Posts Tagged ‘rationing’

The Lost Washer, The Ruptured Tendon And The LORD Who Is God Over Both. A Story of Thanksgiving Gratitude.

November 28, 2013

This happened last week, but I think that’s close enough to call it “my Thanksgiving miracle.”

It began with my biceps tendon basically standing in front of an ObamaCare-like death panel.  I was told several weeks back that my biceps tendon had ruptured and that it was too late to save it.  Yes, I’d rather frantically called the morning after the injury, but of course given the state-of-affairs of modern medicine and the bureaucracy which owns it, by the time I actually saw the doctor, he told me it was too late.

I am a service-connected veteran with traumatic and cumulative and degenerative injuries to both knees and both shoulders.  So this isn’t a story of “that evil insurance company.”  This is THE GOVERNMENT.

The doctor told me the story of Brett Favre, who had suffered this injury during his career and had not had the reattachment surgery, and that I didn’t really need to have the tendon reattached.

Continuing with the “ObamaCare death panel” theme, the surgeon also pointedly told me that, “In Europe, they don’t even reattach those any more.”

I had tried to reason with the surgeon – who as the attending physician actually runs the ortho department at my VA hospital.  As for the Brett Favre story, I countered with the fact that Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott famously had a broken finger amputated rather than miss playing time the same way Favre elected to play with a busted tendon rather than miss playing time  – and so should average people have whatever limb on which they happen to suffer a broken bone AMPUTATED?  I hope not.  As for the “Europe” thing, I pointed out the fact that “THIS IS NOT EUROPE!”  And while my dad was too young to fight in WWII, I actually had a three uncles who fought in that war to ensure that America would NOT become Europe.

Apparently, they lost the war sixty years after they thought they’d won it, but that’s another story.

The ortho doctor acknowledged that a few years ago, they would have reattached the tendon no-questions asked (i.e., BEFORE Obama), but that things had changed quite a bit.

Mark Halperin is one of the leading journalists in America today.  He also leans well to the left.  So it was quite an admission when he acknowledged that not only did ObamaCare contain death panels, but that they are a cornerstone of ObamaCare.

Howard Dean, a former Democrat governor, a medical doctor and an expert in health care – albeit a doctrinaire liberal ideologue – has also acknowledged that, yes, the ObamaCare IPAB amounts to a “death panel.”  And so, yes:

Shorter Howard Dean: “So… yeah, Republicans were right about death panels.”

Just as they were dead right about how catastrophically awful this ObamaCare law would be.

I was stunned when the attending orthopedic surgeon said they would not reattach my tendon.  I mean, what do you mean, you don’t need to do this surgery?  I was saying, “I’m busted; FIX ME!”  I had never had anything like this happen before.

ObamaCare is all about rationing.  It is all about Marxist redistribution, acknowledges and actually BOASTS the New York Times.  It is intended to create “winners and losers.”

Milton Friedman observed that if you put the government in charge of the Sahara desert, in five years there would be a shortage of sand.  So what will necessarily happen when you put a bunch of statist bureaucrats in charge of health care?  We already know the answer.

And believe me, NOBODY wants to be a health care “loser.”  Especially because of a law that MAKES you a “loser” when you’ve never been one before out of naked, cynical political calculus.  Especially when you are service-connected by your government for the infamous “pre-existing conditions” that you can’t have taken care of anywhere else.

When I continued to object the “death panel” decision, the chief ortho doctor told me he would leave the decision to the surgeon who would be operating on me, but he didn’t see it happening or even the need for it.

Well, I was rather panicky about this.  Aside from the whole “Popeye biceps” deformity (which so far hasn’t seriously manifested itself), there’s a significant loss in strength because a tendon no longer connects your muscle to what you’re trying to lift.  As a weightlifter, it was the loss of strength that I feared more than anything else.  I didn’t want to go through a surgery only to be mediocre.

Weightlifting has been the centerpiece of my highly successful weight loss (76 lbs in 14 months without stomach “Lap-band” surgery).  If preventative care is important, if weight loss is important, just give me the tools I need to maintain that weight loss.  Because what happens to people is that they become frustrated, then they give in to a feeling of futility, and then they give up altogether.

That’s why this biceps tendon deal has been such a critical concern for me.

Well, after my appointment with that surgeon, I was rather frantically trying to figure out my next option.  And a wise Christian medical doctor friend gave me some wise counsel: to see the doctor who would be doing my surgery as quickly as possible and appeal to him (rather than start a war with the bureaucracy through hospital patient advocates, etc.).  I made an appointment.

For two weeks I angsted as I waited to see the surgeon.  Given what I had already heard from his boss, I was very fearful.  And I knew that time was tendon, because the longer you wait the more a ruptured tendon shortens and contracts.  And the story becomes, “Well, sorry, but we waited too long dithering, so now it’s too late for us to fix you.  Too bad, so sad.”

We get a picture how ObamaCare will “save” money.  By rationing and denying care to people who need it, surgeries and treatment that used to happen doesn’t any happen any longer.  And that’s great – unless the rationing axe falls upon you or one of your loved ones.

Anyway, I’m at Tuesday of last week, with the all-important appointment with my surgeon on Thursday morning.  And I’m on my daily walk as usual.

Remember, I said I was messed up in both shoulders and both knees.  To take some of the stress off my awful knees, I use a pair of canes when I go on long walks out in the desert.  Which of course torques my shoulders, doesn’t it?  But I need to walk because that’s been a major part of the 76 pounds of weight that I’ve lost over the last fourteen months.  So I’ve got a Catch-22 thing going, don’t I?

Anyway, near the end of my walk – which that day was over five miles – I noticed that one of my cane tips had ruptured rather like my biceps tendon.  I put large washers in the tip to help the rubber tips last longer, and the washer was gone somewhere out in the vastness of the desert.

Well, I’m usually able to eyeball the cane tip and see that it’s about to wear out and rupture in time to replace it.  But let’s just say that I’d been occupied with other concerns.

I could go to the hardware store and buy some washers, but I’ve always used the few that I had in my garage that matched the diameter of the cane tip.

Well, I wanted to find my washer.  Which was God-only-knew-where.  So as I set out on my walk the next day, I tried to retrace my steps as best I could and said a prayer that I could find it.

As I prayed, it popped into my head to point out to God that I wanted my biceps tendon far more than I wanted that washer (just in case He didn’t know).  But I had that moment of theological clarity strike me that God wasn’t the sort who would only grant me one request.

That Wednesday, I walked along with my nose to the ground like a bloodhound.  A mile passed, then two.  And I was entering an area where there was a lot of soft sand where the tip would have likely become covered up and I’d never see it.  To make it worse, because of the soft sand, I’d meandered through that area – and good luck trying to remember the exact same route.

I kind of gave up finding that washer at that point.

Financially, it was hardly a big deal; I could go to a hardware store and probably find an even better-fitting washer for fifteen or twenty cents at most.  But for whatever reason, I had kind of associated that lost washer with my busted biceps tendon.  So it was kind of sad to let that washer go.

It was within a few feet of giving up on finding that washer that I came upon some 9mm pistol brass.  I reload ammunition in several calibers – 9mm Parabellum being one of them – and my nephew (who would be coming out for Christmas) always loves to go shooting.  So I bent over to pick up the brass.

Somebody had popped of most of a box, so I’m furiously picking up the brass.  And I turned around and walked back up the path I had just come down as I see more brass…

… And yes, there was my washer – which I had already walked by and had not seen, and which I never would have seen had I not been looking for that 9mm brass which hadn’t even BEEN there the day before (or I would have collected it then).  The washer was dull and faded; the brass was new and shiny.  I needed the latter in order to find the former.

I immediately realized what had happened and why it had happened:

God had heard my silly prayer for that silly washer.  And God knew that in my silly heart, I had connected something I clearly didn’t need to find with something far more important to me.  And He was telling me that He had me covered, that He knew what I needed – and that He was Jehovah Jireh (the LORD who provides).

And when you’ve got that kind of a God in control, watching your back, taking care of you, why are you so anxious???

I realized that the decision whether to repair my ruptured biceps tendon wasn’t up to the doctors.  Because if God wanted me to have that tendon, it was going to be restored no matter what the doctor said; and if He didn’t want me to have it, I wasn’t going to get it reattached no matter what the surgeon tried to do.  It wasn’t my surgeon I had to convince; it was my God – the very same God who cared enough about me to allow me to find a silly washer in the middle of a desert just because for whatever silly reason it mattered to me.

