Posts Tagged ‘worst bill ever’

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.”

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.

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.