American Elephants

Look at the Evidence! ObamaCare is Not Going to Work! by The Elephant's Child

Congress’ lack on interest in evidence continues to astonish me.  The United Kingdom and Canada’s nationalized health care is continually held up as an example of how very wonderful our ObamaCare will be.  Massachusetts health care has been a model for ObamaCare.  The examples of failures in Britain’s NHS have been longstanding and appalling, but Obama’s recess-appointed CMMS head Dr. Donald Berwick , in charge of Medicare and Medicaid, can hardly contain his enthusiasm for NHS.

— Doctors at the South London Healthcare Trust say that cash flow problems have resulted in vital equipment being unavailable.

A cash crisis in the NHS has left patients lying on the operating table before doctors realised vital equipment had not been ordered, according to a leaked report.

Women in labour have been forced to wait while epidural equipment was borrowed from other hospitals, while other patients have been denied chest drains and radiology supplies, according to doctors at South London Healthcare Trust. Minutes of a meeting between medical staff and the trust’s chief executive say “cash flow” problems at the trust which has a £50 million deficit, mean vital equipment is regularly not ordered.

Patients affected include a woman who had undergone major cancer surgery, and they could not find a bed for her. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s NHS reform is the biggest decentralization of decision-making ever undertaken in any organization.  The bureaucracy of NHS is a nightmare for patients and for doctors and other workers. NHS employees have to face it every day.

— In 2006 Massachusetts enacted a “reform” that became a model for Obama. The results have not been encouraging. The state expanded state-subsidized insurance coverage. but skipped the hard part of controlling costs and making sure that the results improve people’s health. Massachusetts has the highest health insurance premiums in the country. People are gaming the individual mandate by only purchasing insurance when they need medical care.  If liberal Massachusetts cannot make it work for 6½ million people — why do we assume it can work for roughly 310 million citizens?

— Regina, Saskatchewan was the first city in North America to experience government-run health care — the birthplace of Canada’s socialized health care system.  There are dramatic changes going on there.  In British Columbia, the government is moving hospitals to a pay-for-service model that would lead providers to compete with one another.  In Quebec, the premier has endorsed the idea of co-pays for basic services.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, roughly 4 to 5 million people do not have a family physician.  Waits are long, people die while waiting to be seen.  Canada’s population is approximately 34 million compared to the U.S.’s 310 million. Private clinics are popping up all over.  Change is slow and hard, but happening

The evidence does not portray examples of the success of socialized medicine. It isn’t free, whatever they claim; it doesn’t make citizens healthier; the care gradually gets less and less caring; the evidence is compelling — their enthusiasm is not anchored in such claims.  Their goal is something  else entirely.

Why would anyone want to put his family’s health care and well-being in the hands of the government?

Obama Doesn’t Have a Solid Plan for Gitmo Detainees, And Congress Has Lost Interest! by The Elephant's Child

Congress has  lost interest in closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, according to Roll Call. The Guantanamo Review Task Force report calls for transferring 126 detainees to their home countries or to a third country, prosecuting 36 in federal court or a military commission and holding 48 indefinitely under the laws of war.

“A House Democrat who previously helped lead the charge for closing the facility…said he was surprised by his and other lawmakers’ lack of attention to the issue given how much weight liberals threw behind trying to close the prison facility last year. “We were all worked up and signing letters and all kinds of stuff,” he said,” Roll Call states.

Back in the early days of the Obama administration, a former Bush administration official on background said that the Obama Team thought that everybody — or most people at Guantanamo — were innocent and shouldn’t be there.  The Bush administration was not working very hard to resolve those issues and the issues were fairly easy to resolve once adults who were really committed to doing something about it were in charge.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), who supports keeping the prison open, said the issue remains “off the radar screen” because the reality is that Congress ultimately lacks the will to close the facility.

There is “simply not support from a majority of Members in either house to close Guantánamo and to move the detainees to any place in the U.S., including Thomson,” he said. “Guantánamo today meets all the standards and well beyond of a facility to hold detainees.”

Aziz Abdul Naji, an Algerian who had been held at Guantanamo for more than eight years, had appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to remain at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay. He claimed that he would be tortured or killed in Algeria, either by the government or by terrorist groups who might try to recruit him.

The justices, late Friday, declined to hear Naji’s appeal, and the Defense Department announced on Monday that he had been repatriated. The court ruled earlier that another Algerian detainee could be returned to Algeria.  This effectively ends the efforts  of all six Algerian detainees at Gitmo to remain there rather than be sent home.  A Syrian who had been held at Guantanamo for eight years, Abd-al-Nisr Mohammed Khantumani, has been transferred to the Cape Verde islands off the west coast of Africa.

Algeria has provided diplomatic assurances that Naji would not be mistreated, and administration officials say that other detainees have been returned without incident. Administration officials said they take their human rights responsibilities seriously, and they will examine each detainee case seriously.

Guantanamo Bay has been a model prison where detainees are treated better than the guards who man the facility. A significant number of Gitmo graduates have returned to active warfare against American troops.  This includes detainees released by both administrations.  As Ed Morrissey says:

Closing Gitmo solves no problems, and it creates a number of others.  The chief issue is the actual adjudication method for the remaining detainees, not the geographical location of their housing.  Proponents of closing Gitmo wanted to use a transfer to the US as a way to argue that the cases should be heard in federal court instead of the military commissions repeatedly authorized by Congress.  There is no other acute issue requiring an evacuation of the facility, and the issue of jurisdiction can be handled without the costs and risks of transfers.

The object of the facility at Guantanamo has always been to keep prisoners taken on the battlefield from returning to the fight.  Some, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are to be tried for crimes against Americans.  The Obama administration has only gradually begun to understand that those held at Gitmo are extremely dangerous, rather than innocent victims.  It is the same mindset that refuses to use the words Islamic terrorism.

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