It’s one thing to look at the vastness of the sky at night and see the billions of stars; it’s quite another to realize that that very same God actually gives a damn about YOU.

I’ve lost – and FOUND – stuff that was valuable and irreplaceable after desperately praying about it.

It’s an interesting thing: if you are the kind of person who doesn’t believe, the biggest answered prayer in the world won’t matter; if you are the kind of person who believes, the smallest answered prayer can seem huge.

God gives us small things to see how we’ll handle big things.  Maybe He gives us small miracles to see how we’ll handle big ones.

All I know is that I had an audience with God, Creator of heaven and earth and all the stars that fill the sky.  And He heard very little, very insignificant little me about something as tiny and irrelevant as a lost washer because He cares about me more than I will ever be able to comprehend.

When I went to that appointment with that surgeon the next morning, I had no fear, no anxiety.

I had already prepared myself during the previous two weeks with every argument I could think of for why I needed and deserved that tendon reattachment surgery.  I would submit that if a high-priced attorney had been present with me, he wouldn’t have had more arguments to muster than what I had thought up.

And what did the surgeon say when I told him I wanted that surgery?

“Sure.  We’ll try to do that for you.”

Here I was with all my arguments and I didn’t even get to use them.

There are a couple of down sides that the surgeon explained to me: because this tendon is ruptured, they’ll have to do an incision rather than doing it with the arthroscope the way they would have been if it had still been attached.  That means that they won’t be able to repair the torn rotator cuff I also have in that shoulder in the same surgery because when they scope a joint, they fill it with fluid to clear space for their instruments.  And that fluid creates a lot of swelling.  Which means that if they do the rotator cuff first, they’d create too much swelling to be able to find the biceps tendon; but if they do the incision to fix the biceps tendon, the fluid and the corresponding swelling would rupture the sutures.  He also told me that he couldn’t guarantee that the reattachment surgery would be successful because sometimes the tendon is just too damaged.

Here’s the thing: I realized that the condition of my tendon is up to God.  Just as everything else was.

I told that story to a friend who told me his own “mini-miracle” story.  He had been arrested for a DUI (bad thing) and had his little dog in the car with him.  The police had kenneled the dog and towed his car.  His sister came to pick him up, but for whatever reason had refused to take the dog.  He’d have to leave it.

Well, he wouldn’t leave his dog.  He told her he’d rather walk.  So she drove off.  And he had to walk miles across an isolated Texas highway out in the middle of nowhere.  In the heat of the desert.

He came to a point of desperation.  He and the dog were thirsty.

What happened?  In the middle of nowhere he came across a gallon of water and a five dollar bill.  The presence of the bill particularly freaked him out: because there was a wind and the bill should have blown away, but didn’t.  Who had put that there and why?  Only God knew.

But God is Jehovah Jireh.

The water helped him make it to a gas station way, way up the road, where he was able to trade his five dollars for a ride.

I don’t know what will happen, but I have a feeling and an attitude of confidence about the success of the surgery (my pre-op is January 14).

Strangely, had I just been allowed to have the surgery, rather than having to angst about just getting it, I realize that my attitude wouldn’t have been nearly so positive.  I would have been focusing on the surgery and the recovery and bemoaning the fact that the tendon had ruptured and the fact that had the doctors just told me what I’d needed to know before I’d ruptured it I would have at that time requested the reattachment surgery as opposed to waiting until it was nearly too late.  I would have been looking at all the negatives.

As it is, I am very grateful and very thankful.  I am thankful to the Veterans Administration for taking care of me.  But more importantly I am even more thankful to my God who saw me floundering around and provided for me.

Thanksgiving is about being grateful.

Gratitude is the very best and the very happiest attitude that a human being can have.  It is the attitude we should all be walking around with all the time.  But for most of us (like me) we need reminders.

I wish you all a happy and a grateful Thanksgiving Day.  I pray that you have a sense of Jehovah Jireh specially looking out for you today.

Update, February 5, 2014: Well, I had my surgery.  And a couple more divine lessons.

I now realize that my “washer” story was my audience with God.  He gave me a divine appointment because He wanted me to know a few things.

On that day, that God told me that 1) He truly does care (cf. 1 Peter 5:7); that 2) if He cares even about my stupid washer, it is obvious that He will care about something I truly care about, such as my biceps tendon surgery; and that 3) whether the surgery is successful or not has nothing to do with the doctors and ultimately everything to do with God.  Because He can do anything and if He wants me to have that tendon, I WILL HAVE THAT TENDON.

He since let me know how to turn even the result of the surgery over to Him.

On the one hand, I knew that if the surgery was successful, it would be a long recovery.  On the other hand, I learned that if the tendon was too destroyed and contracted to do the surgery, it would be a short recovery and I would be able to get back to my [relatively] normal activities very quickly.  What I didn’t want was to make the short-sighted mistake of not having the surgery because of the short-term hassles, only to then regret later that I didn’t do it.  I was [finally!] able to completely turn it over to the Lord, and give it to HIM and let HIM decide.

So I went into the surgery with the peace of Christ, which surpasses all comprehension.

I woke up and the surgeon gave me the news.  The surgery was a complete success.  Somehow – and I got the sense that this was very surprising to the surgeon – my tendon had in fact ruptured, but had somehow become hung-up on the bone, such that it was EASY to find and such that it didn’t contract the way it otherwise would have.

He did the surgery in less than HALF the time he believed it would take.

Just like the washer, that “hung-up” tendon was GOD at work.

Now all I have to do is heal up and start rehabbing.

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Obama Cooking Up A Nasty Batch Of Poison Stew For Democrats With Shocking Inflation

May 13, 2011

If you listen to the mainstream media, Obama is unbeatable.  Which is really quite bizarre, given the state of the “it’s the economy, stupid.”

Inflation: Poison for Obama in 2012
By Nina Easton, senior editor-at-large @CNNMoney May 9, 2011: 7:22 AM ET

FORTUNE — One of my most vivid memories from 1974 was the gas station at the foot of the hill below my Southern California high school — car lines snaking out into the street, heralding the failure of the government’s price controls and lame ideas such as odd-even rationing. That also was the year President Gerald Ford cooked up an equally goofy plan: Whip Inflation Now, or WIN.

As Ford unveiled WIN to a joint session of Congress on Oct. 8, his bulbous forehead gleaming with sweat, he truly believed he was giving voice to a momentous occasion — on a par with F.D.R.’s call to action at the depth of the Great Depression. How could he know that, four decades later, people would still ridicule his pleas to farmers to grow more food, to citizens to “drive less, heat less,” and — the worst — to supporters to wear those ridiculous WIN buttons that the smart set turned upside down to declare “Need Immediate Money”?

That government leaders would embrace such silliness — it was Nixon who instituted the Stalinesque wage and price controls that set the stage for Ford’s call to citizen action — stands as a powerful testament to how much inflation unnerves the body politic. We haven’t experienced real inflation in more than a generation, so this economic blight is mostly an uncertain stranger to pollsters and political strategists — as well as to voters under 50. But if inflation warnings are right, this stranger could become the dark horse of the 2012 election and beyond.

We know that inflation distorts economic behavior. In the 1970s a combination of high tax rates and inflation prompted investors to flee production in favor of protection. “Give me shelter,” recalls Michael Barone, principal co-author of the annual Almanac of American Politics, referring to not only tax behavior but also investments in assets like real estate to beat inflation rates. But inflation also affects voting behavior — and could exacerbate already widespread anxiety and uncertainty about a struggling economy and President Obama’s reaction to it. With rising prices on everything from big-ticket items like college tuition to food and gas, consumers “feel they don’t have any safe ground to stand on,” Barone notes.

As both President Carter and the late President Ford could attest, that’s not a good place for an incumbent to be. John Huizinga, an economist at the University of Chicago, rightly notes that while unemployment affects some people — and rattles many more — “inflation affects everyone.” Huizinga co-authored a 1982 study that opened with the conventional wisdom of that era: “It is well known … that the public regards inflation as a more serious problem than unemployment.” Looking back, that seems astonishing. While the double-digit inflation of the 1970s had inched down to 8%, unemployment at that time was still a whopping 9.7%.

