American Elephants

They Passed It, We ARE Finding Out What’s In It, and Here Is Some of What We’re Finding Out: by The Elephant's Child

Democrats, in their arrogance, thought that they could change the way our economy works.  “We have to pass the bill,” said Nancy Pelosi,” so we can find out what’s in it.” We are slowly finding out. Those studying the bill explore the incentives and the consequences of  the provisions, and are learning that what was claimed for the bill is far from accurate, and the impact on businesses and individuals is far worse.

—If you like your present coverage, you can keep it, Obama said.  Nope.  The Public Option is alive and well, but hidden. The U.S Office of Personnel Management has new responsibilities, establishing and running two entirely new government health insurance programs to compete directly with private insurance.  The OPM will have to power to set profit margin premiums and terms of coverage.  It is a place-holder for the Public Option.

—It was, President Obama said, to cost less than one trillion dollars.  The Congressional Budget Office has added $115 billion to their estimates, which puts it well over a trillion, and the so-called “Doc-fix” would add $287 billion if Democrats had not put it in a separate bill to avoid its being added to the cost.  (The Doc-fix puts back the money that they cut from Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals in an attempt to make ObamaCare look better —and yes, it was just a scam). Keep in mind that it is a very rare government program indeed that costs less than estimated. The only one I know of is Bush’s Medicare Drug Program.

—The bill will cram 32 million newly insured into already overcrowded emergency rooms.

—Doctors in Texas are opting out of Medicare at alarming rates of 100-200 a year.

—Obama has consistently said that “Health insurers won’t be able to drop your coverage just because you get sick.” It has been illegal since 1997 under the Health, Income Portability and Accounting Act for an insurer to drop coverage because someone gets sick.  Even before that, the practice almost never happened. Rescissions happen when an insurer cancels a policy and returns premiums to policy holders.  This almost always happens because the insurance application was fraudulent.  Rescissions are very rare, and only happen in the individual market which is 10% of the private insurance market.  They occur in less than 4/10 of one percent of the time.  Even then there is an appeals process both internally and outside the insurance company, and there are state regulators whose job is to correct insurance companies if they are wrong.

HHS Sec. Sebelius accused Wellpoint of targeting thousands of women after a breast cancer diagnosis.  Obama repeated the charge.  Wellpoint pointed out that they paid in full for over 200,000 cases of breast cancer, and rescinded 4 policies for fraudulent applications.

—New high-risk pools for those with pre-existing conditions, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will increase health-care spending by $311 billion.

—Those with pre-existing conditions who have been sacrificing to pay for insurance in their state high-risk pools — playing by the rules, and paying 1 1/2 – 2 times the normal cost — would have to drop their insurance and wait six months to get ObamaCare.

—The State of Indiana has said that the new law could cost the state an additional $3.6 billion.  Louisiana has passed a law that the federal government cannot force the state to make their citizens buy coverage, as have 19 other states so far.

—Seven more states have joined Florida in the lawsuit against the federal government — a total of 20 to date — alleging that it is unconstitutional for the government to force individuals to buy health insurance under penalty of fines and prison.  The suit has been joined by the National Federation of Independent Businesses on behalf of their 350,000 members.

—Extending dependent coverage to ‘children’ up to age 26 on their parents’ policies means that family premiums will rise by 1 % in 2012, and an additional $3,380 for each dependent.

—AT&T and Verizon pegged ObamaCare losses to them at $ 1 billion each.  They indicated that they might have to dump retirees and employee health-care altogether. Other large companies have expressed similar doubts.

—The White Castle chain has said that one provision of ObamaCare will cut the chain’s income in half, and jeopardize future hiring and employment.

—Healthy individuals could save $3,000 annually be dropping coverage, paying fines, and waiting until they get sick to buy coverage.  A family of four could save $8,000.  This is happening in Massachusetts.

—The requirement that insurers charge everyone of a given age the same premium, regardless of their health status will effectively deny care to sick Americans who are content with their current coverage.  If healthy people cost $5,000 to insure, and sick people cost $25,000 — forcing insurers to charge everyone the same premium turns every sick person into a $15,000 liability.

— The United States has been home to most of the important medical advances made over the past forty years.  In some fields, America contributes more important innovations than all other nations combined.

Obama could have come up with a law making care better, more affordable and more secure through a bottom-up process of innovation.  Instead he extended the world’s most expensive health care system to 32 million more people.  And he did so in a way that could “dump” more sick Americans than ever before.

This is a deeply flawed and damaging bill that cries out for repeal.

A Little Beauty for Your Thursday Morning. by The Elephant's Child
May 20, 2010, 7:45 am
Filed under: Politics

A red fox scents breakfast under the snow, where a mouse emerges from his burrow.  I found this absolutely beautiful.  I hope you do too.

(h/t: Maggie’s Farm)

Tired of Today’s Politics? Here’s the Politics of 1787. by The Elephant's Child
May 20, 2010, 7:30 am
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, History, Politics | Tags: , ,


Washington’s unanimous election as president was preordained.  He was the only person in the country who automatically commanded the allegiance of all the people.  He was probably the only American who possessed the dignity, patience, restraint, and reputation for republican virtue that the untried but potentially powerful office of the presidency needed at the outset.

Washington, with his tall, imposing figure, Roman nose, and stern thin-lipped face, was already at age fifty-eight an internationally famous hero — not so much for his military exploits during the Revolutionary War as for his character.  At one point during the war he could probably have become a king or a dictator, as some wanted, but he resisted their blandishments.  Washington always respected civilian superiority over the army, and at the moment of military victory in 1783 he had unconditionally surrendered his sword to Congress.  He promised not to take “any share in public business hereafter” and, like the Roman conqueror Cincinnatus, had returned to his farm.  The self-conscious retirement from public life had electrified the world.  All previous victorious generals in modern times — Cromwell, William of Orange, Marlborough — had sought political rewards commensurate with their military achievements.  But not Washington.  He seemed to epitomize public virtue and the proper character of a republican leader.

*Empire of Liberty” A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815

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