American Elephants


Why Would Anyone Support ObamaCare? by The Elephant's Child

Yes, I know that this video looks gross and uninteresting. The picture is of a badly burned hand. The story is not gross, but a story of miraculous medical innovation, fostered by the free market. Something that would disappear under ObamaCare. It is a re-post. I posted this once before and hardly anyone watched it. It is an uplifting, exciting story, please take a few moments to watch it.

ObamaCare is a collection of failed liberal ideas meant to funnel everyone eventually into single-payer, government-run health care, like, well, Britain and Canada who are desperately trying to reform their health care to be more like ours. They are trying to restore the doctor-patient relationship that has long been the basis of our current health care — the best in the world.

The impetus behind transforming our health care has supposedly been the rising costs of care, but the idea that a government takeover can make it both more excellent, more equitable, and cost less should not pass the laugh test.  I can remember the 3¢ stamp and the 1¢ postcard. The government does not make things cost less.  The costs of American health care which were growing so fast that we just had to “do something,” were growing largely because of government interference in the marketplace, government mandates, government regulation.  The fact that HHS has issued over 1.000 waivers  from ObamaCare should tell you something, if  you are paying attention.

Until now, America has been the world’s leader in medical innovation, but the regulatory government with time-consuming, burdensome, regulation creates an uphill battle for innovators. The FDA has proposed a new approval pathway for medical devices that would accelerate the process, and reduce costs for medical device companies.  At the same time, ObamaCare is placing new taxes on medical device makers which will discourage innovation.

At a recent hearing,  Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) noted that companies in European markets are able to make their products available to patients as much as two years faster and at a significantly lower cost. ObamaCare is riddled with unintended consequences that make things worse.  The new tax on medical devices is supposed to raise $2.3 billion to help foot the bill for ObamaCare; but what it will actually mean is lost jobs in the industry, and higher costs for devices— such thing as stents, crutches, wheelchairs.  Massachusetts is a center for the life sciences, and manufacturers are already talking about moving production overseas if they cannot pass their increased costs along to the customer.

Democrats were sure that as people found out about the health care bill  it would gain broad acceptance. But its “benefits” haven’t worked out to be beneficial.  Several of the mandates on insurance companies have already been implemented. No insurance plan can now limit lifetime benefits.  Group plans cannot have annual benefit limits.  All plans must offer coverage for dependent children under the age of 26.  One year later, mandating benefits has raised the cost of providing insurance and those costs have been passed on to policy holders in the form of sharply higher premiums.

At Heritage, Brian Blase has published a one-year checkup on ObamaCare.  Its unpopularity is growing, the hodgepodge of regulations and mandates have reduced competition and increased the cost of coverage.  ObamaCare has already increased government control of American’s health care choices and limited consumer choice. Americans support repeal by double digit numbers, as they have consistently done since the day the bill first passed.

It is worth listening once again to Representative Paul Ryan’s impassioned speech to Congress when ObamaCare was about to be passed.  He got it right.



Obama and the Middle East. A Failure of Vision. by The Elephant's Child

David Pryce-Jones wrote in National Review, of the violence spreading throughout the Arab world.  He feels this is something big and probably historic. The world does not know how to respond to this violence. The root of the problem is that every Arab state is a despotism.  Nobody is ruling with the consent of the governed.  There is no freedom, no progress, even food must be subsidized by the government.

The ruler of Tunisia flunked. The ruler of Egypt tried to survive through cunning but his military colleagues wouldn’t let him get away with it. The rulers of Bahrain and Yemen are calibrating how much violence is needed to keep control; small numbers of the dead may be enough. The ruler of Syria began by bribing his people, but in the face of their desperation he is preparing for the bloodbath that may occur any day now. Carrying the logic of despotism to the bitter end, Qaddafi will either kill enough people to subdue the population and baffle the West, or be killed. We’ve been here before. Invading Iraq, President George W. Bush installed a rule that has the consent of the ruled. However long and difficult, that’s how to be rid of despotism. Reluctantly, almost accidentally, Obama could introduce in Libya the pluralism Bush deliberately gave Iraq. That’s marvelously ironic, or maybe the course of history is determined after all.

David Pryce-Jones is author of  the highly regarded The Closed Circle which deals with the tribal nature of Arab despotism.

I have frequently recommended in these pages, many of the Hoover Institution’s “Uncommon Knowledge” videos.  This week’s version features Victor Davis Hanson and Peter Berkowitz, scholars at the Hoover Institution, in a fascinating discussion on the violence in the Middle East. It is just over 30 minutes long, and worth every minute.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

We have spent a long time with “stability” as the rationale for supporting  Arab despots. That time has ended, but it is extremely unclear just what will replace them. The people want freedom and opportunity, and not the chaos that the Shia/Sunni divide provides. Egypt, for example, is home to 85 million people who have no experience of democracy ever.

The Obama administration policy is, at best, unintelligible. The battle in Libya is not a war, but a “kinetic military exercise.” The Caliphate is a very real aspiration for the restoration of a pan Arab state, borderless, composed of the nations from Spain beyond Iran. Unlikely, says Berkowitz.

The correct approach for America has been handed down from Truman, Reagan and Bush — a Freedom Agenda. We forget that at our peril.




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