By historical standards, the latest consumer price index showing a 1.2% annual rise remains super low. But consumers are being hit with hikes to two key components that aren’t included in that number — gas and food. Consumer Growth Partners recently called the rise in grocery prices (6.5% in the first quarter) “the sharpest in a generation.” And gas prices are pushing toward $4 a gallon. Including gas and food, the annual inflation rate is more than double the rise in the CPI.

Even if systemwide inflation doesn’t return in this election cycle, rising gas and food prices will be on the minds of voters. President Obama already faces an unemployment rate that has only recently slipped below 9%, worsened by long-term jobless rates unprecedented since World War II. The Congressional Budget Office now predicts an unemployment rate of 8.2% on Election Day 2012; no President since F.D.R. has been reelected with unemployment over 8%. (President Reagan, facing a similarly painful recession, was elected with a 7.2% jobless rate.)

Add inflation to that mix and it could become a poisonous stew for Democrats. And we’ll know the President is in real trouble if his staff starts handing out buttons.

There’s a video (apparently unrelated to the above article) at the site with the title, “Fed has more to worry about.”  At just before the 2:30 mark, the expert guest says (and this is not a completely accurate transcript, but it’s pretty close):

“A lot of people think that what they’re going to do is raise interest rates and it’s going to turn into a replay of the Hooverism of the 1930s in this country where they raised rates just as the economy was beginning to creep forward.  And then you just end up with another big recession.”

And, of course, in this case, “another big recession” was otherwise known as THE GREAT FREAKING DEPRESSION!!!

Thanks to Obama and his Fed’s incredibly risky and immoral policies, shockingly high interest rates are a fait accompli.  You don’t spend (“throw away” on political patronate pork is more accurate) the trillions of dollars that these fools have spent; and you don’t simply create money out of thin air the way these clowns have done with their QE1 and their QE2 and very shortly QE3 and just get away with it.

The Fed is going to be forced to raise interest rates.  That is simply a fact.  The Obama Federal Reserve is about the only entity on planet earth that refuses to recognize that inflation is becoming a huge problem.  And the moment they ARE forced to ultimately raise rates, you’re going to start to see really ugly get really really really ugly.  Because there’s almost no possible way now that we’re going to be out of our economic woes before the Fed is forced to deal with inflation.

And yes, oh yes, inflation is most definitely here.

This was the Jimmy Carter problem.  And as people like me have been pointing out all along:

It took Ronald Reagan to get America out of a death spiral last time.  Sadly, this time there may not BE another Ronald Reagan.  And this time it may well just be too late.

The beast is coming.

Medical Doctor Points Out That Doctors Will Be Fined Or Jailed If They Put Patients First Under ObamaCare

October 30, 2010

I pointed out in a previous article that Sarah Palin’s “death panels” were EVERYWHERE in this chart of ObamaCare:

First Chart

Now more and more medical doctors are confirming that tragic and disturbing fact:

ObamaCare Endgame: Doctors Will Be Fined Or Jailed If They Put Patients First
by Dr. Elaina George

If Obamacare is completely implemented, doctors will no longer be practicing medicine. They will instead become the drones tasked with deciding who gets the meager healthcare crumbs doled out by the bureaucrats who have the ultimate power over patient life and death. Those who are deemed to have illnesses that require treatments which are not cost effective can expect a one way ticket to a hospice.

Like so many bills passed by Congress, there was a hidden provision in the Stimulus bill passed in 2009. It spends 1.1 billion dollars to create an important piece of the framework for the healthcare bill called the Coordinating Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research. It is based on the false premise that doctors in consultation with their patients don’t have the ability to make the right healthcare choices (see executive summary). The council consists of 15 people appointed by the President.

They all have one thing in common–they are all isolated from day to day patient care; and therefore, are insulated from the real practice of the art of medicine. It makes it easy to see patients as a cost center to be controlled. With views of members like Dr Emanuel, who champions the complete-lives system, it is hard to ignore the probability that senior citizens, those with chronic illness, and the very young will be on the outside looking in. This council is another example of the people of this country being told by the government that it knows what is best for us.

The framework set up by the stimulus bill merely set the stage for the implementation found in the healthcare reform bill. How can the government get doctors to participate in Obamacare thereby a) willingly destroying the doctor patient relationship, and  b) betraying their Hippocratic Oath to provide treatments that they deem to be effective? Simple – fear and intimidation.

A second board created by the stimulus bill called The National Coordinator for Health Information Technology “will determine treatment at the time and place of care”. They are charged with deciding the course of treatment for the diagnosis given by the doctor. Now it becomes obvious why there has been a big push towards the implementation of universal electronic medical record use. It becomes a tool to completely control the physician and the patient. Those physicians and hospitals that choose to practice individualized patient care in consultation with their patients will be punished because they are not “meaningful users of the system over time.” Beginning January 1, 2013, penalties for doing the right thing for a patient will cost the doctor $100,000 for the first offense and jail for the second offense. This will have a chilling effect and may be the straw that completely breaks the foundation of good medicine – the doctor patient relationship.

46% of physiciansin a survey by The New England Journal of Medicine stated that they would leave the practice of medicine if Obamacare was implemented. This will only further decrease the quality of healthcare when the 30 million more people enter the system.  Maybe that’s why there is a big push in the healthcare bill to increase the number of other providers such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners. There is no question that rationing will become our future. If you add 30 million more people into a system with fewer resources how could you possibly avoid rationing? Perhaps those members of Congress who passed this nightmare don’t care since they made sure that it wouldn’t apply to them.

Doctor Elaina George makes it crystal clear: ObamaCare was never about health or care; it was always about massively increasing control over the people by government.  Government as God.  Government as the arbiter of life and death.

ObamaCare brings the abortion mindset to the treatment of the elderly.

It can best be summed up in the words of former Clinton Secretary of Labor and current Obama supporter and adviser Robert Reich, who said of health care:

“It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”

ObamaCare amounts to a future rationing of health care to senior citizens.

Repeal and replace this monstrosity by electing Republicans, or watch as your parents and all too soon even YOU YOURSELF begin to experience the evil consequences.

Democrats Believe Their Power To Regulate Our Lives Has No Constitutional Limit

December 26, 2009

We can sing the below story to Nancy Pelosi’s famous tune, “Are you serious? Are you serious?” regarding whether she should give the faintest of consideration to the Constitution while she tries to regulate one-sixth of the US economy and force citizens to purchase insurance.

Sen. Feinstein ‘Assumes’ Commerce Clause Gives Congress Unlimited Authority to Mandate Health Insurance
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) – Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that Congress has the authority to mandate that people buy health insurance and that there is no constitutional limit on Congress’ power to enact such mandates, adding that this unlimited authority stemmed from the Commerce clause of the Constitution.

The health care bills in both the House and Senate require that every American purchase a health insurance policy. At the Capitol on Tuesday, CNSNews.com asked Sen. Feinstein: “Where in the Constitution does Congress get the authority for an individual health insurance mandate?”

Feinstein said: “Well, I would assume it would be in the Commerce clause of the Constitution. That’s how Congress legislates all kinds of various programs.”

CNSNews.com followed up by asking Sen. Feinstein whether this broad power had any limits: “If there’s a health insurance mandate, is there a limit to that authority? Is there something that can’t be mandated?”

Feinstein responded: “My own view is that there is not, within health insurance.”

The Commerce clause is found in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. It states the numerous powers authorized to Congress, including the power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among several States, and with the Indian tribes.”

The Senate version of health reform imposes an historic mandate on all Americans, requiring them to have government-approved health insurance, either through an employer or individually. The mandate also can penalize people with a surtax ranging from $500 to nearly $1,500 per year if they do not have a health insurance policy.

The bill, which looks certain to pass the Senate sometime on Christmas Eve, is unpopular with the public, garnering the support of barely 40 percent of Americans, according to recent national polls. Those numbers led Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele to accuse Congress of “flipping the bird” to the American people.

“This is a bad bill, it is bad, certainly for individuals and enough is enough,” Steele said in a conference call on Monday. “I am tired of Congress thumbing its nose and flipping a bird to the American people. I’m tired of this Congress thinking it knows better than me and my family how to provide for our health care now and in the future. I’m tired of this Congress not listening to me and to the American people – to all of us.”

In 1994, when the Clinton administration attempted to push a health care reform plan through a Democratic Congress that also mandated every American buy health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office determined that the government had never ordered Americans to buy anything.

