes allowing our 1300 private insurance companies to compete across state lines.  And we need to STOP health care “reform” until it EXCLUDES giving full medical coverage to more than 12 million illegal immigrants, until it excludes “public options,” excludes “Co-Ops,” and excludes any other device that becomes a backdoor guarantee to government health care.

Obama Increasingly Revealing His Dishonest Side On Health Care

August 14, 2009

It’s kind of funny.  Obama comes out and says:

“Now, let me just start by setting the record straight on a few things I’ve been hearing out here –”

and then proceeds to lie in the name of correcting the record.  Keith Hennesy goes into detail on 20 significant factual errors from Obama’s Portsmouth town hall (the link is to the first of 20 parts)

One of his most blatant lies was his statement about AARP:

- “We have the AARP on board because they know this is a good deal for our seniors.  (Applause.)”

- “Well, first of all, another myth that we’ve been hearing about is this notion that somehow we’re going to be cutting your Medicare benefits.  We are not.  AARP would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining Medicare, okay?”

Obama DOESN’T have AARP – one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the country – “on board.”  AARP has pointedly stated that they haven’t yet endorsed ANYTHING.  Obama’s press secretary says Obama merely “misspoke.”  But it was a profoundly self-serving “misspeaking.”  It’s like the grocery store or the bank: why do the errors always seem to be in their favor?

Obama’s out there “addressing ‘outlandish’ and ‘misleading’ claims about health reform.  But my God, he’s one the making the outlandish and misleading claims.

I mean, GEEZ!  This former community organizer has been angered that communities have organized.  And the Democrats are out demonizing conservatives for organizing even as Obama starts up his new “Organizing for America.”  Free speech was the highest form of dissent until Democrats took over everything and started demonizing any dissent.  Where do you go to get such naked chutzpah?

At his incredibly organized Portsmouth town hall event, Obama said:

“OK, I’ve only got time for a couple more questions.  Somebody here who has a concern about health care that has not been raised, or is skeptical and suspicious and wants to make sure that — because I don’t want people thinking I just have a bunch of plants in here.  All right, so I’ve got one right here  — and then I’ll ask the guy with two hands up because he must really have a burning question. (Laughter.)  All right, go ahead.”

The event was so scripted and so packed with Obama-friendly attenders that he literally couldn’t FIND someone who had a critical question.

What he got was this:

Her question:  “I saw — as I was walking in, I saw a lot of signs outside saying mean things about reforming health care.  How do kids know what is true, and why do people want a new system that can — that help more of us?”

And if a little girl that cute says that people “outside” are mean, then how can you possibly NOT believe here?

The Boston Globe reported:

Eleven-year-old Julia Hall asked: “How do kids know what is true, and why do people want a new system that can — that help more of us?”

The question opened the door for the president to respond to what he called an “underlying fear” among the public “that people somehow won’t get the care they need.”

Well, who was this little girl, who had been “randomly chosen” to ask a question after being “randomly picked by a computer” to attend the event?

Julia’s mother [Kathleen Manning] was an early Obama supporter and donor in Massachusetts during the presidential election, so she had previously met First Lady Michelle Obama, the Obama daughters Sasha and Malia, and Vice President Joe Biden.

In fact, she actually was a top mucky-muck in the Massachusetts Obama campaign operation.

What a shock that such a little girl with such a liberal Obama-supporting pedigree would be “randomly” selected to ask such a blatant set-up question (How come you’re so wonderful and the people who oppose your plan so evil?).  What are the odds that THAT kind of a coincidence would occur?

What are the odds that all the mean people with the mean signs somehow didn’t end up getting their names drawn in that “random” drawing so they could be INSIDE instead?

Given the fact that Obama is so scripted that he doesn’t even sneeze unless he’s told to by his teleprompter, pretty darn good.

The blatant audacity of hypocrisy.  These people are demonizing folks who are coming out to tell anybody who will hear them that they don’t want this terrible heath care bill as “plants” and “orchestrated” and “organized” (not to mention “angry mobs” and “racists” and “Nazis”).  But the plant simple truth is that these people are so phony that they can only assume that everybody else must be as phony as they are.

As I’ve mentioned before, we get Obama attending a phony, controlled, contrived, choreographed, orchestrated, organized, “Astroturf” town hall filled with plants even as his attack dogs demonize protesters as being “plants” and saying things like:

“I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter”

when he is on record having said:

“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program.”

and he is on the record as having said:

“The very first promise I made on this campaign was that as president I will sign a universal health care plan into law by the end of my first term in office.”

“I was for that thing before I said I had never been for that thing.”

You keep on clearing up them “misconceptions” from the other side, Barry Hussein.  Never mind all of your lies.

