American Elephants

Obama says: “We can’t afford the politics of delay and defeat in health care.” Yes We Can! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has made the health care debate the hot button topic of the moment.  The President wants a bill passed right now — this weekbefore people have a chance to read the bill, digest what it actually says, question the policies it establishes, debate, stage protests, contact their representatives or discuss it with their neighbors.

This, in itself, is astounding.  Here is a bill that changes our entire relationship with the health care industry.  It changes where we will get our insurance, what that insurance will cover and what it will not, how we find our doctors and how we relate to them, and puts a vast quantity of Washington bureaucrats and functionaries in charge of our health instead of us.  And because it is so important, so life-involving and life-changing there is no time, no time to consider whether it is a good idea or not.  Most Americans are beginning to believe that it is not a good idea at all — and that is the reason for the rush.

Most of what is claimed as support for the need for “swift and decisive action” is either untrue or an exaggeration.  False statistics are paraded, examples from other universal health care systems are dismissed as “scare stories,” costs as delineated by the Congressional Budget Office are ignored, and those who speak out are attacked, bullied and threatened.

Liberals have good intentions.  They want universal health care because they believe that they, as enlightened government functionaries of sterling character, know how to see that their system is more fair and cares for everybody equally in an exceptional way — that is except for themselves, who they excuse from ever participating in such a plan.  How do they justify that?  Got me! But they justify excusing themselves from most anything that is a little unpleasant for the rest of us.  You do know that they give themselves regular cost-of-living pay increases automatically, don’t you?  They used to vote themselves increases, and then the voters got all huffy, so they just changed the system so they don’t have to vote.  It’s automatic, no matter what the state of the economy.

Liberals (Progressives, whatever) aren’t very interested in statistics or results or consequences.  They care deeply about their idealism, their goals and “social justice.” Social justice is a socialist code word for equality of outcome.  They have never liked the idea of equality of opportunity, because that does not insist that things be fair.   It’s just that trying to make things fair to everyone makes for a whole lot of bad consequences.

There are so many examples of government run health care.  Medicare is going broke and the baby boomers will start turning 65 in just a few years.  There is Medicaid, and the Indian Health Service.  None of these government programs are successful.  Massachusetts health care was supposed to show how a government-run plan could succeed and be an example for national health care for the country, and in just 3 years it is a failure.  Massachusetts just dropped 30,000 legal immigrants from the program because Massachusetts cannot afford them.  We are already subsidizing Massachusetts care for those who cannot afford insurance, with our federal taxpayer dollars, to the tune of $1.35 billion a year.

England, France and Canada have failing systems.  Many countries have two layers of care, one for ordinary people and another private care for those who can afford it.  James Lewis writes of his experience with Mexican care here,  and in the comments others describe their experience abroad.

Democrats in Congress and in the White House are already talking about rationing.  They have pointed out that the old folks rack up the most costs in end-of-life care, and that really can be reduced.  All of us will, with luck, someday become “old folks.” And they are already planning to deny treatment, operations, new remedies, but sorry, we just don’t have time to discuss it.  We have to pass the bill now.  Maybe we can fix it later, hmmn?

Shona Holmes Warns Us About Canadian-Style Health Care. by The Elephant's Child

There Are Some Really Sneaky Provisions in the House Health Care Bill. by The Elephant's Child

Planning a baby?  Looking forward to bringing your first child home from the hospital?  The 1,018 -page health care bill introduced by House Democrats has all sorts of bad policy ideas, and many of them are not even about health care.  One very annoying provision calls for a home visitation program that would bring state workers into the homes of young families to improve “the well-being, health, and development of children.” How intrusive can you get!

Section 440 of the House bill —Home Visitation Programs for Families with Young Children and Families Expecting Children — would provide grants to states to establish home visitation programs to educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills.  The “well-trained and competent staff” will:

…provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains..modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices; [and] skills to interact with their child…

Did I mention that Progressives are Control Freaks? Aside from the very, very questionable role of the federal government, the specifics of the bill are troublesome.  The home visitation policy says that the state will “prioritize serving communities that are in high need of such services, especially communities with a high proportion of low-income families or a high incidence of child maltreatment.  It is described as “voluntary” but that may be just until the time the parent-trainer arrives.

The federal government doesn’t know diddly-squat about parenting success, but the home visitation would further increase the federal role in preschool education and child indoctrination.

That takes care of the babies.  At the other end of life, the Congressional dimwits have written a provision (House bill, p. 425-430) that compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (or more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care.

Sessions cover things like whether to receive antibiotics and “the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration.” You can imagine the abuses that this provision invites.  In Oregon, a man with terminal cancer was refused drugs that could have given him additional life as too expensive, but he was offered assisted suicide if he wanted it.

If you are diagnosed with cancer, you have a better chance of surviving it in America than in any other part of the world. The World Health Organization ranked the U.S. as number 1 out of 191 countries for providing timely treatment, a choice of doctors and for being responsive to patients needs. Pity the Progressives want to change all that in the name of getting control of your health care and you.

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