“The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States,” the CBO analysis said. “An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”

My own view is that California should elect a Senator who actually understands or even cares about the US Constitution.

If Feinstein’s “view” were true, then the congress has no constitutional limits whatsoever.  On anything.  If they can regulate private citizens’ behavior or purchases as “interstate commerce,” then they can “regulate” anything and anyone on anything they want.  And this gives them the precedent to do more and more.  The Democrats’ vision of health care “reform” makes the entire idea of constitutional limits null and void.

Let’s call this what it is: a naked power grab.

Fascism, Marxism, take your pick.  We’re getting a hybrid of both (they’re both quintessentially leftist and socialist and totalitarian systems, you know) shoved right down our throats.

The Commerce clause regulates commerce between states.  It has NEVER been used even ONCE in our history to regulated the behavior of individual citizens.

This is almost as appalling as liberal activist judges reading “penumbras and emanations” into the Constitution so they could pull abortion out of thin air.

Democrats have been telling us quite openly that this bill is a clear pathway and vehicle to a government-controlled single-payer system.  It is past time that we took them at their word and started to realize the ramifications of what the Democrats are trying to accomplish.

Democrats aren’t focused in transforming either the quality or the costs of health care coverage.  Their bill does nothing to improve either.  Rather, it lays the architecture for a future socialistic system which they believe that they will ultimately be able to control and use to their own political advantage.  They want power and control.  They want to be able to wield the levers of government and “take care” of everyone and everything – or punish everyone and everything that get in their way.  And when big government has the power to shape things, it shapes them in a way that always favors big government, and favors more and more accumulation of big government.  And Democrats are nothing if not the party of big government.

These people aren’t going to let a little nuisance like the US Constitution get in their way.  Even our own president has repeatedly said disparaging things about our Constitution as well as the men who wrote it.  The once sacred and sacrosanct Constitution has come to mean whatever liberals want it to mean.

Tragically, a look back at history should tell you that the system the Democrats want will hardly be a success.  The fact of the matter is that Democrats are making the same arguments (that health care is a right) and the same promises (that every American will be guaranteed health care) that the Soviets made.

The former Soviet propaganda mouthpiece Pravda is watching America fall into the same catastrophic mistakes Russia did and is laughing hysterically .

The Obama administration and Democrats can swear all they want that rationing won’t be a part of their system, but you sure wouldn’t know it by looking at Obama officials such as Cass Sunstein and Ezekiel Emanuel.  They will be all about rationing.

To summarize, this is a flagrantly unconstitutional power grab, packaged on lies, which can’t even in theory fulfill the pantheon of bogus promises it was sold on.

ObamaCare Is Cloward-Piven Strategy In Microcosm

December 11, 2009

First of all, what is the Cloward-Piven strategy:

From Discover The Networks:

First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, the “Cloward-Piven Strategy” seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse. […]

The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven’s early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. “Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky wrote in his 1972 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system’s failure to “live up” to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist “rule book” with a socialist one.

Newsmax offers a further description of Clowar-Piven, and raises the very real possibility that Obama not only studied the strategy, but in fact even studied under Richard Cloward:

Their strategy to create political, financial, and social chaos that would result in revolution blended Alinsky concepts with their more aggressive efforts at bringing about a change in U.S. government. To achieve their revolutionary change, Cloward and Piven sought to use a cadre of aggressive organizers assisted by friendly newsmedia to force a re-distribution of the nation’s wealth. It would be telling to know if Obama, during his years at Columbia, had occasion to meet Cloward and study the Cloward-Piven Strategy.

On my own view, Obama has a “win we win, lose we win” strategy.  To wit, the Obama administration and the Democrat Party are pursuing incredibly risky policies across the board.  If the country and the economy somehow manages to survive these measures (which I would compare to a man surviving a poisoning), Obama and the Democrats will claim victory.  If, on the other hand, the entire national system collapses due to these shockingly terrible policies, the liberals believe that a terrified, hungry public will turn to the government for help – and allow the statists to restructure the nation into a completely socialist system.

The Obama administration, on my view, consists of a collective of fiscal sociopaths.  They don’t even care about the harm that they are doing, as long as they accomplish their self-serving objective of statism, in which they ultimately wield the levers of totalitarian power.

Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said that you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.  The very real question is how far these people are willing to go to milk a crisis to impose their agenda; and how willing they would be to create a crisis to finish the job.

Now armed with the above information about Cloward-Piven, and the above thesis that Obama and the Democrats are actually employing it, let us consider the Democrats’ and Obama’s attempt to take over the health care system.

Far too many Democrats want a socialist single-payer system, and liberals like Democrat Representative Anthony Weiner think the current Senate Democrat proposal is just the ticket to take us there:

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, an outspoken backer of the public option, hailed the expansion of Medicare as an “unvarnished” triumph for Democrats, like himself, who have been pushing for a single-payer government-run health care system. “Never mind the camel’s nose; we’ve got his head and his neck in the tent.”

The generally left-leaning Washington Post agrees with Rep. Weiner, saying that the

last-minute introduction of this idea within the broader context of health reform raises numerous questions — not least of which is whether this proposal is a far more dramatic step toward a single-payer system than lawmakers on either side realize. […]

The irony of this late-breaking Medicare proposal is that it could be a bigger step toward a single-payer system than the milquetoast public option plans rejected by Senate moderates as too disruptive of the private market.

It is amazing that when the people overwhelmingly rejected the public option, Democrats responded by giving them the public option on steroids.

But let us take a look at who have aligned against this monstrosity, and see just how bad it truly is.

The Mayo Clinic:

“Expanding this system to persons 55 to 64 years old would ultimately hurt patients by accelerating the financial ruin of hospitals and doctors across the country. A majority of Medicare providers currently suffer great financial loss under the program. Mayo Clinic alone lost $840 million last year under Medicare. As a result of these types of losses, a growing number of providers have begun to limit the number of Medicare patients in their practices.  Despite these provider losses, Medicare has not curbed overall spending, especially after adjusting for benefits covered and the cost shift from Medicare to private insurance.  This is clearly an unsustainable model, and one that would be disastrous for our nation’s hospitals, doctors and eventually our patients if expanded to even more beneficiaries.”

The Wall Street Journal rightly calls this fiasco “The Worst Bill Ever.”  Why?

As Congress’s balance sheet drowns in trillions of dollars in new obligations, the political system will have no choice but to start making cost-minded decisions about which treatments patients are allowed to receive. Democrats can’t regulate their way out of the reality that we live in a world of finite resources and infinite wants. Once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, medical rationing is inevitable—especially for the innovative high-cost technologies and drugs that are the future of medicine.

The Dean of the Harvard Medical School gave it a “failing grade.”  Dr. Jeffrey Flier argued that:

In effect, while the legislation would enhance access to insurance, the trade-off would be an accelerated crisis of health-care costs and perpetuation of the current dysfunctional system—now with many more participants. This will make an eventual solution even more difficult. Ultimately, our capacity to innovate and develop new therapies would suffer most of all.

The California Medical Association came out strongly against the Democrat plan:

The state’s largest doctors group is opposing healthcare legislation being debated in the Senate this week, saying it would increase local healthcare costs and restrict access to care for elderly and low-income patients.

The California Medical Assn. represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, making it the second-largest state medical association in the country after Texas. […]

“The Senate bill came so short that we could not support it, even though we solidly support healthcare reform,” said Dr. Dev GnanaDev, medical director at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in San Bernardino, who also serves on the association’s executive committee.

Doctors who oppose the Senate bill are concerned that it would would shift Medicare funding from urban to rural areas, move responsibility for Medicare oversight away from Congress by creating an Independent Medicare Commission and, ultimately, decrease Medicare reimbursement rates.

That “Independent Medicare Commission” is just one of the many “death panels” this bill would create.  One hundred and eleven death panels, to be precise.

This is “It’s-Friday-the-13th-and-Jason-Voorhees-is-a-real-monster-and-he’s-actually-in-your-house” terrifying.  The Democrats will collapse our health care system.  People will die.

And I submit to you that the Democrats want to crash the health care system – which is the best in the world after adjusting for murders, suicides, and accident deaths – and replace it with a socialized system that would dramatically expand the power and scope of government.

On top of the disastrous impact on patient care would be the disastrous impact on the national economy.  The health care system that the Senate Democrats would impose on Americans would cost at least $2.5 trillion every ten years following its initial roll-out.  How much more can we afford?  How many more cards can we add to our house before the whole thing comes crashing down?