According to a Gallup poll released yesterday, the demonization of ObamaCare protesters has made 34% of Americans more sympathetic to the protests, versus only 21% who are less sympathetic of the protests.  Independents are sympathetic to the protesters by a more than than 2-1 margin.  And 61% of Americans believe the protests are “appropriate.”  Sorry, Nancy Pelosi.  I guess your riding in on that broom of yours to throw out swastikas and call Americans “un-American” isn’t working so good for you.

Harry Reid, the corresponding Democrat leader of the Senate, called town hall protesters “evil mongers,” and was clearly quite proud of his creativity.  I hope he’s as proud of his next job after he gets voted out of office.

Every poll is showing that support for the Democrats’ health care bill is plunging by the day.  Polls are showing that Obama’s own numbers are plunging massively, primarily as a result of his support for ObamaCare and for his demonization of average Americans who oppose his plan.  Obama now has only 47% support.  He no longer speaks for the country.  And he won’t listen as the country shouts at him.

But the less support Obama and the Democrats have, the more rabid they are in demonizing more and more and more ordinary Americans who oppose their agenda.

Democrats keep pounding on conservatives for “organizing.”  But 65% of independent voters now disapprove of Obama’s performance.

The Democrats are lying about their health care bill, and they are lying about the people who are increasingly opposing it.

Obama said:

Now, one of the things you’ve been doing in your campaign to change the situation is you’ve been striving for bipartisanship. I think it’s a wonderful idea, but my question is, if the Republicans actively refuse to participate in a reasonable way with reasonable proposals, isn’t it time to just say we’re going to pass what the American people need and what they want, without the Republicans?  (Applause.)

But not only have Republicans offered a plan for health care reform, but Fox News reported the irony that a Republican was actually offering a proposal at the very moment that Obama was claiming Republicans weren’t offering “reasonable proposals.”  And as for “reasonable,” there frankly aint a whole ought of Americans left who think YOUR proposal is reasonable, Mister President.

What do Republicans want?  They agree on seeking to implement cost control measures.  They want Congress to reign in the out-of-control and about-to-become-the-Titanic Medicare before we try to nationalize the remainder of our health care system.  They want to introduce “tort reform” such as “loser pays” or limiting huge “pain and suffering awards” (while keeping awards for actual damages) to prevent the lawsuits that are eating our medical industry alive.  They want to allow private insurance companies to be able to compete with one another across state lines.  There are 1300 private health care insurers; why not provide them with competitive incentive to lower their own costs?  They want to limit access to free health care to citizens rather than illegal aliens.  Republicans would like to see an end to federal and state mandates that require (as one examples) single males to purchase prenatal care and pap smear coverage which add to the costs of plans.  It’s not like the Republicans don’t have plenty of proposals; and it’s not like they’re not quite “reasonable” for a statist who wants government control above anything else.

Right now, the Democrats and Barack Obama are doing virtually everything they can – portraying Republicans as offering nothing, demonizing protesters, holding carefully orchestrated events of their own, ridiculing the notion of “death panels” while ignoring the fact that their plan WILL lead to rationing of care and passive euthansia – rather than actually BOTHERING TO DEAL WITH THE FACTS ON HEALTH CARE.

Sarah Palin was demonized for using the term “death panels,” but the egg is on the faces of those who demonized her:  she won, they lost.   The “death panel” language has been dropped from the Senate version.  And word is coming out that many Democrats are backing away from the government system that would actually result in “death panels” altogether.

But you have to understand that Barack Obama is the president who told a woman that her mother might be better off “taking the painkiller” than having life-prolonging surgery.  Barack Obama is the man who said this about his own grandmother having a hip replacement that would prolong her quality of life:

Q: And it’s going to be hard for people who don’t have the option of paying for it.

THE PRESIDENT: So that’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that’s also a huge driver of cost, right?

I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.

Q: So how do you — how do we deal with it?

THE PRESIDENT: …you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that’s part of what I suspect you’ll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now.

In other words, a death panel.

It’s buried deep within the beaurocracy, but don’t think it won’t become a part of any “public option.”

Health-Care_Democrats-plan-Charted

And Barack Obama is the man who appointed top level officials such as Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, John Holdren, and Cass Sunstein.  Cass Sunstein, by the way, has introduced a concept known as the “nudge.”  Nudging and tweaking the vaugeries of the law to impose the socialist agenda.

They can blame Republicans all they want, but given their total control over government, it’s THEIR OWN FAULT that they don’t have a health care bill that isn’t anything but a twisted ideological monstrosity.

Stop the lies and the demagoguery, Mr. President.  Stop the partisan ideology.  If you really want to reform health care, stop demonizing the authentic outrage American people and actually listen to them.  Make your reform geninely bipartisan, and don’t offer any more “change” than the people are willing to accept.


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