American Elephants

Misleading Claims Don’t Inspire Much Confidence! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama is back on the campaign trail.  Yes I know, many will wonder, with some justification, just when he ever left it.  Democrats running for reelection and those running for office for the first time are trying hard to avoid presidential endorsement or even acquaintance.

So Obama is out trying to convince disaffected Democrats that all that change he promised them — is still coming, it just takes time.  He has done everything right, but he has been hampered by the criticism of the evil Republicans who, although Democrats control the entire Congress, still have the nerve to disagree with him.

Mr. Obama’s problems, however, are largely of his own making.  He promised change, but most people thought he meant changing the atmosphere in Washington.  They were astonished when they found that he wanted to change the best health care system in the world into a replica of England’s National Health Service, close to the world’s worst.  At least that is the system that Obama’s health care advisers most admire.

The president went on to make his problems worse with promises that have already proved to be false.  People don’t like being misled.

Mr. Obama said over and over that if you like your current coverage, you can keep it.  Many employers will stop offering insurance, benefits will go down and co-pays will go up.  Pilgrim Health in Massachusetts has already announced that its 22,000 seniors will be dropped from Medicare Advantage.

The president said that health-care reform would stop insurance premiums from rising rapidly, but would reduce them by $2,500 a year for a family.  Uh huh.  Ours has just gone up by 16% because of the new mandates.  When you add more people, it costs more.  When you make sure that nobody can be turned down, it costs more. When you insist on all sorts of “preventative” care, that costs more. Elementary school math.  Price-WaterhouseCoopers has found that, with reform, premiums are likely to rise by 111% over the next ten years, compared to an increase of 79% if nothing had been done.

Remember that odd phrase —”bending the cost curve down?” The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has found that we will spend an estimated $311 billion more over the next ten years than if the bill had never passed.

The bill will cover some of the uninsured, but over 20 million will remain uninsured.  The plan is for Medicaid to cover 30 million more, but there are not enough doctors now for all Medicaid patients, and more and more doctors are refusing to take Medicaid patients because the government does not pay for their costs.

Obama made a big deal of children being able to be covered on their parent’s policies, but parents who could not afford insurance insured their children on inexpensive separate children’s policies to make sure the children were protected. Parents try hard to protect their children. But child-only policies are no longer available, and the parents still cannot afford insurance.

The president promised no tax increase for the middle class, but there are hefty taxes on medical equipment and medical devices.  So no increase in taxes unless you need a cane or a wheelchair, a stent, or a prosthesis.

Employers’ existing plans will not be legal under Obamacare, they will have to change significantly to accommodate all the mandates and regulations to come. As plans get more expensive, they will have to raise premiums to pass the costs along.  But Obamacare puts limits on how expensive a policy can be. Too expensive, and it will just have to be a loss for the insurance company. Private insurers will not operate at a loss, but go out of business.

And this is what we know with a system that is not yet fleshed out with all the mandates and regulations.  The bill, all 2000+ pages of it, establishes dozens and dozens of agencies, bureaus, offices, and departments of this and that — each of which will devise another ream or two of regulations and procedures. Secretary Sebelius is supposed to set this all in motion, and she doesn’t want anyone claiming that anything is not the insurance companies fault.  If you attempt to blame it on the Obama administration, you will have to go to reeducation camp.

Health care doesn’t matter much when you are healthy.  You can pretty much do without it.  Health Care matters when you are sick, or old and frail, or badly hurt. Democrats hate it when you use bad examples from other systems.  They call them “scare stories.”  And of course they are. Because that’s the important question.  How are you treated by a failing system when you are in need? If you don’t like the answer, you don’t just write it off as just a “scare story.” You recognize that could be you, and try to prevent such a situation from ever coming to pass.

John Hinderaker from Power Line assembled some stories from Britain’s National Health Service,  Easy Opinions blog took the Power Line list, and annotated it for easier searching: Annals of Government Medicine, annotated. That is the inevitable end result of ObamaCare.  Did you think the Brits did this on purpose?Progress


Report Card Time! How’d Your Governor Do? by The Elephant's Child

Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards has done a 2010 report card on America’s Governors.  We know that some states are in real trouble.   State governments have had to make some tough budget choices as a result of a poor economy, lower tax revenues and high unemployment.  Some have chosen to cut spending,  look hard at what is necessary and what is not.  Others just went for large tax increases.

Many states have raised taxes over the past two years, which hurts businesses and families just when they are already struggling.  Many of the taxes are the sneaky type, a little tax on plastic bags here, on candy bars there.  The governmental nannies console themselves that they are not really “raising taxes” but either saving the environment or making you thinner.

Cato’s 10th biennial Fiscal Policy Report Card looks at state budget actions since 2008.  It uses statistical data to grade the governors on their records of taxing and spending.  Governors who have controlled their budgets, cutting taxes and spending, get the best grades.

Four governors were awarded an “A” in this report card:  Mark Sanford (R) of South Carolina; Bobby Jindal (R) of Louisiana; Tim Pawlenty (R) of Minnesota; and Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia.

And seven governors got a big fat “F.” Our very own Chris Gregoire (D) of Washington State;  Jim Doyle (D) , Wisconsin; Bill Ritter (D), Colorado; Pat Quinn (D), Illinois; Jodi Rell (R) Connecticut; David Patterson (D), New York; and at the very bottom Ted Kulongoski (D), Oregon.

Cato points out that the evaluation includes the period from 2008 to the present, and therefore does not necessarily cover the governor’s entire term.  It is valuable to read the full report which clarifies just what is meant by good management — and conversely just why those who should be sent to the corner have created problems for the citizens of their state.

This is a very tough year for the country, and voters are paying more attention. Here’s a good way to be more informed about your own governor, comparative governors, and about governors who may be running for higher office.

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