Why would anybody want to impose a system that is so terribly bad, and which will cost so terribly much?

When you think of the trillions in spending that this administration has already accumulated, and then add the additional $200 billion a year (and $1,761 per family) cost of Obama’s cap-and-trade energy fiasco, you can’t help but begin to wonder if there is an intentional determination to overwhelm our system and “push society into crisis and economic collapse.”

Democrats Actually Voting To Raid Medicare To Fund ObamaCare

December 7, 2009

If you are a senior and like your Medicare, then you are a pure idiot for voting Democrat, that’s all I can say.

Medicare cuts focus of Senate health care debate

By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer Erica Werner, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans forced Democrats to vote in favor of cutting billions from providers of home care for older people as partisan debate flared Saturday during a rare weekend session on President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Obama planned to travel to Capitol Hill on Sunday to help Democrats resolve internal disputes that stand in the way of Majority Leader Harry Reid bringing the 10-year, nearly $1 trillion legislation to a vote.

Ahead of his visit, Republicans, bent on making Democrats cast politically risky votes, offered their third amendment in the debate so far showcasing more than $400 billion in cuts to projected Medicare spending that would pay for the bill, mostly for subsidies to help extend coverage to millions of uninsured.

Like the other two, this one went down to defeat, on a vote of 53 to 41. The measure by Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., would have eliminated $42 billion in cuts over 10 years to agencies that provide home health care to seniors under Medicare.

Four moderate Democrats joined all Republicans present in voting for the amendment: Sens. Jim Webb of Virginia, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Underscoring the pressures on the moderates, Lincoln, who faces a difficult re-election next year, initially cast a “no” vote with the Democratic majority but switched to “yes” in the course of the 15-minute vote. Republicans accused her of flip-flopping, but Lincoln said later that she changed her vote after considering how important home health care is to Arkansas.

“That’s why they give us 15 minutes,” said Lincoln.

The more consequential action was taking place behind closed doors Saturday as Democrats struggled to find a compromise on a proposed government insurance plan that would compete with private insurers. Lincoln and several other moderate Democrats are opposed to the government insurance plan in the bill, and Reid, D-Nev., doesn’t have a vote to spare in his 60-member caucus.

Back in 1995, Democrats actually accused Republicans of “cutting Medicare” when they tried to merely slow the rate of growth – even though the actual spending would still increase.    Now the Democrats are flat-out CUTTING Medicare and trying to argue that their cuts are “savings.”

The “more than $400 billion” is actually $460 billion, which is seriously flirting with half a TRILLION dollars in cuts to a Medicare program that was already facing bankruptcy by 2017 – two years earlier than government actuaries estimated only last year.

The Democrats’ logic is to replace a bankrupt government program that will only crash against the seniors it was supposed to cover with a vastly larger government program that will crash with a far larger implosion against everybody.

The federal and states government already controls 61% of health care spending in the United States.  Government control, and government spending, have increased year after year.  I submit to you that too much government control of health care is the real problem, not “the evil insurance companies.”  In point of fact, more than half of Americans who have private insurance have it through not-for-profit insurers; and private insurance company profits are actually incredibly modest in relation to other industries.

Barack Obama has repeatedly said that if you liked your current plan, you could keep it.  That is yet another Obama lie: the fact of the matter is that 11 million seniors very much like their Medicare Advantage programs, and Barack Obama is trying to stop them from keeping it.  And those 11 million are just the tip of the iceberg: the Wall Street Journal demonstrates that some 133 million workers are going to wake up in five years and find out that ObamaCare destroyed their employer-based Erisa coverage.  That’s not nearly all the people that Obama and the Democrats are going to screw with their health care boondoggle – but it’s more than enough.

Seniors are going to die under the Democrats’ plan.  The logic is unavoidable: 1) the plan calls for young, healthy people to buy expensive insurance policies – which they have never purchased before – in order to “spread out risks” for the entire system.  2) If they don’t purchase the coverage, they will be called upon to pay a fine.  The problem is that the fine is much lower than the price of the insurance coverage.  3) Therefore young people largely WON’T purchase the insurance, and will instead pay the fine, knowing that since they CAN’T be rejected for any “pre-existing condition” (such as not being insured), they can’t be turned down if they get sick/injured and then need coverage.  For what it’s worth, a lot of other adults will be encouraged to do the same thing.  4) Therefore, the Democrats’ plan will not raise nearly as much as they think.  And 5) the need to severely ration care will be critical.

The Wall Street Journal rightly calls this fiasco “The Worst Bill Ever.”  Why?

As Congress’s balance sheet drowns in trillions of dollars in new obligations, the political system will have no choice but to start making cost-minded decisions about which treatments patients are allowed to receive. Democrats can’t regulate their way out of the reality that we live in a world of finite resources and infinite wants. Once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, medical rationing is inevitable—especially for the innovative high-cost technologies and drugs that are the future of medicine.

The Dean of the Harvard Medical School gave it a “failing grade.”  Dr. Jeffrey Flier argued that:

In effect, while the legislation would enhance access to insurance, the trade-off would be an accelerated crisis of health-care costs and perpetuation of the current dysfunctional system—now with many more participants. This will make an eventual solution even more difficult. Ultimately, our capacity to innovate and develop new therapies would suffer most of all.

The California Medical Association came out strongly against the Democrat plan:

The state’s largest doctors group is opposing healthcare legislation being debated in the Senate this week, saying it would increase local healthcare costs and restrict access to care for elderly and low-income patients.

The California Medical Assn. represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, making it the second-largest state medical association in the country after Texas. […]

d“The Senate bill came so short that we could not support it, even though we solidly support healthcare reform,” said Dr. Dev GnanaDev, medical director at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in San Bernardino, who also serves on the association’s executive committee.

Doctors who oppose the Senate bill are concerned that it would would shift Medicare funding from urban to rural areas, move responsibility for Medicare oversight away from Congress by creating an Independent Medicare Commission and, ultimately, decrease Medicare reimbursement rates.

The “Independent Medicare Commission” is just one of the many “death panels” this bill would create.  One hundred and eleven death panels, to be precise.

Rasmussen, the nation’s most accurate pollster, points out that Americans are opposed to the Democrats’ plan:

Support for the president’s health care plan fell to 38%, its lowest ever, just before Thanksgiving. Followed by two weeks at 41%, this marks the lowest extended period of support for the plan yet. With the exception of a few days following nationally televised presidential appeals for the legislation, the number of voters opposed to the plan has always exceeded the number who favor it.

“This suggests that public opinion about the health care plan is hardening,” says Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. “Despite the fact that most American believe our health care system needs major changes, most are opposed to what Congress is currently doing about it.” […]

While one of the chief stated goals of the plan proposed by the president and congressional Democrats is to lower the cost of health care, 57% say costs will go up if the plan is passed. Twenty-one percent (21%) say costs will go down, and 17% believe they will stay about the same.

Similarly, only 23% think the quality of health care will get better if the plan is passed, while 54% predict that it will get worse. Sixteen percent (16%) expect quality to stay about the same.

Other polling shows that 47% trust the private sector more than government to keep health care costs down and the quality of care up. Two-thirds (66%) say an increase in free market competition will do more than government regulation to reduce health care costs.

Sixty percent (60%) of voters nationwide believe passage of the health care plan will increase the deficit. Seventy-five percent (75%) also think it is at least somewhat likely that middle class taxes will have to be raised to cover the cost of the plan. Fifty-nine percent (59%) say such a tax increase is Very Likely.

Only 27% favor a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone.

So what do the Democrats – who promised unprecedented “openness” and “transparency” – do?  Barack Obama went to the Senate and had a
“closed-door meeting” that slammed the door shut in Republicans’ faces.  This is a hard care ideologically leftist partisan takever, funded by flat-out bribes paid for by the taxpayers.

Entrenched Democrats bought Mary Landrieu’s vote to proceed with their partisan boondoggle in what amounts to  the Louisiana Purchase, Part Deux.

And of course they have a trillion dollars in porkulus slush fund money to bribe and purchase whoever else they need to fundamentally screw the American people and destroy our way of life.

Is this seriously how you want the future of American health care to be decided?

We Can’t Just Ignore It: Democrat Bill WILL Ration Your Health Care

November 23, 2009

Mammograms – or the lack of them – are all the buzz right now.

They are serving as warning shots of the massive health care rationing to come if the Democrat health plan becomes law.

The former head of the National Institute of Health says that women should very forcefully ignore the recommendations of the Obama administration’s U.S. Preventative Services Task Force:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 (UPI) — The former head of the U.S. National Institutes of Health says American women should ignore the mammogram recommendations of a government breast cancer panel.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” former NIH chief Dr. Bernadine Healy, now health editor for the magazine U.S. News & World Report, said she disagreed with the assessment of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a 16-member panel assembled by Department of Health and Human Services. The group this month recommended women under 50 forgo routine breast cancer tests and instead get mammograms individually in consultation with their doctors.

Asked if women should ignore the panel, Healy said, “Oh, I’m saying very powerfully ignore them, because unequivocally — and they agreed with this — this will increase the number of women dying of breast cancer.”

But as it turns out, neither women nor anyone else can ignore these recommendations.

Rationing via “death panel” is coming home to roost, to paraphrase Jeremiah Wright.

Sunday morning, on ABC’s “This Week,” with George Stephanopoulos, we saw how a fairly harmless sounding paragraph in a bill can have massive consequences on real people.

George Stephanaopoulos and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn – when they were actually get a word in edgewise over Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s constant grandstanding – underscored that the country will find itself facing rationed health care:

BLACKBURN: And, George, this is exactly how it happens. If you go to page 1,296 of the House bill, the engrossed copy, and you began to read in title three of that bill, on preventive and wellness services, and you get down to section 2301, this is what happens. In section 3131 of that bill, it changes the Preventive Services Task Force to the Clinical Preventive Services Task Force.

Then, you go back and you see that that task force on preventive clinical services is tasked with rating A, B, C, D, or I all preventive services. Then you go back into section 222 of the bill

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKBURN: Yes, I have read this bill. And it indicates what would be paid or covered. And this is where the actual link comes, and I’ll read it for you. In section 2301, it says, “All recommendations of the Preventive Services Task Force” — that’s the group that did the mammograms — “and the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, as in existence on the day before the date of the enactment of this act, shall be considered to be recommendations of the Task Force on Clinical Preventive Services.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: So the guidelines — the point is that the guidelines then…

BLACKBURN: They become the law.

STEPHANOPOULOS: … would — would become…

BLACKBURN: They become the law, the mandate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: … would become controlling.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, they would not be.

BLACKBURN: Yes, they do.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And what’s unfortunate is that the Republicans, and Ms. Blackburn, have for the first time politicized breast cancer.

BLACKBURN: That is incorrect.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That is — no, it is not. And I’m a breast cancer…

BLACKBURN: No, it is incorrect.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: As you know, as a breast cancer survivor, Marsha…

BLACKBURN: That is incorrect. It’s in the bill, Debbie.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Excuse me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let her finish her point.

BLACKBURN: I have a great respect — yes.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: As a breast cancer survivor, I came out against these — these recommendations. Every major cancer organization has come out against these recommendations. The task force language in that bill actually makes sure that prevention — preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and other cancer screenings would be free. The task force recommendations — the language in the bill…

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, Debbie, let me — let me clarify this

(CROSSTALK)

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: … that even more women would get access to…

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Excuse me for a second. That — that is true. But let me clarify a little bit, because under the — the bill — and we have — we have the language, as well. It says that a group health plan and health insurance issuer offering the group (ph) shall provide coverage, but only under — if the Preventive Services Task Force rates it as an A or B.

BLACKBURN: That’s right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, actually, under the — under the task force, they said that these mammograms for women 40 to 50 is rated C. So they actually wouldn’t be covered. So you have a great expansion for a broad part of the population, but actually, these guidelines would be controlling for ages 40 or 50.

With all due respects to Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s inability to face reality, ABC News’ Chief Washington Correspondent and former Clinton administration Communications Director George Stephanopoulos and Rep. Marsha Blackburn are right: under this bill, when a government panel recommends that care be rationed, that care gets rationed.

And you’d better face up to that reality.

And if government rationing isn’t bad enough, there is also the fact that this takeover of the private health care system will also result in higher premiums, according to the CBO.  You will pay more and get less.

You’d better face up to that reality, too.

You’d also better face up to the reality that once this bill gets online, it will cost at least $2.5 trillion every ten years – and very likely ten times that figure if history is any guide.

Democrats argue that we should pass this bill to “get something done,” and then come back and fix it later.  But this bill is beyond dreadful.  The Dean of the Harvard School of Medicine gave it a flunking grade, and The Wall Street Journal called it “The Worst Bill Ever.”  The Democrats’ plan is beyond bad; it is evil.  We can surely start with something better than this.

This bill WILL lead to a government takeover via a public option (whether it is present in the bill or presented as a ‘trigger’ to happen later), and it will CERTAINLY lead to rationed care along with a shortage of doctors to provide medical services.

It is human nature to avoid dealing with unpleasant realities.  And the Democrats’ attempt to take over health care is the epitome of an unpleasant reality.  If it passes, it will be too late; and voting Democrats out of office in retaliation will be way too little, way too late.  The American people must either rise up and scream this monstrosity down, or it will very likely become the law of the land.

In Ted Kennedy’s Honor, Let’s Pass ‘Kopechne Care’

November 22, 2009

I wrote this in August after Ted Kennedy passed away.  I decided not to publish it at the time, out of respect for the recently deceased.  But the Democrat leadership rushing out to invoke Kennedy’s name during and after the vote last night made me realize that the time had come to put it out there:

Nancy Pelosi, eager little demagogue that she is, rushed out as soon as she heard that Ted Kennedy had passed to say:

“Ted Kennedy’s dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration.”

Democrat Chairman Howard Dean predicted:

“his [Kennedy’s] death absolutely will stiffen the spine of the Democrats to get something this year for this extraordinary giant in Senate history.” Sen. Chris Dodd: “Maybe Teddy’s passing will remind people once again that we are there to get a job done as he would do.”

And Robert Byrd suggested that the subsequent health care reform be named in Ted Kennedy’s honor.

Mind you, in spite of all the blatant politicizing of Ted Kennedy’s death, Democrats bristle with the suggestion that they are doing what they are clearly doing.

The Democratic politicization of Kennedy’s death hearkens to the so-called “Wellstone effect,” as Democrats showed their true colors “honoring” the death of Democrat Senator Paul Wellstone.

And that has some influential conservative voices sounding the alarm and calling foul.

While most prominent Republicans stuck Wednesday and Thursday to sober condolences — and several Republican operatives said it was too early to accuse Democrats of politicizing a sad moment — the conservative media, as well as some operatives, has seized on the whiff of politicization of his passing, recalling the bitter charges and countercharges that followed Sen. Paul Wellstone’s (D-Minn.) memorial service in 2002.

That service, a sometimes boisterous rally that included calls to carry on Wellstone’s political legacy and some catcalls for Republican speakers, turned the memorial into a central campaign issue, and many observers think the still-disputed event helped elect a Republican to fill his seat.

In all the constant eulogizing of the last couple of days, we learn that Ted Kennedy had this “love of humor”:

Meanwhile, listening to ”Reflections on Sen. Kennedy … Lion of the Senate” on the Diane Rehm Show on the drive home last night, I was deeply moved to hear Newsweek’s Ed Klein tell guest host Katty Kay about Kennedy’s love of humor. How the late senator loved to hear and tell Chappaquiddick jokes, and was always eager to know if anyone had heard any new ones. Not that Kennedy lacked remorse, Klein quickly added, seeming to intuit that my jaw and perhaps those of other listeners had just hit the floorboards. I gather it was a self-deprecating manuever on Kennedy’s part, exercised with the famous Kennedy charm, though it sounds like one of those “I guess you had to have been there” things.

“Ha, ha, ha.  Can you tell me any new ones about that time when I was driving around drunk late at night with a young woman not my wife – what was her name?  Mary Joe Something? – and drove into the drink?  My favorite ones are about how she tried to claw her way out of the car after I abandoned her to die.”

Well, I’ve got a Chappaquiddick joke for you: why don’t we name the health care bill Democrats want to name in Ted Kennedy’s honor “Kopechne Care” instead?  I’d suggest “Chappaquiddick Care,” but it’s too hard to spell, and it doesn’t give proper recognition to the victims this bill is going to abandon by means of medical rationing.

If your elderly parents get sick, the Kopechne Care plan would call for them to be loaded into the back seat of a car and driven off a bridge.  As the cost of the Democrats’ plan becomes more and more expensive, you will see expressions of regret that the “clunkers” cars were all destroyed.

Let me tell you something: the theme of being trapped in a government system with no way out as your care is rationed away from you actually ties in quite well with the terrible fate that Mary Joe Kopechne suffered.

Barbara Wagner, battling to survive cancer in Oregon’s government health care system, would certainly agree.  An IBD editorial tells her story in the context of the larger debate around the government single-payer system that abandoned her to die:

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society’ whether they are worthy of health care,” [Sarah] Palin wrote.

“Such a system is downright evil.”

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean’s response was, “She made that up.”  Oregon resident Barbara Wagner might beg to differ — as she begs to stay alive. Last year, the 64-year-old received news that her cancer, which had been in remission, had returned. Her only hope was a life-extending drug that her doctor prescribed for her.

The problem was that the drug cost $4,000 a month. The state-run Oregon Health Plan said no, that it was not cost-effective. Oregon’s equivalent of a “death panel” sent her a letter saying it would cover drugs for a physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost only $50 or so. Oregon could afford that.

“It was horrible,” Wagner told ABCNews.com. “I got a letter in the mail that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die.

“But we won’t give you the medication to live.”

The $4,000 could be better spent on someone else.

Death panels are already here it seems, just as they have been for some time in Britain and Canada. The concept behind deciding who lives and who dies and how finite resources should be allocated was described by key Obama health care adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

In his paper, “Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions,” he expounds on what he calls “The Complete Lives System” for allocating treatments and resources.

“When the worse-off can benefit only slightly while better-off people could benefit greatly,” he says, “allocating to the better-off is often justifiable.”

These are Dr. Emanuel’s words, not Palin’s. We’re not making this up and neither is she. It is not hard to see this formula for rationing forcing children such as Trig and the elderly such as Barbara Morgan to take a number — a very high number.

So let Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean call it “Kennedy Care.”  I’ll call it “Kopechne Care” – in honor of Ted Kennedy’s first victim.  And point out that if “Kennedy Care” is passed, there will be many, many more victims like Barbara Wagner in the years to come.

It was perfectly fitting for Democrats to honor and mourn the passing of one of their great politicians.  But if they want to turn Kennedy’s passing into a political weapon – and invoke the name of a man who abandoned a helpless woman under his care to die – they had better be aware that it will be a sword that cuts both ways.

Breast Cancer Screening: Government Fires First Volley Of Rationing, Death By Medical Neglect

November 19, 2009

Let me begin by saying that the current versions of ObamaCare don’t have a single death panel.

It’s more like 111 separate death panels.

Some of the names  and acronyms of the dozens and dozens of bureaucracies are undoubtedly different under the new iteration of socialized medicine, but here’s a snapshot of your new health care system if Democrats get their way:

The Senate version is 2,075 pages of fun, I hear.  Nobody understands it.  And nobody is going to end up getting a chance to read it by the time it gets voted on.

If you thought that there was going to be any kind of transparency or accountability – or even honesty – from the Obama administration – you need to stop smoking your crack pipe.

This latest event in the march toward socialized medicine reminds me of the case of Barbara Wagner.  In Oregon, which has “universal coverage” through the state, she was abandoned to die by a system that would not pay for her cancer treatment, but offered to pay for her euthanasia.

Only this time, the government wants to deny treatment on the other side of the cancer diagnosis.

IBD Editorials

Rationing’s First Step

Health Care: A government task force has decided that women need fewer mammograms and later in life. Shouldn’t that be between patient and physician? We have seen the future of health care, and it doesn’t work.

We have warned repeatedly that the net results of health care bills before Congress will be higher demand, fewer doctors, more cost control, all leading to rationing.  New recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) regarding breast cancer and the necessity for early and frequent mammograms do not convince us otherwise.

Just six months ago, the panel, which works under the Health and Human Services Department as a “best practices” study group, was shouting its concern about a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showing a 1% drop in the number of women regularly undergoing such screening and prevention.

The task force was saying that women older than 40 should get a mammogram every one to two years. It found that frequent screening lowered death rates from breast cancer mostly for women ages 50 to 69. But that was then, and this is now.

“We’re not saying women shouldn’t get screened. Screening does save lives,” Diana Petiti, task force vice chairman, said of the recommendations published Tuesday in Annals of Internal Medicine. “But we are recommending against routine screening.”

Now the panel recommends that women in their 40s stop having routine annual mammograms and that older women should cut back to every two years. The concern allegedly is that too frequent testing can result in increased anxiety, false positives, unneeded follow-up tests and possibly disfiguring biopsies.  Preventing breast cancer and saving lives almost get lost in the new analysis.

“I have a particular concern in this case about who was involved in this task force,” says Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., who was a heart surgeon in private life. “There are no surgeons or oncologists who deal directly with breast cancer or even radiologists. … I’ve seen far too many young women develop late-stage breast cancer because they didn’t have adequate screening.”

Little, if anything, has happened medically in the last six months to cause such a shift. A lot, however, has happened politically as a health care overhaul has limped forward on life support. The Congressional Budget Office has been busy pricing these various bills, a process that includes screening and prevention.

As we have warned, the growing emphasis seems to be on cost containment rather than quality of care. About 39 million women undergo mammograms each year in America, costing the health care system more than $5 billion.

“The American Cancer Society continues to recommend annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40,” says Otis Brawley, its chief medical officer. “Our experts make this recommendation having reviewed virtually all the same data reviewed by the USPSTF, but also additional data that the USPSTF did not consider.”

Daniel Kopans, a radiology professor at Harvard Medical School, says: “Tens of thousands of lives are being saved by mammography screening, and those idiots want to do away with it. It’s crazy — unethical, really.”

This, sadly, appears to be the future of medicine under government-run health care. Aside from taxes on insurers, providers and device manufacturers, we’ll be up to our eyeballs in cost-effectiveness boards that will decide who gets what tests and treatments, when and if. These are only recommendations for now, but they are the shape of things to come.

An IBD/TIPP poll found that 45% of medical doctors would consider retiring if the Congressional health care “reform” passes.  Given the fact that an increasing shortage of doctors is already one of the chief burdens in providing health care, this exodus would amount to a catastrophe that our health system would never recover from.

In Canada, the chronic doctor shortage has been bad enough that patients literally have to sign up for a lottery in order to have a chance to “win” a primary care physician.  But now we are learning that overwhelmed Canadian doctors are using a lottery of their own to dump patients.

Why on earth would anyone want this for America?

The Obama administration is preparing the health delivery system to implement the philosophy of Obama advisers such as Robert Reich, Ezekiel Emanuel, and Cass Sunstein, which can be easily summarized with the quote:

It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”

Robert Reich’s words in context only make the hateful idea sound even more hateful:

And by the way, we’re going to have to, if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”

Then there are the words of Obama’s Regulatory Czar, Cass Sunstein, who wrote:

“I urge that the government should indeed focus on life-years rather than lives. A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people.”

And Rahm Emanuel’s brother Ezekiel, whom Obama appointed as his OMB health policy adviser in addition to selecting him to serve on the Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research wrote:

“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.”

“Attenuated” means, “to make thin; to weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity, or value.”  Attenuated care would be reduced or lessened care.  Dare I say it, in this context it clearly means, “rationed care.”

And Obama himself told a woman who wanted to keep her aging mother alive:

“At least we can let doctors know — and your mom know — that you know what, maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off, uhh, not having the surgery, but, uhh, taking the painkiller.”

YOU take the painkiller rather than have that lifesaving surgery, Barry Hussein.  And why don’t you insist that Michelle and your two daughters take the pill rather than have that lifesaving surgery, too?  Just to be like all the “little people” out there.

But of course that’s not going to happen.  Rather, Democrats have now exempted themselves from 11 separate amendments that would have required them to have the same ObamaCare that they want to force everyone else to have.

You can understand why they would do so, given the promises that the system will be worse than terrible, and due to the fact that even a complete idiot who looks around and sees how horribly the administration has managed the H1N1 vaccine situation can recognize that taking on 1/6th of the economy would be beyond catastrophic.  I mean, heck, if I were a Democrat, I’d be sure to exempt myself from this monstrosity too, lest MY family members fall under the coming steamroller.

This “recommendation” of reducing mammographies isn’t mandatory now, but that’s because the government hasn’t usurped the health care system yet.  You just wait a decade from now, when the government runs everything, and soaring deficits force them to start cutting costs.

House Democrats Pass Worst Bill Ever To Destroy U.S. Health Care, Economy

November 8, 2009

Congratulations, America.  This is what you’ve “won”:

NOVEMBER 1, 2009

The Worst Bill Ever
Epic new spending and taxes, pricier insurance, rationed care, dishonest accounting: The Pelosi health bill has it all.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reportedly told fellow Democrats that she’s prepared to lose seats in 2010 if that’s what it takes to pass ObamaCare, and little wonder. The health bill she unwrapped last Thursday, which President Obama hailed as a “critical milestone,” may well be the worst piece of post-New Deal legislation ever introduced.

In a rational political world, this 1,990-page runaway train would have been derailed months ago. With spending and debt already at record peacetime levels, the bill creates a new and probably unrepealable middle-class entitlement that is designed to expand over time. Taxes will need to rise precipitously, even as ObamaCare so dramatically expands government control of health care that eventually all medicine will be rationed via politics.

Yet at this point, Democrats have dumped any pretense of genuine bipartisan “reform” and moved into the realm of pure power politics as they race against the unpopularity of their own agenda. The goal is to ram through whatever income-redistribution scheme they can claim to be “universal coverage.” The result will be destructive on every level—for the health-care system, for the country’s fiscal condition, and ultimately for American freedom and prosperity.

The spending surge. The Congressional Budget Office figures the House program will cost $1.055 trillion over a decade, which while far above the $829 billion net cost that Mrs. Pelosi fed to credulous reporters is still a low-ball estimate.  Most of the money goes into government-run “exchanges” where people earning between 150% and 400% of the poverty level—that is, up to about $96,000 for a family of four in 2016—could buy coverage at heavily subsidized rates, tied to income. The government would pay for 93% of insurance costs for a family making $42,000, 72% for another making $78,000, and so forth.

At least at first, these benefits would be offered only to those whose employers don’t provide insurance or work for small businesses with 100 or fewer workers. The taxpayer costs would be far higher if not for this “firewall”—which is sure to cave in when people see the deal their neighbors are getting on “free” health care. Mrs. Pelosi knows this, like everyone else in Washington.

Even so, the House disguises hundreds of billions of dollars in additional costs with budget gimmicks. It “pays for” about six years of program with a decade of revenue, with the heaviest costs concentrated in the second five years. The House also pretends Medicare payments to doctors will be cut by 21.5% next year and deeper after that, “saving” about $250 billion. ObamaCare will be lucky to cost under $2 trillion over 10 years; it will grow more after that.

Expanding Medicaid, gutting private Medicare. All this is particularly reckless given the unfunded liabilities of Medicare—now north of $37 trillion over 75 years. Mrs. Pelosi wants to steal $426 billion from future Medicare spending to “pay for” universal coverage. While Medicare’s price controls on doctors and hospitals are certain to be tightened, the only cut that is a sure thing in practice is gutting Medicare Advantage to the tune of $170 billion. Democrats loathe this program because it gives one of out five seniors private insurance options.

As for Medicaid, the House will expand eligibility to everyone below 150% of the poverty level, meaning that some 15 million new people will be added to the rolls as private insurance gets crowded out at a cost of $425 billion. A decade from now more than a quarter of the population will be on a program originally intended for poor women, children and the disabled.

Even though the House will assume 91% of the “matching rate” for this joint state-federal program—up from today’s 57%—governors would still be forced to take on $34 billion in new burdens when budgets from Albany to Sacramento are in fiscal collapse. Washington’s budget will collapse too, if anything like the House bill passes.

European levels of taxation. All told, the House favors $572 billion in new taxes, mostly by imposing a 5.4-percentage-point “surcharge” on joint filers earning over $1 million, $500,000 for singles. This tax will raise the top marginal rate to 45% in 2011 from 39.6% when the Bush tax cuts expire—not counting state income taxes and the phase-out of certain deductions and exemptions. The burden will mostly fall on the small businesses that have organized as Subchapter S or limited liability corporations, since the truly wealthy won’t have any difficulty sheltering their incomes.

This surtax could hit ever more earners because, like the alternative minimum tax, it isn’t indexed for inflation. Yet it still won’t be nearly enough. Even if Congress had confiscated 100% of the taxable income of people earning over $500,000 in the boom year of 2006, it would have only raised $1.3 trillion. When Democrats end up soaking the middle class, perhaps via the European-style value-added tax that Mrs. Pelosi has endorsed, they’ll claim the deficits that they created made them do it.

Under another new tax, businesses would have to surrender 8% of their payroll to government if they don’t offer insurance or pay at least 72.5% of their workers’ premiums, which eat into wages. Such “play or pay” taxes always become “pay or pay” and will rise over time, with severe consequences for hiring, job creation and ultimately growth
. While the U.S. already has one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the world, Democrats are on the way to creating a high structural unemployment rate, much as Europe has done by expanding its welfare states.

Meanwhile, a tax equal to 2.5% of adjusted gross income will also be imposed on some 18 million people who CBO expects still won’t buy insurance in 2019. Democrats could make this penalty even higher, but that is politically unacceptable, or they could make the subsidies even higher, but that would expose the (already ludicrous) illusion that ObamaCare will reduce the deficit.

The insurance takeover. A new “health choices commissioner” will decide what counts as “essential benefits,” which all insurers will have to offer as first-dollar coverage. Private insurers will also be told how much they are allowed to charge even as they will have to offer coverage at virtually the same price to anyone who applies, regardless of health status or medical history.

The cost of insurance, naturally, will skyrocket. The insurer WellPoint estimates based on its own market data that some premiums in the individual market will triple under these new burdens. The same is likely to prove true for the employer-sponsored plans that provide private coverage to about 177 million people today. Over time, the new mandates will apply to all contracts, including for the large businesses currently given a safe harbor from bureaucratic tampering under a 1974 law called Erisa.

The political incentive will always be for government to expand benefits and reduce cost-sharing, trampling any chance of giving individuals financial incentives to economize on care. Essentially, all insurers will become government contractors, in the business of fulfilling political demands: There will be no such thing as “private” health insurance.
***

All of this is intentional, even if it isn’t explicitly acknowledged. The overriding liberal ambition is to finish the work began decades ago as the Great Society of converting health care into a government responsibility. Mr. Obama’s own Medicare actuaries estimate that the federal share of U.S. health dollars will quickly climb beyond 60% from 46% today. One reason Mrs. Pelosi has fought so ferociously against her own Blue Dog colleagues to include at least a scaled-back “public option” entitlement program is so that the architecture is in place for future Congresses to expand this share even further.

As Congress’s balance sheet drowns in trillions of dollars in new obligations, the political system will have no choice but to start making cost-minded decisions about which treatments patients are allowed to receive. Democrats can’t regulate their way out of the reality that we live in a world of finite resources and infinite wants. Once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, medical rationing is inevitable—especially for the innovative high-cost technologies and drugs that are the future of medicine.

Mr. Obama rode into office on a wave of “change,” but we doubt most voters realized that the change Democrats had in mind was making health care even more expensive and rigid than the status quo. Critics will say we are exaggerating, but we believe it is no stretch to say that Mrs. Pelosi’s handiwork ranks with the Smoot-Hawley tariff and FDR’s National Industrial Recovery Act as among the worst bills Congress has ever seriously contemplated.

In 2008, America voted for national suicide, whether they understood it or not.  While it is increasingly obvious that Americans are rethinking their suicide pact with the Democrat Party, and beginning to change their minds, Democrats are nevertheless racing ahead to finish the job of destroying the country while they still can.

Think Cloward-Piven.  The Democrats believe that they are creating a “win we win, lose we win” stratagem.  If by some increasingly unlikely miracle our massive unprecedented debt-financed spending doesn’t cause the entire economic structure to implode, Democrats will be in a position to claim credit for their “success.”  If, far more likely, the economy self-destructs under the weight of the mind-boggling debts and economic hamstringing foisted upon us by the liberal agenda, Democrats are counting upon the fact that hungry, desperate, panicking people will turn to massive government structures to feed them and help them from the very problems that massive government structures caused in the first place.